The 12 Most Affordable States To Live In

Key Takeaways


Cost of living often plays a huge role for those trying to decide where to settle roots, start a family, or even start up a business. One key metric used to measure affordability is the cost of housing in a given area. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, the average price of a four-bedroom house in the U.S. is $366,000. Housing costs vary greatly depending on where you live. In some expensive zip codes, a comparable home could even cost a few million dollars. Are you looking to lower your cost of living? You’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ve rounded up 12 of the cheapest states to live in.


[ Thinking about investing in real estate? Learn how to get started by registering to attend a FREE real estate class offered in your area. ]


Best cheapest states to live in

What States Have The Lowest Cost Of Living?

Without further ado, the U.S. states with the lowest cost of living are revealed below. Keep reading to take a quick tour of the United States, as we make a pit stop at 12 different states to explore why they are the most affordable in the nation.

  1. Mississippi

  2. Oklahoma

  3. Arkansas

  4. Kansas

  5. Missouri

  6. Georgia

  7. Alabama

  8. New Mexico

  9. Tennessee

  10. Indiana

  11. Iowa

  12. Kentucky

1. Mississippi

Mississippi is ranked the most affordable state in the U.S. overall. At 66.7, its housing cost index is the cheapest in the country. The Hospitality State has a median home value of $128,600, and renters enjoy a low monthly expense of $612 for a one-bedroom apartment. With grocery and transportation costs below the national average as well, Mississippi offers plenty of southern charm.

  • Cost of Living Index: 84.8

  • Grocery Cost Index: 93.1

  • Housing Cost Index: 66.7

  • Transportation Cost Index: 89.9

2. Oklahoma

The overall cost of living in Oklahoma is 86.8, making the Sooner State very affordable. You can expect to buy a home for around $124,800, and there’s ample land to build a house if you wish. If you prefer to live in a bigger city, you’re in luck because the state is home to one of America’s most affordable cities: Oklahoma City. If you prefer to rent, expect to pay a low monthly rent of about $629 for a one-bedroom.

  • Cost of Living Index: 86.8

  • Grocery Cost Index: 94.1

  • Housing Cost Index: 70.1

  • Transportation Cost Index: 91.3

3. Arkansas

Coming in third for overall cost of living at 87.8, Arkansas has a lot to offer for those looking to slash their budget. This state offers low housing, health care, and transportation costs. If you want to make this Natural State your future home, make note that Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, and Baptist Health are major employers.

  • Cost of Living Index: 87.8

  • Grocery Cost Index: 90.7

  • Housing Cost Index: 75.2

  • Transportation Cost Index: 86.1

Best cheap states to live in

4. Kansas

When Dorothy of Wizard of Oz said, “there’s no place like home,” perhaps she was also alluding to Kansas’ low cost of living. With a housing cost index of 71.8, Kansas puts itself on the map as one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. You could buy a median-priced home in the Sunflower State at $137,700. As a one-bedroom renter, expect to pay around $645.

  • Cost of Living Index: 87.9

  • Grocery Cost Index: 92.8

  • Housing Cost Index: 71.8

  • Transportation Cost Index: 94.8

5. Missouri

If you’re looking to balance a low cost of living with economic opportunity, Missouri could be just the locale for you. Its overall cost of living score is 88.9, with a housing score of 71.6. Both scores are very low compared to national averages. This state is home to many economic opportunities focusing on healthcare, bioscience, advanced manufacturing, and professional services.

  • Cost of Living Index: 88.9

  • Grocery Cost Index: 97.6

  • Housing Cost Index: 71.6

  • Transportation Cost Index: 93.9

6. Georgia

With a housing cost score of 71.3, Georgia turns out to be quite a peach. With an overall cost of living score of 89.4, you are likely to find a very affordable home in this Southeastern state. The city of Atlanta may be relatively more expensive, but you can easily find beautiful urban areas in which to grow your roots. The median home price is $186,500.

  • Cost of Living Index: 89.4

  • Grocery Cost Index: 99.0

  • Housing Cost Index: 71.3

  • Transportation Cost Index: 91.3

7. Alabama

Home to a major university and a rich history in the civil rights movement, Alabama is anything but boring. With a cost of living index of 89.4 and a low housing cost index of 70.2, one of the lowest in the nation, it offers opportunities to those looking to reduce their housing budgets. Alabama’s median home price is just $129,300. Birmingham has a median home price of $65,500, showing that there are pockets with even cheaper housing. Those seeking employment might look towards one of Alabama’s thriving industries, including tech, auto, and aeronautic.

