Cheapest States to Live in the US

The Top 10 Cheapest States to Live in the US - 2022

The United States is a land of opportunity and liberty. This multicultural country has one of the most diverse natural landscapes in the world. From beautiful beaches to mountains, the country has many National Parks that are perfect for outdoor activities. However, the cost of living in the US can be expensive as home prices are rising all around the country. At MovingWaldo, we understand that you might be looking for ways to maximize your money. Here are the top 10 cheapest states to live in the US! 

Methodology

To build our ranking, we’ve considered the 3 following criteria: the average housing prices, the cost of groceries, as well as the median household income. We thought it would be relevant to compare the statistics of the cities concerned with the rates of the United States: the average renting price in the US is $1,326, while the average housing price is $354,165. The median household income in America is $65,712 and the average cost of groceries per month for one person is $411. 

We’ve mainly based our ranking on statistics from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), who used the Cost of Living Index (COLI) to compare the cost of living of the various states.* Assuming that the Cost of Living Index of the United States is 100, a state with a COLI under 100 has a cost of living below the national average, while a state with a cost of living over 100 has a cost of living that is above the national average. 

*The COLI takes into consideration many factors including housing, food, utilities, transport, healthcare, taxes, and public education.

(*Zillow, worldpopulationreview, U.S. News & U.S. Department of Commerce)

MovingWaldo’s list of the 10 cheapest states to live in America - 2022

1. Mississippi

1. Mississippi - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: most affordable cost of living

Located in the Southeastern region of the country, the state of Mississippi is known for its amazing culture, rich history, southern hospitality and beautiful views. You can enjoy long and warm summers and short winters. With a cost of living index as low as 83.1, Mississippi is apparently the cheapest state to live in the US in 2022. Housing is really affordable: housing costs are indeed the lowest across America

  • House price: $164,490
  • Apartment rent price: $810
  • Groceries: $220
  • Median household income: $45,792

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, Numbeo & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Mississippi

2. Oklahoma

2. Oklahoma - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: sports amateurs

Oklahoma is home to thriving agriculture and energy industries, as well as college sports and Native American heritage. With its booming industries, the state has plenty of job opportunities available to it. Moreover, the residents of Oklahoma can enjoy all four seasons here, including winter, spring, summer, and fall. It is interesting to note that Oklahoma has a cost of living index of 84.8, making it one of the cheapest states to live in the US in 2022. It is particularly affordable to buy a home or rent an apartment in Oklahoma. The state also offers affordable living costs in terms of food, utilities, and transportation expenses. 

  • House price: $180,690
  • Apartment rent price: $814
  • Groceries: $350
  • Median household income: $54,449

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, worldpopulationreview & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Oklahoma

3. Kansas

3. Kansas - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: job opportunities in the wheat industry

Kansas is a great place to live for its employment opportunities, highly ranked colleges, affordable housing, athletic events, art, and culture, as well as its barbecue, which is pretty much the best in the country. Kansas is known for its wheat industry and thus for employing people in the farming field, in data collection and logistics positions. Based on a cost of living index of 85.4, Kansas appears to be one of the cheapest states to live in America in 2022. Its cost of living is very low as compared to other states. In Kansas, the cost of groceries per month for one person is $275, which is 33% lower than the national average.

  • House price: $205,574
  • Apartment rent price: $904
  • Groceries: $275
  • Median household income: $62,087

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, worldpopulationreview & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Kansas

4. Alabama

4. Alabama - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: outdoor recreation

The state of Alabama takes pride in being one of the cheapest states to live in the US, as well as being home to several beautiful and safe cities. In addition to being sparsely populated, Alabama also has a cost of living index of 87.5, making it one of the most affordable states to live in the US. Alabama has a low cost of living as well as a low cost of real estate. Living in Alabama means enjoying southern hospitality, great restaurants, beautiful beaches along the Gulf Coast, inland waterways, and forests without breaking the bank.

  • House price: $205,780
  • Apartment rent price: $807
  • Groceries: $400
  • Median household income: $51,734

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, worldpopulationreview  & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Alabama

5. Georgia

5. Georgia - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: southern hospitality

Located in an area with wonderful scenery and great weather, Georgia is a beautiful place to live where you will feel welcome by its citizens and their southern hospitality. With many global companies having their headquarters in Georgia, the state’s economy is flourishing, creating plenty of job opportunities. The cost of living index in Georgia is 88.2, making it one of the cheapest states in the US. When compared with other states of similar stature, Georgia’s cost of living is relatively low. Furthermore, Georgia has some of the lowest property tax rates in the country, which is a big plus for property owners. 

  • House price: $316,705
  • Apartment rent price: $1300
  • Groceries: $290
  • Median household income: $61,980

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, Sofi & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Georgia

6. Indiana

6. Indiana - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for:  job opportunities in the automotive manufacturing, pharmaceutical & medical sectors

Indiana’s high quality of life, great restaurants, outdoor adventures, quality education, and thriving community environment attract people to relocate and live there. The state also has a very low 2.2% unemployment rate and a thriving automotive manufacturing industry, pharmaceutical & medical and also energy sector. As one of the cheapest states to live in the US, Indiana has a cost of living index as low as 89.2. Groceries cost approximately $275 per month per person in Indiana, which is 33% less than the national average. Aside from this, the average housing price in Indiana is also 38% lower than the national average. Those looking for a state where they can enjoy the advantages of all four seasons without taking a road trip should consider Indiana.

