Top 7 Cheapest places to live in the US with the Best quality of life – 2024

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 U.S. 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. To help you compare, we listed the top 7 cheapest places to live in the U.S. with the best quality of life in 2024.

Cheapest Places to live in the United States with the best quality of life

Methodology

We based our ranking of the cheapest cities to live in the US on the prices of housing and renting. Affordability comes from Rockethomes’ median property buying cost in December 2023 and Zillow’s median rent for all bedrooms in January 2024.

The “best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, public transportation, the environment (cleanliness), as well as the availability of recreational facilities and parks.

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Cheapest places to live in the US

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1. Wausau, Wisconsin

1. Wausau, Wisconsin -Top 7 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. with the Best Quality of Life – 2024
  • Population: 39,833
  • Median property buying cost: $179,900
  • Median cost of rent: $925

Wausau has a perfect city-country balance, with 39,833 residents who enjoy 337 acres of city parks. This makes it one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S., with a median property buying cost of $179,900 as of December 2023, and a median rent cost of $925 as of January 2024. Wausau’s affordability compared to larger metro areas is a significant advantage for families considering a move. 

Home and rent prices in this area are favorable when compared to those in the East Coast or larger metropolitan areas. Wausau’s strategic location presents abundant employment opportunities, attracting major employers like Toyota North America, T-Mobile, and Conifer Health Solutions, and making the city an affordable place to live due to This diversity spans the technology, telecommunications, healthcare, and education sectors, providing a range of job prospects.

US Census (2022),Rockethomes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Jan 2024)

Wausau, Wisconsin

2. Midland, Michigan

2. Midland, Michigan - Top 7 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. with the Best Quality of Life – 2024
  • Population: 42,512
  • Median property buying cost: $213,333
  • Median cost of rent: $1,222

Midland is situated near Dow Gardens and the Chippewa Nature Center, an ideal city for nature enthusiasts, offering an artsy vibe with mid-century modern architecture and America’s longest canopy walk. As part of the larger Saginaw-Midland-Bay City Combined Statistical Area, it stands out as an affordable living option with a median property buying cost of $213,333 as of December 2023 and a median rent cost of $1,222 as of January 2024. 

This affordability, coupled with its technological prominence, makes Midland advantageous for families and those considering a move. As the global headquarters of Fortune 500 companies Dow Chemical and Dow Corning Corporation, along with hosting the largest gas-fueled, steam recovery cogeneration facility in North America, Midland embodies a unique blend of nature and industry.

US Census (2022), Rockethomes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Jan 2024)

Midland, Michigan

3. Glens Falls, New York

3. Glens Falls, New York - Top 7 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. with the Best Quality of Life – 2024
  • Population: 14,603
  • Median property buying cost: $220,500
  • Median cost of rent: $1,400

Glens Falls, situated on the border of Adirondack Park, offers an ideal location just three hours north of New York City and south of Montreal. The downtown area is the heart of this walkable city, boasting shopping, entertainment, numerous restaurants, and a thriving business district. Despite being recognized as the Arts & Entertainment Gateway to the Adirondacks, Glens Falls maintains its affordability, with a median property buying cost of $220,500 and a median rent cost of $1,400 as of December 2023 and January 2024, respectively. 

Families and residents can enjoy the downtown’s charm, featuring City Park, a green space with a gazebo, benches, and year-round activities. The city’s diverse arts scene includes local artists, live music in restaurants, galleries, and The Hyde Collection Art Museum, showcasing ancient and modern masterpieces, making Glens Falls an appealing choice for those seeking an affordable yet history rich community.

US Census (2022), Rockethomes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Jan 2024)

Glens Falls, New York

4. Lynchburg, Virginia

4. Lynchburg, Virginia - Top 7 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. with the Best Quality of Life – 2024
  • Population: 79,287
  • Median property buying cost: $255,028
  • Median cost of rent: $1,449

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the James River, Lynchburg, known as the “City of Seven Hills,” stands out for its affordability, with a median property buying cost of $255,028 and a median rent cost of $1,449 as of December 2023 and January 2024, respectively. Beyond its cost-effectiveness, Lynchburg offers cultural and educational advantages, including the Legacy Museum, which explores African-American history, and Amazement Square, an interactive children’s museum.

Locals, especially those who want to raise their families here, can benefit from Lynchburg’s top-notch school system, recognized for its innovative partner’s education program. With five public and private colleges and universities, Lynchburg proves to be a good option and an affordable destination for families seeking a rich educational and cultural environment.

