Top 10 US Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living

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We know how tough it can be to find an affordable place to rent, especially in the US. In most cities, rent can consume most of one’s income and this can make it difficult to save and/or invest.

Below we have a list of US cities that have the lowest cost of living. The interesting thing about these cities is that most of them offer a good overall quality of life and they make it easy for you to put a little something away at the end of the month.

Top 10 Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living

During our research, we looked at a number of different factors to determine the cost of living in each city. This includes housing costs and median incomes based on information gathered from the Council of Community and Economic Research.

We also looked at the unemployment and poverty rates because that can be a problem in cities that have a low cost of living. Without further ado, here’s our list of the 10 cities with the lowest cost of living.

Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee is one of the oldest cities in the US and it’s known for producing some of the country’s greatest musicians. Isaac Hayes came from Memphis and so did Johnny Cash, George Coleman, and many others.

Memphis is also famous for serving authentic soul food and for inventing the barbecue sandwich and “muddy” glazed pork.

But, even with all this appeal, Memphis has a low cost of living. The average monthly rent is $895, and the housing costs are 35.4% lower than the national average. While the city’s average household income sits at $36,975, they’ve managed to keep the unemployment rate low at 3.9%.

Knoxville, Tennessee

The city of Knoxville, Tennessee is known for events like the Dogwood Arts Festival which celebrates the city’s natural beauty as well as its lively music scene. It’s also the city that gave us Quentin Tarantino, Patricia Neal and Mary Costa of Sleeping Beauty fame.

Average monthly rent in this city is $1,200 while the median household income sits at $34,556. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is relatively low at 3.1% and housing costs are 29.4% below the national average.

Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia

Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia is one of the most beautiful cities in the US as it’s surrounded by the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s also the home of NASCAR Cup Racing and there are a few notable wineries to visit.

But, if you plan on moving to Martinsville then you’ll have to make sure you have $875 for rent each month, and their median household income is $31,719. The 6.8% unemployment rate is a little higher than the 4.1% national average, while housing costs are 27.5% below the national average.

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo is the city in Michigan with an interesting name and an even more interesting culture. From breweries and distilleries to a variety of world-class museums and even an annual “Moped Army” event for the moped enthusiast.

Monthly rent in Kalamazoo will set you back $1, 100 and average household income is $34,767, while the average unemployment rate is low at 3.9%. Lastly, housing costs are 31% below the national average.

Wichita Falls, Texas

The first time we heard about Wichita was in the 2008 James Taylor song Wichita Lineman, and it turns out this town is home to a number of famous personalities like the rock band Bowling for Soup and 10-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune. So Wichita is definitely rich in the arts and its economy is doing quite well since it has a low unemployment rate of 3.3%.

Wichita is the only place with the “world’s littlest skyscraper,” and wrestling fans visit for the renowned Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. Although the median household income is $43, 9997, you’ll only spend $912 per month on rent. Wichita is arguably the most affordable city to live in from the options on this list thanks to housing costs that are 31% below the national average.

Tupelo, Mississippi

With only a handful of districts and a population of just over 38, 000 Tupelo is one of the smallest cities in the US. But it’s also the birthplace of Elvis Presley as well as modern-day musicians like Diplo and Rae Sremmurd.

The median household income in Tupelo is currently at $43,153 and it has an unemployment rate of 4.4%. The average monthly rent in Tupelo costs $1,100 and housing costs are at 33.1% below the national average.

Tupelo is definitely one of the cheapest cities to live in the US and it’s perfect for anyone that enjoys small-town life.

Richmond, Indiana

Richmond is a jazz lover’s heaven that’s known as the “cradle of recorded jazz.” That’s because it’s the place where the first jazz records were made and its home to famous jazz musicians such as Harold Jones, Melvin “Deacon” Jones, and Jeff Hamilton.

Another interesting fact about Richmond is that it’s the birthplace of the Wright Brothers who invented modern day aviation.  

The average household income in Richmond is currently $30,844, while unemployment is low at 3.4%. Rent will set you back just $800 per month, and housing costs are 39% below the national average.

Harlingen, Texas

Harlingen is a well-established city in the southern part of Texas with world-class infrastructure, education facilities and cultural points of interest. It has a population of over 65, 500 residents and growing, while median household income is at $35,718.

Average monthly rent in Harlingen is $1, 200 and it has a high unemployment rate of 5%. It’s interesting to note that even though housing costs are 32.4% below the national average, a third of the city’s residents live below the poverty line.

Conway, Arkansas

Conway is a regional hub of commerce, education, healthcare, work and shopping in Central Arkansas. There is a myriad of job opportunities in the technology sector with the most notable employers being Hewlett Packard, Acxiom and Insight Enterprises.

The city hosts a number of interesting and notable cultural events such as Toad Suck Daze which has been happening annually since 1982, and Conway Symphony Orchestra performances.

Conway also produced athletes like NFL linebacker Monte Coleman, NFL football running back Elijah Pitts, NFL wide receivers Tyre Davis and Willie Davis, as well as legendary NBA basketball forward Scottie Pippen.

Conway has a median household income of $47,190 and the unemployment rate is only 3%. Meanwhile, rent will set you back $1,000, which is not bad considering that household costs are 37.3% below the national average.

McAllen, Texas

McAllen is the fifth-most populous city in Texas with a population of 142,212. Some of the most notable sights to see in McAllen include the gorgeous McAllen Botanical Gardens and the International Museum of Art and Science.

The city has a relatively high unemployment rate of 6.2% and rent costs $1, 300. However, housing costs are 39.7% below the national average which makes McAllen the most affordable city to live in America.

The cost of rent is one of the biggest factors people usually consider before moving to another city. Since apartment rentals are such a competitive industry, property managers are turning to solutions like condo control central to automate their task. This increases their overall revenue without increasing their tenant’s rent by reducing labor cost. Whether you’re a student or a retiree, it will affect your quality of life as well as your ability to save for the future. We hope our list will help you figure out which city is appropriate for your needs, financial and otherwise.