When considering a new place to live, you have to take into account the affordability. For most of us, moving to one of the bigger cities isn’t feasible. According to MIT’s living wage calculator, the average household income in San Francisco, for example, is $92,139. Even though San Francisco is home to Silicon Valley, unless you’re working in tech, it’s likely you won’t make enough to live there. On the other hand, some of the cheapest states to live in the US such as Mississippi and Ohio can provide enough for you to live comfortably while also having some left.
Mississippi is one of the cheapest states to live in the US. With a median salary of $39,665 and a median home price of $103,100, it's an affordable state full of diverse and bustling cities. A conglomerate of Southern charm, ample history, and the Mississippi River to the west, the Magnolia State is all-too-often overlooked. Mississippi is also a state custom-made for nature-lovers, with everything from vast forests to swamps to beaches on the Gulf Coast.
Arkansas lies to the northwest of the Mississippi River, but its charm is that of its own. It also truly lives up to its nickname, which is "The Natural State." If you value low-cost outdoor adventure, beautiful landscapes, and ample opportunities such as camping, hiking, and fishing, it's hard to beat this Southern gem. Furthermore, the University of Arkansas, which is based in one of the state's biggest cities, Fayetteville, has also been recognized as a top 10 college town. With a median home price of $111,400 and a median salary of $41,371, Arkansas offers its residents a high quality of life for a very low cost of living.
It's a state that gets a bad rep, but that rep is completely unfounded. West Virginia is nicknamed The Mountain State, and one look at its rolling Appalachian hills will tell you exactly why. As well as being one of the cheapest states to live in the US, West Virginia is full of beautiful landscapes and charming towns. John Denver was right about West Virginia, too; there are also country roads. The median salary in West Virginia is $41,751 and, with a home price of $103,800, you could own your own home within five years.
Thanks to Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee is one of the cultural capitals of the United States. However, it's also one of the cheapest states to live in. As well as being full of culture, there are ample work opportunities with eight Fortune 500 companies that call the Volunteer State home. Tennessee is also a healthcare hub and an automotive hub, with 300 health-related companies and 900 automotive factories which provide thousands of jobs to Tennesseans. With a median salary of $45,219 and a median home price of $142,100, Tennessee is a fantastic state to live in.
Hearing South Dakota probably conjures up visions of cowboys; of ghost towns and wild horses, and that isn't far off. However, South Dakota also provides a thriving and growing economy for its residents. South Dakota is a state that's full of agriculture and history. It's also one of the best states to live in when it comes to the worst day of the year: Tax Day. If you're looking for great quality of life for a low cost of living, Rapid City and its Black Hills view might just be the best place for you.
Alabama is a state for those who enjoy warmth both in climates and in fellow residents. The Yellowhammer State has four national forests, inland waterways, and massive economic sectors in which to work. Although it's not Silicon Valley, it also doesn't have to be. Alabama is home to some of the top companies in aerospace, banking, and education. Huntsville and Birmingham are both investing a lot in technology, providing a more affordable place to live than San Francisco. Huntsville alone is a startup hub and one of the fastest-growing cities for jobs in tech. With a median home price of just $125,500, you can't argue.
Kentucky is a state of refined culture, vast rural farmland, and a robust economy that generated 165 billion in 2011 and has only grown. As well as being one of the cheapest states to live in the U.S., Kentucky is also a center of innovation with yearly job growth. The Bluegrass State has some of the most beautiful national parks such as Mammoth Cave and Red River Gorge. With so many job opportunities and a median home price of $123,200, Kentucky might just be the perfect place for a new home.
Ohio is understated and misunderstood. It's actually one of the best states to start up a new business. Offering residents a low cost of living and many manufacturing opportunities when it comes to employment. Midwesterners are also as charming and courteous as Southerners; it's just not nearly as talked about. When you're looking for a place where everybody knows your name, where you can chat to others in the grocery store, the Buckeye State is right there waiting with a median home price of just $129,900.
Of all of the reasons to move to South Carolina, the low cost of living, which is almost 13% lower than the national average, might just be the last. Almost everyone that enters Palmetto State falls in love with it to some degree. Its bigger cities such as Columbia and Charleston are entertainment and arts hubs that still have the space to sit back and to watch. There are silky-white beaches, charming towns, and gorgeous weather. South Carolina is the best of small-town America while also being a hub for manufacturing companies.