US Census (2022), Rockethomes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Jan 2024)

Lynchburg, Virginia

5. Omaha, Nebraska

5. Omaha, Nebraska - Top 7 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. with the Best Quality of Life – 2024
  • Population: 485,153
  • Median property buying cost: $275,000
  • Median cost of rent: $1,303

Omaha, Nebraska, the most populous city with a population of 485,153, stands out for its affordable cost of living, boasting a median property buying cost of $275,000 and a median rent cost of $1,303 as of December 2023 and January 2024, respectively. Beyond its affordability, Omaha has the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, renowned for pioneering history, museums, and cultural centers. The city is home to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, a hub for conservation efforts featuring a big cat complex and diverse indoor habitats. 

Not only is Omaha known for its housing affordability, but the overall cost of living is also below the national average, according to US News and World Report, making it an ideal place for families seeking an affordable and culturally rich lifestyle.

 US Census (2022), Rockethomes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Jan 2024)

Omaha, Nebraska

6. Hickory, North Carolina

6. Hickory, North Carolina Top 7 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. with the Best Quality of Life – 2024
  • Population: 44,084
  • Median property buying cost: $280,000
  • Median cost of rent: $1,195

Located between Charlotte and Asheville, Hickory has a southern charm with a population of 44,084. It is known for its furniture shopping and versatile convention center. Hickory maintains affordability in housing and rental costs, with a median property buying cost of $280,000 and a median rent cost of $1,195 as of December 2023 and January 2024, respectively.

Families considering a move benefit from the abundance of family-friendly activities, such as the Catawba Science Center, a 35,000-square-foot science and technology hub featuring hands-on exhibits and a digital planetarium. Locals mention that Hickory stands out as a well-equipped city with amenities like shopping and healthcare, all while avoiding the crime and traffic associated with larger cities like Charlotte, making it an ideal place to live.

US Census (2022), Rockethomes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Jan 2024)

Hickory, North Carolina

7. Elizabethtown, Kentucky

7. Elizabethtown, Kentucky - Top 7 Cheapest Places to Live in the U.S. with the Best Quality of Life – 2024
  • Population: 31,892
  • Median property buying cost: $295,000
  • Median cost of rent: $1,600

Elizabethtown, Kentucky, is a good choice for families seeking an affordable and adventure-filled lifestyle. Making it onto the list of the cheapest places to live in the US, Elizabethtown offers a median property buying cost of $295,000 and a median rent cost of $1,600 as of December 2023 and January 2024, respectively. Beyond affordability, locals appreciate the diverse climate, featuring hot summers and mild winters, and the city’s recognition as Kentucky’s first self-declared Urban Trail Town. With ample public green spaces, hiking, and biking trails, Elizabethtown caters to outdoor enthusiasts.

Known as the “Hub City” due to its strategic highway connections, the city ensures convenient transportation. Families and those seeking adventure can indulge in various activities, from exploring classic cars at Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum to enjoying the serene Freeman Lake Park and other local attractions.

US Census (2022), Rockethomes (Dec 2023) & Zillow (Jan 2024)

Elizabethtown, Kentucky

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Conclusion

These affordable cities across the United States offer more than just budget-friendly living; they provide community amenities and a high quality of life. From the scenic landscapes of Wausau, the cultural richness of Glens Falls, the artsy vibe of Midland, to the southern charm of Hickory and Elizabethtown, each location offers unique advantages for families and individuals seeking an affordable yet fulfilling lifestyle. 

Whether it’s the affordability of Omaha, the small-town vibe of Pearland, or the historical charm of Lynchburg, these cities present compelling choices for those aiming to balance their budgets without compromising on the richness of their daily lives.

Are you planning on moving to the US, soon? Check out the best long-distance moving companies in the US!

 

Last year’s ranking (2023)

  1. Wausau, Wisconsin
  2. Midland, Michigan
  3. Lynchburg, Virginia
  4. Elizabethtown, Kentucky
  5. Portland, Maine
  6. Logan, Utah
  7. Wenatchee, Washington
  8. Glens Falls, New York
  9. Holtville, California
  10. State College, Pennsylvania

 

Our rankings are meticulously curated, considering affordability and quality of life. It’s important to highlight that certain places were excluded from last year’s lists due to insufficient rental data. Moreover, entries with higher average housing prices in the previous year were excluded from the current rankings. We encourage readers to weigh these rankings in light of their individual needs and preferences for a more informed decision-making process.

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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