The 10 cheapest places to live in the United States


Ten places to live in the US so cheap you could quit your job

The cost of living continues to rise exponentially in the United States. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average monthly outlay for an American household is $5,577, or $66,928 annually. That's close to the median annual after-tax income, about $78,743.

If you're looking to live in an area where your paycheck goes a little further—and maybe quit your job—here are the ten best affordable places to live in the US, according to US News & World Report.

Hickory, North Carolina

Are you looking for an affordable metro area with a small-town vibe? Look no further than Hickory, North Carolina. Hickory, also known as the Catawba Valley, boasts a mild climate, mountain views, and plenty of outdoor activities. You'll find kayakers and canoeists on the Catawba River, and hiking trails meander through nearby stands, providing easy access to walking and mountain bike trails.

The rent and median sales prices for homes in Hickory are lower than the state average, and residents spend only 18.95% of median household income on housing. But the supply of homes could be higher, and finding the right one can be a challenge.

Youngstown, Ohio

The cost of living in Youngstown, Ohio, is only 20.29% of the median household income. Home costs, including utilities, food, and medical, are well below the national average, and the median home price is only $129,969.

If you're looking for things to do in Youngstown, there are more than 5,000 acres of lakes, hiking trails, bike trails, historical sites, golf courses, and more throughout the Mill Creek MetroParks area, according to US News & World Report. Youngstown has its roots in the steel industry, but the site is seeing an increasing number of businesses in the downtown area.

Huntington, West Virginia, and Ashland, Kentucky

The Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio metro area, known locally as the Tri-State joins five counties and three Ohio River states. Tri-State has plenty of activities, and US News said the site is working on renaming itself to highlight its abundance of outdoor activities, theatres, museums, and stores.

Housing expenses comprise 20.69% of the median household income, and property taxes are fairly low. The median home price is $142,775, and rent is $764 monthly.

Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama, has an above-average annual salary and a low living cost. Only 19.62% of the average household's income goes to housing costs. The median home price is still well below the national average, at $304,290, while rent is $912 monthly.

Huntsville is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in Alabama and is also home to the United States Space and Rocket Center, including Space Camp. Construction activity has increased in the downtown area, resulting in an increase in shopping, dining, and apartment options.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

There are fewer than 500,000 residents in Fort Wayne, but those who live in this central area spend only 20.07% of the area's median household income on the cost of living. The median home price is affordable, about $182,512, and the median monthly rent is $839.

Fort Wayne is known for being family-friendly and has many outdoor activities. There are also festivals and events throughout the year, and the area boasts a vibrant arts community with murals and sculptures dotted throughout the site.

Beaumont, Texas

Beaumont is located near the border of Texas and Louisiana, and residents of this city typically spend 20.31% of their median household income on housing. However, US News reports that the population is declining as more people continue to move away. Residents only pay about $206,792 for the home and spend $906 per month on rent.

Peoria, Illinois

Peoria residents spend only 20.62% of their household income on housing expenses, mostly due to low real estate prices. Residents pay $116,650 for the median-priced home and only $815 for the median monthly rent. According to US News, utilities and transportation costs are below average.

Peoria is popular with tourists as the area hosts the Olde English Faire in early summer, and September means the Peoria Oktoberfest and other fall festivities. Visitors and residents can enjoy the downtown Santa Claus Parade at the end of the year. There's also live music and stage performances, and the Peoria Park District is home to more than 60 square miles of parks and forest preserves.

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay ranks first on US News & World Report's list of the best places to live in the United States in 2023-2024. Residents spend only 19.92% of the region's median household income on housing costs, and it's the third-lowest metropolitan area on the list. However, the cost of goods and services is slightly higher.

Green Bay has plenty of activities for avid sports enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts. Residents can take stadium tours at Lambeau Field or visit the Packers Hall of Fame and Pro Shop. During winter, you can find residents and visitors doing snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. In the summer, locals love to boat and kayak down the Fox River.

The Quad Cities - Davenport Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline Rock Island, Illinois

Along the state line between Iowa and Illinois lies the Quad Cities region, which includes Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island, Illinois. Residents here spend 20.14% of the median household income on housing, and median home prices — about $135,112 — are lower than the national average.

Winters are cold, and summers are hot and humid in the metropolitan area, but the area is known for its theater scene and jazz and blues festivals during the summer. The Quad Cities is the largest metro area on the Mississippi River and is only three hours from Chicago.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee, residents spend 21.13% of the median household income on housing expenses, which is much more affordable than neighboring Nashville. The median home cost is $335,283, and the rent is $920 monthly.

Knoxville has a small-town feel but has amenities typically found in larger cities. Residents and visitors come together for a variety of festivals and cultural opportunities that take place throughout the year, US News reports.

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