Which City Has the Lowest Cost of Living?

Summary: As with most countries, the cost of living in the US depends on the city or region you choose to spend live in. There are states and cities with lower cost of living that are happy to welcome you — and helping you stretch your income further than ever. Check them out!
Which City Has the Lowest Cost of Living?

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Anyone who has spent much time at all in a big city like New York City, San Francisco, or one of the numerous other expensive cities all over the country, know that many folks struggle because the cost of living is so high.

Does this sound like a situation you are currently facing? No one wants to have to live paycheck to paycheck, worrying whether they will be able to cover their rent or afford their next meal. If you are looking at similar circumstances, then maybe it is time for you to make a change in your life. Maybe it is time to look at living costs in other places and calculate the moving costs to see if you could find a cheaper town to live in.

If you like the sound of that idea, then it is time for you to rejoice. There are actually plenty of towns and cities across the United States that offer a much cheaper cost of living. The trick is for you to find a town that looks good to you and your budget, pack your things up, and get moving! Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a place where you can live much more comfortably than your current situation.

What are some of these cheaper cities? In order to give you some good ideas for possible places, you could be looking at moving to, keep some of the following options in mind, as well as some of the things about each town that could make it a great choice to call your next home.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the three cheapest cities in the entire country to consider moving to.

1. Harlingen, Texas

By far, the cheapest city to call home in the United States is the city of Harlingen in Texas. Texas as a whole is one of the cheapest states in the entire country to reside in if you’re looking to live affordably and enjoy a low cost of living.

Harlingen has all of these great things going for it, making it easily the cheapest city in America to call home:

  • The cost of living in Harlingen is roughly 24.2% below the national average in the United States.
  • The average total household income in the city is $38,122.
  • The average home value in Harlingen is around $85,700.
  • Harlingen’s unemployment is currently at a low 6.3%.
  • Harlingen is currently home to 65,467 residents as of the last census.

As you can see, there is quite a bit to consider about living in Harlingen. You get some of the cheapest home prices in the country, while also having access to employment opportunities not only in the city of Harlingen but in the surrounding Texas towns, as well.

Harlingen is roughly 30 miles east of the city of McAllen, right on the Rio Grande river. It is a smaller city with the feel of a bigger town, and residents love that almost everything in town is cheaper than the national average. Everything from going out to eat, buying gasoline, and getting groceries is cheaper in Harlingen than it would be elsewhere in the country.

People who like the thought of vacationing in Mexico will enjoy living in Harlingen, as it is only about an hour’s drive away from the famous South Padre’ Islands.

2. McAllen, Texas

Just about 30 miles east of Harlingen lies the second cheapest city to call home in the country. In McAllen, you can enjoy roughly the same benefits as living in Harlingen, but with a few differences. Before jumping into a few of the things McAllen offers, let’s explore some of the statistics that make it such a cheap place to live. 

  • McAllen’s cost of living is a cool 22.6% below the United States national average.
  • The average household income in McAllen is about $45,057.
  • The average home in McAllen can be purchased for about $120,500.
  • McAllen’s unemployment rate is low, as well, sitting at 6.6% currently.
  • The total population of McAllen is currently 142,696 people.

While McAllen is well known for being one of the cheapest places in the entire country to live, there are some other things the city is known for that are quite interesting. For example, it was named one of the “fattest cities in America” thanks to its obesity rate going up.

Besides that, newcomers to the city of McAllen will still be able to find things to enjoy it. It is close to Mexico, and it is also a famous spot for bird watchers to come to check out due to its placement along a known aviation migration route. In fact, a famous birdhouse known as the Quinta Mazatlan is in the area, which features a full 15 acres of bird habitat area and is a loved spot by bird enthusiasts and ornithologists all over.

3. Kalamazoo, Michigan

Michigan’s town of Kalamazoo is another one of the cheapest places in the country you could be calling home. It has some interesting things to like about it, as well. Before getting into the details of some of the fun offered in Kalamazoo, here are some of the statistics on the city’s cost of living:

  • The total cost of living in Kalamazoo is 20.4% below the United States national average.
  • The average Kalamazoo household income for families is right around $37,438.
  • The average home value in Kalamazoo is $99,300.
  • Kalamazoo’s unemployment rate is very low, sitting at only 3.6% right now.
  • The current population of people living in the city of Kalamazoo is 75,807 residents.

There are several things to love about living in Kalamazoo. For people who are looking to go back to school, they will be happy to know that Western Michigan University, which has several facilities and campuses, makes its home in Kalamazoo and is one of the biggest economical drivers in town.

There are a few medical companies who call Kalamazoo their base of operations, as well. You can find Pfizer, the well-known drug company, has a decent sized operation in town. Stryker, a company known for making medical equipment, makes its home in the city as well.

Looking for something to do in Kalamazoo? You won’t be looking for long, because there are plenty of things on offer for residents to do in town.

Check out the Kalamazoo Nature Center for all kinds of daily activities that are put on to the public completely free of charge. If you feel like visiting a park, you can find plenty of walking and biking trails to pick from in town. You will also have your choice of three different swimming areas and beaches.

Finally, if you feel a trip to the city coming on, you will be able to get to Chicago in about three hours if you load up into the car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Got some rough ideas of where you might like to move to save some money now? It wouldn’t be surprising to hear that you have a few more questions to ask despite all of the information above. Plenty of people consider moving to cheaper cities every year, so take a look at some of these common questions asked by folks moving to cheaper places to see if your question has potentially been answered already:

Which is the cheapest state to live in the country?

While it may be fun to know some of the cheapest cities in the country to live in, what if you want to know the cheapest state in the country? Right now, that honor belongs to Arkansas. In Arkansas, residents of the state spend the least on housing out of all the rest of the nation. The typical Arkansan pays about $708 on their rent, while the average cost of a house in the Natural State is about $128,800.

Which states pay you to move there?

Some states will offer monetary incentives to possible newcomers to entice them to move there. Whether it’s a discount on housing, a working bonus, or a way to try to stimulate local economies, there are usually some states or cities literally offering to pay people to move to them. Some of these places include the state of Maine (seeking workers), Vermont, Oklahoma, and Alaska.

Is it hard to find a job out of state?

If you are moving to a city with a low unemployment rate and several great employment opportunities, then it may not be hard for you to find a job at all, depending on your qualifications. Of course, you never know what awaits you when you move to your new city or state, so make sure you have some money saved up to fall back on if necessary while you get situated at your new home.

Living On the Cheap

As you can see, there are options available to you if you live in a more expensive town or state and would like to save some of your hard-earned money. With some of the information you have learned, you can choose one of these cities or do more research into other cheap towns, and find yourself a nice and affordable home somewhere that has a lower cost of living and a great quality of life.

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