Top 12 Most Affordable U.S. Cities To Live In And Prosper

Most affordable U.S. cities picture of a big city

Big city life can be exciting. Strolling down a vibrant street filled with bright lights, exotic cuisines, lively bars and diverse residents. Can make you want to pack up and relocate. That is, until you realize just how much it costs to live in one of the country’s many urban big cities. Big city life can be expensive. So i’ve put together a list of the top 12 most affordable U.S. cities to live in.

Top 12 Most Affordable U.S. Cities To Live In

The United States has many affordable, economically vibrant metropolitan areas. That offer great job opportunities, low cost of living, and a bevy of lifestyle options. For people from all walks of life. These areas all stretch your dollar further than you’d expect.

Without forcing you to make any unnecessary career sacrifices. Or compromise your family’s quality of life. Affordable housing, energy, and transportation costs may also free up extra space in your family’s household budget. To help you plan for whatever challenges and opportunities may lie ahead.

1. Memphis, Tennessee

  • Cost of living: 20.8% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 650,618
  • Median household income: $39,108
  • Median home price: $248,857
  • Median monthly rent: $756
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $1.86 +/- $0.05

This big city has a small-town vibe. It should be to no surprise that the city, which gave Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Otis Redding and Johnny Cash their start. Is a popular choice with budding musicians. Here, you will enjoy the best cost of living in the U.S.

Memphis is one of the cheapest cities to live in the U.S. Topping the list of most affordable U.S. cities to live in. But, affordability is just one of the great reasons to call it home. If you love music. It only takes one trip to Beale Street to know that the Memphis music scene is alive and well.

Once you step away from the mouth-watering eateries and blues clubs of Beale Street, though. You’ll be much more impressed by another one of Memphis’s strengths. Its rock-bottom cost of living. It’s one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. It’s one of America’s best cities for renters, and it’s high on the list for prospective homebuyers.

Although, the city’s cheap housing and low gas prices can be attributed to a somewhat soft local economy. It’s not like you can’t get ahead here. In fact, Memphis is routinely rated among the country’s top destinations. For bargain-seeking millennials and Gen Z’ers. Who are tired of the rat race in high-cost coastal cities. To make it even more appealing, there are no state, city, or county income taxes in Memphis.

Most affordable U.S. cities- City buildings with a lakeside setting

2. Omaha, Nebraska

  • Cost of living: 8% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 843,000
  • Median household income: $61,439
  • Median home price: $209,443
  • Median monthly rent: $920
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $1.94 +/- $0.05

Memphis has Elvis, the embodiment and King of rock ‘n roll. Omaha has Warren Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway organization. Both embodiments of success in business and investing. Omaha is one of the least expensive cities in the U.S. and has emerged stronger than ever. From the financial crisis of the Coronavirus Pandemic and subsequent recession.

The city’s unemployment rate is well below the national average. The energy firms, and logistics businesses that support its economy never really stopped hiring during the downturn. Meanwhile, a construction boom of condos and lofts along the Missouri River waterfront. Has created a ready supply of convenient, affordable housing. Helping it break in at number two on the most affordable U.S. cities to live in list.

Omaha is surrounded by some of the country’s most fertile landscapes. So it’s no surprise that it’s a focus of the farm-to-table movement. It’s also a great place to get a world-class steak without spending a week’s pay on it. It’s definitely one of the cheapest nice places to live in the U.S.

3. Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Cost of living: 14.8% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 400,669
  • Median household income: $46,113
  • Median home price: $231,122
  • Median monthly rent: $678
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.39 +/- $0.08

At one time, considered the “oil capital of the world”. Due to the city’s prosperity at that time. Tulsa has acquired one of the most spectacular collections of art deco architecture in the country. Although the city’s economic strength in the oil industry ended in the ’60s. The energy industry continues to thrive in Tulsa.

Tulsa, Oklahoma breaks into the top three on the list of most affordable U.S. cities to live in. Exciting careers in the aerospace industry are plentiful. As the city is home to the American Airlines Maintenance and Engineering Center, the largest facility of its kind.

Although median income in Tulsa is lower than the national average. Residents take pleasure in the diversity and warmth of the community. And the city’s low housing costs.

Tulsa’s median home price and rent are below the national average by 26% and 31%, respectively. Making the city’s housing one of the most affordable places to live in usa.

Most affordable U.S. cities- tall buildings with walkways and streetlights

4. Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Cost of living: 8% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 1,833,000
  • Median household income: $62,502
  • Median home price: $179,900
  • Median monthly rent: $878.30
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.46 +/- $0.05

Indianapolis, Indiana contains a stunning variety of urban, suburban, and semi-rural neighborhoods. That appeal to just about every type of resident. In spite of its spread-out city landscape. Indianapolis’s spacious, well-maintained highway system keeps commute times manageable. Indy’s economy is also surprisingly ultra-high-tech.

