These U.S. Cities Are The Least Expensive To Live In

If your desire is to live in a city but you don’t want to pay the high costs associated with major metropolitan locations such as New York City and Los Angeles, there are still many affordable places to choose from.

Using a combination of data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, ApartmentFinder, Salary.com, and the U.S. Census Bureau, we’ve listed the least expensive cities in America to live in. The data collected includes the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment along with a comparison of grocery and utility rates based on the national average for each category. The cities are listed in no particular order and with no attention paid to other socio-political considerations.

Harlingen, Texas

Harlingen Texas
Elmopancakes / Wikipedia
Elmopancakes / Wikipedia

With a one-bedroom apartment costing just $727 on average, Harlingen, Texas is an affordable city that boasts a population of nearly 65,000. Food costs are 11.8% below the national average while utilities are 11.9% below nationally reported numbers.

The city’s $38,800 median household income isn’t the highest on our list but overall the cost of living in this city is 23.4% lower than what you’ll find in comparable areas throughout the United States.

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo
Mxobe / Wikipedia
Mxobe / Wikipedia

With an average one-bedroom rental costing just $772, it’s fairly cheap to live in this city of nearly 80,000 residents. Along with an impressive median household income of $40,292, you can also expect food costs to be 34.5% below the national average.

Throw in utilities that are 20.5% cheaper than the national costs for energy and suddenly Kalamazoo seems like an impressive option. However, the cost of living in general, when combined with healthcare and other expenses, is actually 5.4% higher than the national average.

Memphis, Tennessee

GettyImages-1177459028
Visions of America/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Visions of America/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Living in Memphis, Tennessee, with its population of nearly 1.4 million people, is shockingly inexpensive — at least compared to many other large-scale cities. The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Memphis is just $762.

Food costs are also in good form at 26.2% below the national average while energy costs are 17.7% lower than in other cities. With a median household income of $39,109, the cost of living in Memphis is 21.5% lower than the average.

Richmond, Indiana

Richmond Indiana
Warren LeMay / Wikipeida
Warren LeMay / Wikipeida

The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Richmond, Indiana is one of the lowest on our list at just $522. That’s not bad for a city that boasts a median household income of $37,145.

In Richmond, you’ll also experience food costs that are 26.8% below the national average. However, utilities beat the national average by just 7.2%. When all is said and done, the cost of living in Richmond, Indiana is 14.6% lower than the national average.

Joplin, Missouri

Joplin
AbeEzekowitz / Wikipedia
AbeEzekowitz / Wikipedia

Living in Joplin, Missouri means choosing an area where the cost of living is 24.4% below the national average. That number is helped along by a relatively low one-bedroom apartment rental cost of $662.

Food costs are 5.2% higher than average national costs but the average median household income is also slightly higher at $42,782 compared to similar cities. You’ll also pay 11.9% lower utility costs by choosing Joplin, Missouri. It’s a relatively small city with a population just above 50,000.

Tupelo, Mississippi

Tupelo Mississippi
Ron Cogswell / Wikipedia
Ron Cogswell / Wikipedia

The city of Tupelo, Mississippi, is relatively small with a population of just under 40,000. It also features a fairly low cost of living. A one-bedroom in this city is just $653 on average while utility costs are 18.9% below the national average.

Food costs are 14.7% above the national average but the city’s median household income of $48,116 is high in comparison to other inexpensive cities on our list. Overall, the cost of living in Tupelo is 22.9% lower than the national average.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayetteville
Brandonrush / Wikipedia
Brandonrush / Wikipedia

The cost of living in Fayetteville, Arkansas is 21.5% lower than the national average. The low cost of living is thanks in part to an average one-bedroom rent cost of just $771.

Food costs in this city are 5.5% below the national average while utilities are an impressive 19.2% lower than the national average. The median household income in Fayetteville isn’t too shabby at $42,1010. The population is approximately 86,000 as of the 2010 U.S. Census.

Conway, Arkansas

Conway Arkansas
Ronny Willhite / Wikipedia
Ronny Willhite / Wikipedia

Living in Conway, Arkansas, you can expect to pay, on average, $679 for a one-bedroom apartment. Food costs also won’t set you back with a cost that ist 11.3% below the national average. Utilities are pretty cheap at 17.3% below average.

The median household income in Conway is $46,972, which helps maintain a cost of living that is 14.9% below the U.S. average. The population of Conway, Arkansas is approximately 66,000.

Pittsburg, Kansas

Pittsburg Kansas
Skrunyon / Wikipedia
Skrunyon / Wikipedia

A one-bedroom apartment for under $500? That’s what you’ll get in Pittsburg, Kansas, where a population just over 20,000 can land you an apartment for $465. You’ll also pay 21.7% less for food and 15.2% less for utilities in this city.

Admittedly, the median household income is lower at $35,525. However, when combined with healthcare costs and other expenses, Pittsburg still flaunts a cost of living that is 25.1% lower than the national average.

