America’s 10 Most Affordable Cities: Quick Stats

Written By
G. Dautovic
May 26,2021

Huge coastal cities like New York and San Francisco have always been known for their high cost of living. The gap between these metropolitan centers and inner America seems to grow larger every year.

Niche, a company that specializes in researching and compiling data on places to live, has released a list of the US cities with the lowest cost of living. It perfectly illustrates just how wide this gap has become.

The company focused on eight factors:

  • median property taxes
  • median home values
  • median rent
  • the price of gasoline
  • the price of groceries
  • the ratio of home values to income
  • the ratio of median rent to income
  • the ratio of monthly housing cost to income

Statistics used in the research were primarily obtained from the US Census Bureau.

The study reveals that all of the cities with the lowest costs of living come from two regions - the south and the midwest. Here are the cities that earned the top 10 spots.

10. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Most Sioux Falls residents are homeowners. They tend to lean conservative politically. The public schools are highly rated and the city has a lot of bars, coffee shops, and parks.

Population: 170,401Median rent: $771Median home value: $168,600Renters: 39%Homeowners: 61%

9. Brownsville, Texas

Located in Cameron County, Brownsville is a suburban city with plenty of parks. Residents tend to be liberal. The public schools in Brownsville are above average.

Population: 182,083Median rent: $681Median home value: $85,900Renters: 38%Homeowners: 62%

8. Dayton, Ohio

Dayton has a suburban feel with plenty of coffee shops and parks. Homeowners and renters are pretty evenly split. Politically, the city leans liberal.

Population: 140,939Median rent: $653Median home value: $66,500Renters: 52%Homeowners: 48%

7. Wichita Falls, Texas

Located in Wichita County, the city of Wichita Falls is one of the best places to live in Texas. The city’s public schools are above average. Most residents are homeowners. The city is politically conservative.

Population: 104,621Median rent: $763Median home value: $96,700Renters: 43%Homeowners: 57%

6. Akron, Ohio

Located in Summit County, Akron offers residents a suburban feel. The city rates highly for its nightlife and diversity, and it has plenty of bars, coffee shops, and parks. There are many young families and young professionals living in Akron, and residents tend to lean toward the liberal side of the political spectrum.

Population: 198,252Median rent: $713Median home value: $80,100Renters: 49%Homeowners: 51%

5. Topeka, Kansas

Shawnee County is home to Topeka, a city with above-average public schools and residents with moderate political views. Living in Topeka offers residents a suburban feel, and most residents own their homes.

Population: 127,139Median rent: $751Median home value: $100,400Renters: 43%Homeowners: 57%

4. Evansville, Indiana

Evansville combines an extremely low cost of living with a suburban lifestyle that includes plenty of parks. The public schools are rated above average, and residents tend to lean conservative.

Population: 119,806Median rent: $738Median home value: $89,700Renters: 45%Homeowners: 55%

3. Toledo, Ohio

Toledo is located in Lucas County. It has plenty of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. The city rates high for nightlife and diversity, while the residents tend to lean liberal.

Population: 279,455Median rent: $677Median home value: $78,600Renters: 48%Homeowners: 52%

2. South Bend, Indiana

Located in St. Joseph County, South Bend is a suburban-type city with residents who tend to lean liberal. South Bend rates high for its nightlife, and it has plenty of restaurants and parks.

Population: 101,928Median rent: $741Median home value: $81,100Renters: 43%Homeowners: 57%

1. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Wayne is located in Allen County. It tops the list of the best places to live in Indiana. There are many families and young professionals living in the city, and the public schools are above average. Most residents are homeowners. Politically, residents lean conservative.

Population: 262,450Median rent: $708Median home value: $106,500Renters: 38%Homeowners: 62%

Bottom Line

Niche’s data demonstrates that there are still plenty of hidden spots in America where young people and families can lead a good life affordably. And with the ongoing mass exodus from high-cost coastal areas toward the south and the heartland, it is becoming much easier to thrive professionally in smaller cities like these, where living costs are much lower.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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