Drawn by low living costs and a high quality of life. Indianapolis ranks high on the list of most affordable big cities in the U.S. Software and life sciences entrepreneurs are relocating here from the coasts in growing numbers. Indy isn’t all business though. Every summer, the Legendary Indianapolis 500 motor race at the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway turns the place into a zoo.

Of course, you know the Colts football team has a religious following. A beautiful chain of parks follows the snaking footprint of the White River. Winters can be frosty and chilly, but the snow usually melts for good by mid-March.

5. San Antonio, Texas

  • Cost of living: 11.3% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 1,581,730
  • Median household income: $50,980
  • Median home price: $244,400
  • Median monthly rent: $1058
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.19 +/- $0.03

San Antonio, Texas is the 2nd largest city in Texas (after Houston) and the 7th largest city in the United States. Home of the Alamo, the community celebrates its Mexican-American heritage proudly. With countless festivals, including the 11-day Fiesta San Antonio. Including, a handful of amusement parks, world-class museums and eateries.

San Antonio is a wonderful city for sightseeing. If you want to add some fun activities to your itinerary. You’ll also find great opportunities for mini-adventures in or near the city. Jobs are also plentiful. With large corporations like USAA, Rackspace Technology and Air Force Federal Credit Union headquartered in the city.

San Antonio also possesses many military stations. The city’s Joint Base houses the Department of Defense’s largest medical center. Although household income is 15% less than the U.S. average. They benefit from the fact that there’s no state income tax. As well as being one of the best, for cheapest cost of living in the U.S.

Most affordable U.S. cities- Las Vegas Welcome sign

6. Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Cost of living: 2% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 667,501
  • Median household income: $53,575
  • Median home price: $310,200
  • Median monthly rent: $1180
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.65 +/- $0.05

You might be surprised to learn that Las Vegas is one of the most affordable big cities in the Pacific Time Zone. This wasn’t always the case. After a feverish boom during the beginning and middle of the 2000s. Las Vegas’s housing market imploded in the 2007 economic downturn. Losing about half its value through it all.

The local economy took another devastating hit in 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Nevada’s tourist industry. Fortunately, Las Vegas has dynamic resiliency. Home values are rising much faster than the national average. But, remain affordable relative to local incomes. Most experts expect continued appreciation for the foreseeable future.

The city is an emerging hub for the technology industry. Its relatively low real estate and labor costs make it a popular financial back office as well. It seems buying a house in Las Vegas, is now a safe bet.

7. Tampa, Florida

  • Cost of living: 9% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 404,636
  • Median household income: $87,818
  • Median home price: $314,900
  • Median monthly rent: $1,205
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.29 +/- $0.24

Tampa, Florida is a major business center. It’s also known for its many engaging museums and other cultural offerings. Family fun and amazing rides await you and yours at the Busch Gardens amusement park. With thrill rides and animal-viewing areas popular with residents and tourists alike.

With warm summer days, mild winter nights and over 170 parks. Many of which overlook the bay or river. Living in Tampa can feel like a vacation. Therefore, it may not be surprising that tourism is a major contributor to the local economy. Port Tampa Bay is one of the largest in the country.

Bringing hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers. And tens of millions of dollars into the city every year. While the supply chain industry is certainly thriving. Tampa affords its residents many great job opportunities in a range of businesses. Including healthcare, finance, hospitality and technology. Helping it break into the list of most affordable U.S. cities to live in.

Average salaries hover around 15% lower than the national average. But in Florida, like in Texas, there’s no state income tax to pay. And, despite the more tropical climate, utility bills tend to be lower. Residents here spend approximately 31% less on electricity than the average American.

Picture of Ohio State University

8. Columbus, Ohio

  • Cost of living: 10% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 913,921
  • Median household income: $51,749
  • Median home price: $209,900
  • Median monthly rent: $1180
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $1.96 +/- $0.05

The Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus features miles of multi-use trails. Spanning from Bicentennial Plaza in the south to North Bank Park in the North. It’s a great spot to take a stroll and enjoy both the city and nature. Bicentennial Park hosts free concerts on summer weekends.

There is a huge set of fountains there, that create a fun environment for kids to play in during the daylight hours. Making it a perfect family activity. By night, sip a local cocktail. Or grab a burger at the trendy Milestone 229.

Compared to other major Ohio cities such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, and Toledo. Columbus holds the strongest economy and the most educated populace. This is due, partly to the presence of The Ohio State University. One of the country’s largest and best-regarded public higher education institutions.