Burlington, Iowa

Burlington Iowa
Loco Steve / Wikipedia
Loco Steve / Wikipedia

In Burlington, Iowa, you can score a one-bedroom apartment for just $636 while utilities are 8.2% below the national average. However, food costs are 3% higher than many other areas which will add to the overall cost of living by a small margin.

While food costs might be slightly more expensive in the area, so is the median household income that sits at $45,841. Overall, the cost of living in Burlington, Iowa is 9.9% lower than the national average.

Amarillo, Texas

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Quirky Motel Route 66 Amarillo Texas
Quirky Motel Route 66 Amarillo Texas

In Amarillo, Texas, you can pick up a one-bedroom apartment for an average cost of $655. Making this city of nearly 280,000 people even more impressive is its food costs, which sit 18.6% below the national average, and utility costs that are 14.5% lower.

The average median household income is one of the most impressive on our list at $54,543. Just keep in mind, when combined with medical expenses and other prices, you’ll be living in a city where the cost of living is 9.3% below the national average.

McAllen, Texas

McAllen Texas
Anthony Acosta / Wikipedia
Anthony Acosta / Wikipedia

With an average one-bedroom rent cost of $602, the city of McAllen, Texas is ranked high on our list. Throw in food costs that are 11.8% below the national average and utilities that are 13.6% less than national averages, and this is an affordable city that boasts nearly 145,000 residents.

Household incomes are also some of the highest on our list of affordable cities. The average household earns $47,279. McAllen, Texas’ overall cost of living is 24.3% below the national average. McAllen is nicknamed “The City Of Palms.”

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Jonesboro Arkansas
Brandonrush / Wikipedia
Brandonrush / Wikipedia

With an average one-bedroom apartment cost of $799, the city of Jonesboro, Arkansas is on the higher end of our list in terms of least expensive cities to live in throughout the United States. However, food costs in this city of nearly 72,000 people are 26.2% below the national average while utilities are 17.5% below average.

The median household income in Jonesboro is $44,780. When all expenses are combined this city is an impressive 25.6% below the average for the cost of living.

Knoxville, Tennessee

GettyImages-846302946
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The highest average one-bedroom rental cost on our list is $1,267 courtesy of Knoxville, Tennessee. With a population of nearly 870,000, there is a lot of competition for housing in this city.

Even with the higher rental prices, the food costs for the city are 17.4% below the national average and utilities are lower by 16.7%. With a median household income of $37,703, the city is still 9.5% below the national average cost of living.

Salina, Kansas

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Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Salina, Kansas counts an average one-bedroom rental cost of just $622 among the many benefits of living in this city of nearly 47,000 residents. Other benefits are food costs that are 25.1% below the national average and utilities that run 14.3% lower.

In Salina, you can expect to see a median household income of $48,079, while the cost of living in the city is an impressive 21.1% lower than the national U.S. average.

LaGrange, Georgia

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Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In LaGrange, Georgia, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is just $655 while food costs are 13.2% below the national average. You will also pay 6.1% lower utilities costs living in LaGrange over the average national cost.

Admittedly, the lower food and utility costs are offset by a lower median household income of $34,468. But even with the lower median household income, the cost of living in LaGrange, Georgia is still 10.2% below the national average.

Springfield, Missouri

GettyImages-56583438
Richard Jordan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Richard Jordan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Springfield, Missouri features a one-bedroom average rental cost of $759 and a median household income of $35,674. The cost of living in Springfield is 10.8% below the national average.

The price of food is 5.2% higher than the average while utilities are lower by 11.9%. With a population of nearly 465,000 people, this is a fairly large metropolitan area with plenty of employment opportunities, which could help offset some slightly higher costs in other areas.

Cleveland, Tennessee

Cleveland Tennessee
JonesManagement / Wikipedia
JonesManagement / Wikipedia

Cleveland, Tennessee is one of the cheapest places on our list in terms of one-bedroom rentals, with an average cost of just $589. Food prices are also 23.2% below the national average while utilities are 17.7% below the national average.

In Cleveland, the median household income is $42,400 while combined factors push the cost of living 9.6% below what you’ll find on average throughout the United States. It’s also a relatively small city with just under 45,000 residents.

Lima, Ohio

Lima Ohio
Tysto / Wikipedia
Tysto / Wikipedia

In Lima, Ohio, you can pick up a one-bedroom rental for an impressive $577. With a median household income of $35,172, the earnings for residents in this city of nearly 40,000 people falls right into the middle of our list.

While the median income isn’t spectacular, the cost of food in Lima is 25.9% below the national average while utilities run 12.9% below average. When all’s said and done, the cost of living in Lima is 13.7% below the U.S. national average.

Statesboro, Georgia

Statesboro
Eaglefan7385 / Wikipedia
Eaglefan7385 / Wikipedia

With an average one-bedroom rental cost of just $590, Statesboro, Georgia is a cheap city to call home with its population of nearly 32,000 people. Food costs are just .2% below the national average while utilities are only 2.2% below average.

The median household income is also lower in Statesboro at $26,750. Still, lower costs for other goods and services help this city maintain a cost of living that is 12.6% below the U.S. national average.