28 Most Affordable American Cities to Live In


Everyone has a budget. Some budgets are big and some are small. You probably know that rural and small-town living may be less expensive than living in a city. But did you know that the standard of living you can get out of a salary can be a lot more in some American cities in comparison to others?

We’ve done some research to point out the cities where your dollars can stretch the furthest:

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#1. Little Rock, Arkansas

Cost of Living Ratio: 28%

Median Base Salary: $42,020

Median Home Value: $147,750

With a strong job market as well as attractive weather conditions, Little Rock offers affordability combined with desirability. Around 750,000 residents find that a low cost of living and a short average commute make it an attractive place to live. Not to mention the interesting Big Dam Bridge, which is the longest foot/cyclist bridge in the US and connects 14 miles of trails in the metro area.

#2. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

Cost of Living Ratio: 30%

Median Base Salary: $62,000

Median Home Value: $209,400

Located in the northeastern region of the piedmont, Raleigh is the state capital of North Carolina and Durham sits right with it. With excellent museums, roots in research and technology, and college rivalries, the metro area is home to the Carolina Hurricanes (Stanley Cup Winners) and the Durham Bulls. Raleigh is sometimes referred to as the Bull City because of the history of the Bull Durham Tobacco Company.

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#3. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Cost of Living Ratio: 30%

Median Base Salary: $65,000

Median Home Value: $219,400

With a hot job market for techies, Minneapolis-St. Paul houses almost 3.5 million residents and the area is affectionately known as The Twin Cities. Although the winters are cold, the city center boasts the Minneapolis Skyway which is an indoor walkway for pedestrians to link many of the downtown buildings. Many famous people have lived in the area, including Prince and Bob Dylan, and the city also acts as home to at least 23 lakes.

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#4. Jacksonville, Florida

Cost of Living Ratio: 30%

Median Base Salary: $50,000

Median Home Value: $165,900

Located in the northeast portion of Florida, Jacksonville is the United States’ largest city in square miles. The city hosts one of the largest and longest-running blues festivals in the United States (Springing the Blues), and the annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival is the second largest in the US. Not only is it great for music, the city operates the largest metro urban park system in the country.

#5. Richmond, Virginia

Cost of Living Ratio: 31%

Median Base Salary: $59,800

Median Home Value: $191,500

Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Richmond is named after its sister city in London, England. The city is part of the East Coast “Megalopolis” of cities including Baltimore, Boston, Washington D.C., and New York City. Richmond is excellent for visitors and tourists as well as for those who are interested in settling down, and has been named one of the top places to view Christmas lights.

#6. Hartford, Connecticut

Cost of Living Ratio: 31%

Median Base Salary: $59,800

Median Home Value: $191,500

A diverse city for business, architecture, education, and culture, Hartford is the capital of the state of Connecticut and is sometimes also called the Insurance Capital of the World. The over 125,000 residents of Hartford have a low poverty level and the city is home to many museums, theaters, opera houses, artist collectives, and historical landmark homes such as the Mark Twain House.

#7. Tampa, Florida

Cost of Living Ratio: 32%

Median Base Salary: $52,000

Median Home Value: $163,600

On the western coast of Florida, the Tampa Bay area is conveniently located near many major cities such as St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Sarasota—all within an hour’s drive. Tampa’s climate is warm enough to host a myriad of cultural festivals all year round. Sports teams include the NFL Buccaneers, NHL Lightning, MLB Devil Rays, as well as university teams and spring training for the New York Yankees.

#8. Chicago, Illinois

Cost of Living Ratio: 33%

Median Base Salary: $63,000

Median Home Value: $193,800

Famous as Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind of Town”, Chicago has a rich and fascinating history in its 237 square miles of land. The city is situated on Lake Michigan, with 26 miles of lakefront and over 8,100 acres of green space including parks and beaches. Public transportation, music & food festivals, historic landmarks, museums, theaters, and public art works are all reasons that Chicago’s 2.7 million residents love their city located in the state of Illinois.

#9. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Cost of Living Ratio: 33%

Median Base Salary: $61,000

Median Home Value: $182,100

Growing significantly over the past few years, the Dallas-Ft. Worth area now boasts more than 7.1 million people who are sprawled over the more than 9,200 miles that cover the total metroplex area (bigger than the US states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined). An extremely impressive business landscape, this city is the host to more than 20 Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, Exxon Mobil, and Texas Instruments. Sports include the NFL Cowboys, NBA Mavericks, NHL Stars, as well as racing, soccer, baseball, and more than 200 golf courses.

#10. Charlotte, North Carolina

Cost of Living Ratio: 36%

Median Base Salary: $58,000

Median Home Value: $159,800

Regularly ranked as one of the top places to live in the United States, Charlotte is a well-loved city by its more than 2 million inhabitants. The largest city in the state of North Carolina, Charlotte is a major financial center and is nicknamed the Queen City in relationship to Charlotte, a consort of British King George III. For professional sports, Charlotte houses the NFL Panthers, NBA Bobcats, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.