Columbus is also Ohio’s political capital and the heart of its emerging economy. Cleveland may rock, and Cincinnati may have its Skyline Chili and the Bengals. But Columbus is where the action is for young, ambitious workers. It helps that it’s one of the most affordable cities in America.

Although, its relatively high utility costs represent its only drawback. It still ranks as one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S.

9. Salt Lake City, Utah

  • Cost of living: 6% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 200,831
  • Median household income: $56,370
  • Median home price: $449,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1272
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $3.50 +/- $0.03

If you love to enjoy the great outdoors without leaving the city limits. Head over to Liberty Park’s 80 acres for any number of outdoor activities. There are bike paths, a pond, concession stands, rides, picnic areas, playgrounds and tennis and volleyball courts.

Liberty Park is also great for bird watching and has a greenhouse with amazing floral displays. Both of which recent visitors recommend exploring. As well as just simply enjoying the peace and tranquility. The park is also recommended for families. As there are plenty of kid-friendly activities.

Liberty Park sits pretty in central Salt Lake. It’s open every day from dawn until dusk. Admission is free (a small fee is required to use some of the sporting facilities).  

You can access some of the world’s best skiing. A culture of civic responsibility and collaboration and it’s surrounded by picturesque mountain landscapes. Many people would undoubtedly pay a hefty premium for such assets, but it’s not required here. Despite its charm, grace, and beauty. Salt Lake City is among the country’s most affordable metro areas.

Big city buildings with water fountains

10. Jacksonville, Florida

  • Cost of living: 10% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 903,889
  • Median household income: $52,576
  • Median home price: $229,900
  • Median monthly rent: $1173
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.69 +/- $0.06

Jacksonville boasts over 850 square miles of stunning beaches, thrilling attractions and natural beauty. The city’s diversified neighborhoods. Provide the perfect destination for young families, professionals, and retirees. If your dream is to live by the ocean, this city will suit your needs.

Jacksonville also benefits from having St. Johns River and the Intercoastal running through it. Home prices are approximately 8% lower than the national average. However rents are about 22% higher. Renters have seen monthly rent, increase steadily year-over-year. In spite of a surge of new construction. That has pumped thousands of new units into the housing market.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jacksonville’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.6% making it 26% lower than the national average.

11. St. Louis, Missouri

  • Cost of living: 6% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 302,838
  • Median household income: $66,417
  • Median home price: $247,500
  • Median monthly rent: $968
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.64 +/- $0.35

Situated on the banks of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. St. Louis is known for its baseball, beer and what is probably the most famous arch that isn’t part of a fast food logo. With just over 300,000 residents. St. Louis may be one of the smallest of the big cities. But its extensive history adds to its greatness.

St. Louis, Missouri was acquired by Thomas Jefferson as part of the Louisiana Purchase. It was the starting point for Lewis and Clark’s expedition in 1804. It’s now home to the World’s Fair 100 years later. This rich history has provided the city with a wealth of historical buildings and museums. Many of which are free to the public.

In fact, many of the city’s attractions are complimentary. Including the Science Center, Saint Louis Zoo, and iconic Gateway Arch. Many top corporations are headquartered in St. Louis. Including Anheuser-Busch, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Express Scripts and Nestle-Purina.

Most affordable U.S. cities- City skylight with river in foreground

12. Des Moines, Iowa

  • Cost of living: 10% below the U.S. average
  • City population: 210,723
  • Median household income: $71,164
  • Median home price: $178,000
  • Median monthly rent: $1007
  • Regular Gasoline Price Per Gallon: $2.75 +/- $0.07

Des Moines gold-domed Iowa State Capitol building. Is among the many historical landmarks of the East Village area. The Des Moines Art Center is world-renowned for its contemporary collections and Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Local produce and live music are draws at the vibrant Downtown Farmers’ Market.

Located just two hours east of Omaha. Des Moines is another heartland city that has found an economic sweet spot. Putting it on the list of most affordable U.S. cities. It is one of the lowest cost of living cities in U.S. Tech businesses known collectively as the “Silicon Prairie.” Has replaced the cornfields and pastures that once dotted the landscape.

Des Moines remains one of the country’s most affordable and friendly big cities. Bargain-hunters who prefer the anonymity of bigger cities. Where strangers return random greetings with puzzled looks, might want to stay away.

Conclusion

Are you planning on a move towards retirement? Or just thinking of a change of pace or scenery? Whatever your motivation to make a move. This list will help you find the most affordable U.S. cities to live in. These aren’t just some of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. But they’re vibrant, economically healthy, and family-oriented communities.

MisterShaka

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