The 14 most affordable cities in the US

An American neighborhood.An American neighborhood.Getty Images

  • Cost of living is on the rise throughout the US.
  • As finances weigh on Americans and the pandemic reshapes our lives, many are re-thinking where they want to live.
  • The South could provide migrating homebuyers with a more affordable cost of living.

It's getting more expensive to live in the US. Due to inflation hikes, American households paid nearly £500 more in expenses in June compared to what they would have spent in 2018 and 2019. With a shift to remote work and general sense of re-prioritization during the pandemic, a lot of Americans are re-thinking where they want to live.

One major factor for prospective movers is a town's cost of living and how much extra cash they'll have left over after paying their rent or mortgage. "With inflation rising so aggressively and the fact that people's salaries and weekly income are not rising at the same rate, we end up with less discretionary money to spend each month,"  George Ratiu, manager of economic research at, said in a statement. To determine where homebuyers can get the most bang for their buck, personal finance company Kiplinger ranked America's cheapest cities.

Using data from the Council for Community and Economic Research, the company measured prices for housing, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services. After sorting through hundreds of cities and prices, Kiplinger's researchers were able to identify the places with the absolute lowest costs of living were mostly south of the Mason-Dixon line. In states like Texas, Tennessee, and Alabama -- which appear on the list multiple times -- homebuyers can find several metros where they can expect a cost of living below the national average.

But if the South isn't your thing, here's a full list of where you can live on a budget in the US.

13. Decatur, Illinois

Illinois, United States. Illinois, United States.Getty Images

Cost of living: 16.0% below U.S. average
Metro population: 104,688
Median household income: £53,725
Median home value: £103,100
Unemployment rate: 6.5%

12. Decatur/Hartselle, Alabama

Alabama, United States. Alabama, United States.Getty Images

Cost of living: 16.1% below U.S. average
Metro population: 152,321
Median household income: £51,842
Median home value: £137,600
Unemployment rate: 2.1%


Jackson, Tennessee

Jackson, Tennesse. Jackson, Tennesse.Getty Images

Cost of living: 16.3% below U.S. average
Metro population: 178,601
Median household income: £48,146
Median home value: £123,300
Unemployment rate: 3.2%

10. Kokomo, Indiana

Indiana, United States. Indiana, United States.Getty Images

Cost of living: 16.4% below U.S. average
Metro population: 82,486
Median household income: £56,387
Median home value: £113,900
Unemployment rate: 4.5%

9. Augusta-Aiken, Georgia/South Carolina

Georgia, United States. Georgia, United States.Getty Images

Cost of living: 16.4% below U.S. average
Metro population: 605,303
Median household income: £55,049
Median home value: £153,300
Unemployment rate: 3.5%


Joplin, Missouri

Joplin, Missouri. Joplin, Missouri.Getty Images.

Cost of living: 17.4% below U.S. average
Metro population: 178,816
Median household income: £50,244
Median home value: £126,200
Unemployment rate: 3.1%

7. Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville, Tennessee.Getty Images.

Cost of living: 17.7% below U.S. average
Metro population: 861,872
Median household income: £56,857
Median home value: £180,700
Unemployment rate: 2.7%

6. Anniston, Alabama

Anniston, Texas. Anniston, Texas.Getty Images

Cost of living: 17.9% below U.S. average
Metro population: 114,324
Median household income: £50,128
Median home value: £121,600
Unemployment rate: 3.4%


Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo, Texas. Amarillo, Texas.Getty Images

Cost of living: 19.3% below U.S. average
Metro population: 264,345
Median household income: £56,055
Median home value: £147,600
Unemployment rate: 3.1%

4. Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson, Mississippi.Getty Images

Cost of living: 20.4% below U.S. average
Metro population: 596,287
Median household income: £53,639
Median home value: £148,300
Unemployment rate: 3.8%

3. McAllen, Texas

McAllen, Texas. McAllen, Texas.Getty Images.

Cost of living: 23.2% below U.S. average
Metro population: 861,137
Median household income: £41,846
Median home value: £90,000
Unemployment rate: 7.9%


Harlingen, Texas

Harlingen, Texas. Harlingen, Texas.Getty Images

Cost of living: 23.4% below U.S. average
Metro population: 443,554
Median household income: £41,053
Median home value: £88,200
Unemployment rate: 6.8%


Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo, Michigan.Getty Images

Cost of living: 24.3% below U.S. average
Metro population: 264,322
Median household income: £58,836
Median home value: £168,500
Unemployment rate: 4.1%

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