  • House price: $221,019
  • Apartment rent price: $840
  • Groceries: $275
  • Median household income: $57,603

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, worldpopulationreview  & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Indiana

7. Tennesse

7. Tennesse - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: excellent public transportation system

The mild climate, top-notch healthcare facilities, lively cities, and low cost of living are all reasons why people are relocating to Tennessee. It has a low cost of living index of 89.3, making it one of the cheapest states to live in. The public transport system is actually one of the better ones in the country and can be a solid advantage for anybody looking to cut cost of living. Moreover, there is no state income tax on salaries or wages in Tennessee, making it one of the most attractive states to move to. Residents also pay very low property taxes in addition to no state income tax.

  • House price: $299,571
  • Apartment rent price: $904
  • Groceries: $242
  • Median household income: $56,071

(*Zillow, worldpopulationreview, Sofi  & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Tennesse

8. Arkansas

8. Arkansas - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: affordable housing

In addition to having the only diamond mine in the world, Arkansas is also known for its lakes and rivers, as well as its rice and poultry production. According to a study, Arkansas ranks among the top 10 states where people are moving due to lower taxes, lower costs of living, and a wide range of business opportunities. In terms of cost of living, it ranks one of the cheapest states to live in the US with an index of 89.9. Groceries cost approximately $250 per month per person in Arkansas, which is 39% less than the national average. Additionally, the average apartment rent here is $917, which is well below the national average. 

  • House price: $323,820
  • Apartment rent price: $917
  • Groceries: $250
  • Median household income: $48,952

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, worldpopulationreview  & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Arkansas

9. Michigan

9. Michigan - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: beautiful scenery

The state of Michigan offers more than 129 scenic lighthouses, roller coasters, speedways, and water parks for you to explore. Also, Michigan is one of the cheapest states in the US with a cost of living index of 89.9. Living costs in Michigan are relatively low. The average cost of groceries in Michigan is $270 per person per month, which is 34% less than the national average. Low living costs, splendid job opportunities, great nightlife, and quality educational institutions make it one of the top choices among millennials. 

  • House price: $236,980
  • Apartment rent price: $871
  • Groceries: $270
  • Median household income: $59,584

( Zillow, Apartmentlist, worldpopulationreview  & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Michigan

10. Missouri

10. Missouri - Cheapest States to Live in the US

Best for: access to public parks

Missouri’s central Midwest location and proximity to several state borders may appeal to you, as well as its classic and friendly atmosphere. Among Missouri’s many famous things are its barbecue, agriculture industry, and iconic landmarks such as the Gateway Arch. Additionally, there are many beautiful parks varying in sizes for you to enjoy and fill your days off. As of 2022, Missouri has a cost of living index of 90.5. In addition to affordable housing, residents also enjoy lower utility bills, grocery prices, and rental rates. Along with providing a wealth of job opportunities, the state also offers beautiful state parks perfect for picnics, hiking, and camping.

  • House price: $229,765
  • Apartment rent price: $834
  • Groceries: $250
  • Median household income: $57,409

(*MovingWaldo, Zillow, worldpopulationreview  & U.S. Department of Commerce)

Missouri

Affordable housing options in the US

Even though we’ve looked at some of the cheapest places to live in the US, you might want to know other affordable housing options. To avoid breaking the bank, check out the affordable housing options below.

 

Tiny houses in the US

Tiny houses are small houses of around 400 sq ft. that are usually on wheels so they can easily be parked and transported. Tiny houses on wheels are considered a recreational vehicle in the United States. If you want this type of tiny house, you will have to register your home as a recreational vehicle and figure out a place to park it. However, you can also have a tiny house on a foundation. A tiny house can cost anywhere from $10 000 to $150 000 depending on who built it, the materials used and how big it is. In the US, tiny houses regulation and laws are dictated by the state and by the country. You should look out for the specific requirements of your state and county if you want a tiny house. 

(*Tiny House Society)

Some of the tiny house communities and movements in the United States:

 

Getting roommates in the US

Depending on which states you are living in, rent can be expensive if you live on a tight budget. The rent price is particularly high in California and Hawaii, for example. Getting roommates is an efficient way to reduce your housing costs each month. Students in the US generally get roommates so they can be near their university without having to overspend on their rent or travel far. However, roommates can be useful in any stage of life as a way to drastically reduce cost of living and doesn’t have to be permanent. 

How much mortgage can I afford in the United States?

A mortgage you get from the back depends on the amount of money you earn, debts incurred, and your general living expenses. The higher mortgage you can afford, the more expensive a home you can afford to purchase. 

The price of homes can vary depending on which states you are living in the United States. However, you might want to find out how much mortgage you can afford with this mortgage calculator based on your household income, debts, and down payment amount. 

Household income 

before taxes, no debts 

Down payment

Maximum mortgage you can afford in the US

Term length: 30 years fixed

Interest rate: 3.500%

$70,000

$20,000

$256,983

$100,000

$30,000

$396,668

$120,000

$40,000

$493,125

Why do people move to the US?

People move to the US for the following reasons: 

  • Career opportunities
  • Stunning scenic views
  • Investment opportunities
  • Outdoor recreational activities: skiing, hiking, fishing, mountain biking and more!
  • Cultural diversity
  • Top-notch educational institutions

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about moving across America, there is a good chance that you are looking for the most affordable and cheapest states in the US to live in. There are many other things to consider when planning for a move, but without a solid budget in mind, you may end up spending more than you should. Ultimately, the cost of living will always be one of the primary factors to consider when choosing where to settle. These ten states mentioned above offer a good mix of affordability and opportunity, so hopefully, you’re able to see where you might call home next. Also check out our article listing the best places to live in the US.

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