The Getaway
These Are the Cheapest States to Live in the US

When considering a new place to live, you have to consider 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 U.S., such as Mississippi and Ohio, can provide enough for you to live comfortably while also having some left.


01 Indiana

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 U.S. 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.

Indianapolis skyline with the White River, Indiana Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

02 South Carolina

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 the Palmetto State falls in love with it to some degree. Its bigger cities, such as Columbia and Charleston, are entertainment an 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.

Downtown Charleston, South Carolina in the early evening traveler1116 / Getty Images

03 Ohio

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 with others in the grocery store, the Buckeye State is right there waiting with a median home price of just $129,900.

Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

04 Kentucky

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.

louisville skyline kentucky Sean Pavone / Getty Images

05 Alabama

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 no 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.

Urban scene of downtown Birmingham, Alabama, USA. SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

06 South Dakota

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 a great quality of life for a low cost of living, Rapid City and it's Black Hills view might just be the best place for you.

badlands south dakota sunset stevegeer / Getty Images

07 Tennessee

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. 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.

nashville at dawn Vito Palmisano / Getty Images

08 West Virginia

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 U.S., West Virginia is full of beautiful landscape 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.

autumn in west virginia dszc / Getty Images

09 Arkansas

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.

Man Relaxing in Canoe and Looking at Mountain View Sportstock / Getty Images

10 Mississippi

Mississippi is one of the cheapest states to live in the U.S. 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.

Photo of a paddleboat, with a metallic bridge on background wsfurlan / Getty Images

11 Kansas

Although its cost of living is significantly below the U.S. average, Kansas has been rated as one of the best states to live in for years. The city boasts a booming job market, some great schools, and a rich cultural landscape. Once a buzzing hotspot for jazz musicians, Kansas still has a flourishing music scene. Whether you prefer classical music or the latest hits, you'll get to enjoy some world-class performances. You can also enjoy the state's century-old country club culture, which is still as popular as ever.

The Scout overlooking downtown Kansas City f11photo/ Getty Images

12 Oklahoma

Oklahoma's cost of living is 16% below the national average, so it's a lucrative destination if you're looking to settle down and cut down costs. Foodies will have an amazing time exploring the local culinary scene — fried okra, pecan pie, biscuits, and of course, the barbecue. The state is culturally diverse, and its residents are known for their friendliness — so you can be sure that you'll fit right in.

Bricktown, Oklahoma City DenisTangneyJr/ Getty Images

13 Georgia

This laid-back southern state is a dream destination to many Americans — no wonder that every year 100,000 new residents move there. If you're looking to become a first-time homeowner, this may just be the state for you; home prices are far below those in other metropolitan areas. It's truly got something for everyone — good sports teams, quality education, lakes and lush nature, and mostly good weather. If you're looking for the elusive work-life balance, well, life in Georgia may be as close as you can get!

Savannah, Georgia, USA bars and restaurants on River Street Sean Pavone/ Getty Images

14 Missouri

Although it's still under the radar of many, Missouri's got that perfect combination of a low cost of living and a strong job market, so you can easily take advantage of its relatively low profile and build a comfortable life for yourself. You've got your world-class barbecue, six national parks, and of course, the ever-so-friendly locals. What's for sure is that you'll always have something to do, be it one of the dozens of festivals or a new hiking route to explore. What's not to like?

Columbia, Missouri, USA downtown city skyline Sean Pavone/ Getty Images

15 Iowa

The Hawkeye state has a booming job market, especially when it comes to farming, manufacturing, and green energy. As you can probably tell, the state doesn't really have concentrated urban centers — it's better suited to those who appreciate the tranquility of rural living. The cost of living is a whopping 16% lower than the nation's average, and housing is very affordable at an average of just over $200,000. For many aspiring homeowners, this comparatively low price can mean the difference between renting for the rest of their lives and saving up for their down payment in a few short years.

Des Moines, Iowa Skyline pabradyphoto/ Getty Images

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