  • Cost of Living Index: 89.4

  • Grocery Cost Index: 95.1

  • Housing Cost Index: 70.2

  • Transportation Cost Index: 92.3

Least expensive states to live in

8. New Mexico

New Mexico, otherwise known as the Land of Enchantment, is the third most affordable place to live, with an overall cost of living index of 89.6. Home to three Air Force bases, the state attracts federal government spending on military and research. The state economy also thrives off of oil, gas, and tourism. You can expect to buy a home at around $193,200.

  • Cost of Living Index: 89.6

  • Grocery Cost Index: 99.0

  • Housing Cost Index: 80.4

  • Transportation Cost Index: 93.0

9. Tennessee

Tennessee boasts affordable housing with an index of 82.6, one of the lowest in the nation. The state economy runs on agriculture and trade, and it helps that transportation costs are so low. If you were to relocate to Tennessee, you would enjoy the lack of state income tax, as well as low grocery costs.

  • Cost of Living Index: 90.2

  • Grocery Cost Index: 94.5

  • Housing Cost Index: 82.6

  • Transportation Cost Index: 87.7

10. Indiana

We’re getting lower on our list, but Indiana is still one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. In many cases, major cities are more expensive relative to smaller suburbs. In contrast, Indiana’s capital, Indianapolis, is one of the nation’s most affordable cities. If you want to lower your living costs but want to live in a big city, Indiana could be a great option. The Hoosier state’s median house price is $142,500.

  • Cost of Living Index: 90.4

  • Grocery Cost Index: 92.3

  • Housing Cost Index: 76.5

  • Transportation Cost Index: 99.4

Inexpensive states to live in

11. Iowa

Are you someone looking to balance your living costs with good healthcare and education? Iowa could be the future home for you. With the third-best healthcare system and fifth-best education system in the nation, Iowa is no state to skip over. Its capital, Des Moines, has been ranked as one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. It is also ranked as one of the best places to live. With an extremely low housing cost index of 61.1, you can expect to buy a home at a median price of $140,800. Transportation costs are notably affordable, about 8 percent less than the national average.

  • Cost of Living Index: 83.7

  • Grocery Cost Index: 94.4

  • Housing Cost Index: 61.1

  • Transportation Cost Index: 71.4

12. Kentucky

Last but not least, Kentucky is one of the cheapest states to live in the U.S. If you have a lot of food costs, such as feeding a large family, note that Kentucky residents pay about 9 percent less in grocery costs than those living in other states. Housing and transportations costs are notably low as well. If you wish to buy a home, the median price is $146,000.

  • Cost of Living Index: 83.6

  • Grocery Cost Index: 94.2

  • Housing Cost Index: 63.3

  • Transportation Cost Index: 89.1

Most affordable states to live in

How Are The Cheapest States Determined?

The Council for Community and Economic Research is an organization that measures cost of living across the United States. Their Cost of Living Index is a well-regarded and often-cited resource for comparing living costs from state to state.

In this guide, we focused on the Council’s reported indexes of overall cost of living, grocery costs, housing costs, and transportation costs of each state.

Each index is compared against a national average score of 100 in each category. For example, the score of 100 would be the national average for housing costs. Any state with a housing cost index below 100 is relatively affordable compared to the national average.

Our ranking of the 12 cheapest states to live in was curated by weighing these different indexes. The scores can change year-over-year, and do not take personal preferences such as available industries or climate into consideration.

Summary

Of the nation’s cheapest states to live in, Mississippi took the title as most affordable overall. However, any of the twelve states that made it into our rankings will offer you significant savings. Most of your decision-making will be influenced by personal incentives and preferences, such as the affordability of big cities within those states, or cost of healthcare or transportation. If you have a family or are thinking about starting one, then naturally, education system rankings will play a large role. We hope this guide of the 12 most affordable states will help you narrow down your search.

Of these 12 most affordable states to live in, which one would you choose? What are some of the factors that influenced your decision? Let us know in the comments below!


Interested in learning more about today's most lucrative real estate strategies?

Whether you’re brand new to investing, have closed a few deals, or are a seasoned investor— our new online real estate class reveals the best real estate strategies to get started with real estate investing in today's market. Expert investor Than Merrill explains how these time-tested strategies can help you to profit from the current opportunities in real estate.

Click here to register for our FREE 1-Day Real Estate Webinar and get started learning how to strategically invest in today’s real estate market!

🔒 Your information is secure and never shared. By subscribing, you agree to receive blog updates and relevant offers by email. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies
Real Estate Investing Strategies