With military installations, agriculture, and manufacturing providing job opportunities, Indiana offers a great quality of life to its residents. It's one of the cheapest states to live in the US and a fun, attractive place to live. As well as this, it's also attracting plenty of young people including those who graduate from Indiana University and don't want to leave. Indiana is a high-ranking state in which to do business and home to numerous companies who are also huge employers that will make you ask, "Silicon Valley who?" Living in Indiana will give you more bang for your buck with a median salary of $49,255 and a median home price of just $124,200.
Texas is an excellent place for any savvy citizen to call home. The state's economy is currently one of the healthiest in the country, providing almost 1,000 new jobs every day with a $64,034 median salary. Many of the popular Texan cities and suburbs are considered very safe and family-friendly, and home prices average around $207,300. Plus, the culture is bustling, and there's always something to do no matter where you set up home. As the saying goes, "everything is bigger in Texas" — except the cost of living.
Known for its affordable real estate with a median home price of around $300,900, Alaska is ideal for nature lovers looking to save money. The median salary is $75,463, and full-time residents receive yearly bonus royalties of up to $2,000 from the state's Permanent Fund Dividend Program. Finances aside, few states are home to such uniquely beautiful landscapes, bustling fishing, and hunting spots, or unwavering summer sunshine levels.
With a median salary of $63,276 and a median home price of $301,700, Nevada is another great choice when it comes to low-cost living. The state may be known for tourism and nightlife, but there's a lot more to do here than hit the casino. Some of the most-loved attractions in major cities include festivals, martial arts events, stand-up comedy, and affordable yet delicious food. Many homes in Nevada are set against breathtaking backdrops for those who prefer the quiet life, from the Red Rock Canyon to Lake Tahoe.
Oregon's robust economy has been luring in numerous movers over the years. The state's median salary is $67,058, with its Silicon Forest hosting tens of thousands of modern tech jobs. Median home prices are around $361,900, and you can relax in your abode after work with one of Oregon's numerous homegrown beers or wines. Whether you like stunning mountains, idyllic beaches, or luscious forests, Oregon has beautiful scenery to suit any taste.
You may know Wyoming as the home to Yellowstone National Park, one of the most popular natural wonders in the country. What many people don't know is that the whole state is filled with similarly beautiful wide-open spaces. Several major cities in Wyoming have some of the lowest pollution levels in the country, and the state was recently ranked second in the country's Well-Being Index. With a median salary of $65,003 and a median home price of $250,890, Wyoming is a place almost anyone can start a new life in.
The Sooner State has one of the lowest housing costs in the U.S. Median home prices are around $125,000 and you can rent a two-bedroom apartment for under $900 in some areas. Tulsa and Oklahoma City provide day-to-day conveniences as well as a vibrant nightlife. Parks and recreational areas abound in every corner of the state, so you're never far away from beautiful panoramas and outdoor fun when you need some R and R.
If a low cost of living is what you seek, Kansas is the state where you'll find it. Friendly people, amazing barbecue, and sunflower-filled landscapes are just some of the things residents love about this state. And, it costs about 12% less to live in Kansas than it does in other parts of the U.S. Olathe, in the northeastern part of Kansas, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, due to its low crime rate and strong job market.
Super-affordable Missouri is a well-rounded state and home to five professional sports teams, theme parks, and the Ozark mountains. About one-third of the residents here live in rural areas, yet it ranks 18th on the list of the country's most populous. Richmond, 40 miles east of Kansas City, is the least expensive city to live in, especially for renters. Homebuyers should check out Joplin for some of the lowest real estate prices in the country.
Although Atlanta lands on the pricier side of the spectrum, the rest of Georgia tends to be friendlier to those on tighter budgets. Just north of Atlanta is the quiet suburb of Alpharetta, where you can enjoy all the benefits of living in a larger city but without the high costs. Dunwoody is another great choice for thrifty-minded folks offering one of the lowest unemployment rates and one of the highest average household incomes — $100,000 per year.
For those people who need both a bargain for day-to-day living costs and a never-ending supply of cultural enrichment, there's no place like New Mexico. Whether you enjoy delving into the mysteries of alien life forms or you find joy exploring art galleries and endless culinary wonders, you'll find everything you need in the Land of Enchantment. If you're on a super-tight budget, head to the southern half of the state where utilities, health care, and transportation costs are among the cheapest in the country.