Top 5 Cheapest States to Live in The United States

A farm in Georgia

High living costs and housing expenses have become a significant problem for many people across the nation. Due to their low income and transportation requirements, they find themselves unable to afford necessities. For this reason, they will benefit from discovering the cheapest states to live in the United States.

The overall economy in America causes trouble for people who want to become homeowners or rent properties at a price that fits their budgets. Inflation in this country has also increased the cost of groceries, utilities, and other basics, while salaries have remained the same.

If you are considering relocating to a place with lower living and housing costs, you may also wonder what’s the cheapest state to live in the United States. We will uncover that today based on a few determining factors that many may find intriguing.

The most important one we will focus on is the living cost index score. It determines the average expenses residents of each state on this list have and gives them scores below 100, indicating they have low living costs.

1. Mississippi: A Budget-Friendly Land to Put Down Roots

Mississippi is the least expensive state to live in America based on its low living and housing costs. However, this state’s education system and safety are not impressive, which is why people may prioritize choosing a smaller and safer city when relocating here.

  • Living Costs: This state has the cheapest cost of living in the US, reaching slightly over 83 index score. It is 14% below the national average, allowing residents to afford utilities, healthcare, and transportation costs more easily. The most affordable cities in this state are Jackson and Greenville. The most expensive living costs are experienced by residents of Long Beach and Oxford.
  • Housing Availability: Housing expenses are more than 30% lower than the US average, which makes this state the most inviting for people who want to situate their families in nice properties with big backyards while enjoying the southern weather.
  • Average Salaries: Mississippi’s lower cost of living may attract more people to relocate here. However, they must remember that low living costs often equal lower average salaries, which is also the case for this state.
  • Location: Mississippi is a state located in the southern part of the United States. This location gives residents increased access to goods, and the nearby Gulf and highways ease the shipping process, which in turn lowers their transportation expenses.

Mississippi River

2. Kansas: Attractive Living Costs and Housing Affordability

Kansas is one of the most affordable states to live in America that has a good economy and plenty of employment opportunities for young professionals who care about their future. However, this state’s residents often face the dangers of natural disasters like tornadoes and droughts.

  • Living Costs: With an index score of 86.5, Kansas’s residents enjoy affordable living costs and low taxes they are required to pay every month for property or sales purposes.
  • Housing Availability: The median house cost in this state reaches nearly $176,900, which is over 30% lower than the national average. Northern Kansas City is the most affordable housing area in this state, while Mission Hills has the most expensive homes.
  • Average Salaries: This state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in America. It is only 2.9%, and employees earn around $22 per hour, summing the average salary in Kansas to approximately $46,400 per year.
  • Location: Kansas’s flat land makes housing expenses cheaper than in hilly states like West Virginia and Kentucky. Thus, this state is ideal for newcomers who want to purchase a property and make it their new home.

3. Alabama: A State Offering Value for an Affordable Price

Although Alabama can’t pride itself on providing exceptional healthcare, residents constantly soak in the southern charm and rich history and enjoy spending time on the beautiful beaches. This state also offers picturesque landscapes but struggles with extreme weather conditions and strict alcohol consumption and purchasing laws.

  • Living Costs: Alabama’s 87.9 living cost index score makes it perfect for people looking to relocate to one of the cheapest states to live in America. Birmingham suburbs and cities like Gadsden and Montgomery have the lowest living costs in the state.
  • Housing Availability: This state’s housing costs are almost 30% lower than the US average, and the median house price is around $170,000. However, due to the warm weather, homeowners in this state often encounter pest infestations on their properties. Also, Springville and Meridianville have the most expensive housing in this area.
  • Average Salaries: Like Kansas, Alabama’s unemployment rate is only 2.9%, which means that most residents are satisfied with the employment opportunities this state offers and earn somewhere near $25 per hour.
  • Location: Alabama’s southern location and close proximity to the Gulf Coast give it an advantage when it comes to affordability. This factor makes transportation costs lower for all residents.

Gulf Shores in Alabama

4. Oklahoma: A Residential Haven of Cost-Effectiveness

Oklahoma is the fourth least expensive state to live in the United States, thanks to its affordable healthcare, housing, and groceries. However, unlike other states on this list, Oklahoma doesn’t offer the most beautiful landscapes and well-developed education system.

  • Living Costs: This state’s overall living cost index score is nearly 88, and expenses for basic household necessities are 5.5% below the national average. Nicoma Park is the suburb with the lowest living costs in Oklahoma, while Ada residents have the highest living costs.
  • Housing Availability: People aiming to relocate to new states often look for lower housing expenses than the US average. Oklahoma’s housing is more than 25% below it, and the median cost of a home in this state is approximately $151,470.
  • Average Salaries: Unfortunately, the poverty rate in this state is high due to low salaries and a lack of high-paying employment opportunities. However, people working for businesses in Oklahoma can earn a $29.50 hourly wage and live comfortably by providing their families with everything they need.
  • Location: Despite frequent tornadoes in this area, Oklahoma offers its residents the opportunity to experience the weather of four different seasons, positively impacting physical and mental health. But what makes its location even more inviting is the flat land, making houses more affordable.

5. Georgia: A Bargain-Focused American State

As one of the cheapest states to live in the US, Georgia doesn’t make it challenging for residents to cover transportation and utility expenses. This state also offers numerous opportunities for having fun and finding a high-paying job for a reputable business nearby.

  • Living Costs: With an index score of 88.8, the state of Georgia has a 10% lower living cost than the United States average. Thanks to affordable groceries and 9.5% cheaper utility costs, a family of four can comfortably reside in this state.
  • Housing Availability: The median price for a house in this state is around $246,270, which is 25.6% below the national average. Since Georgia State University is located in this area, students can also find renting options for affordable prices. The town of Americus in Georgia has the most affordable pricing, while the Sandy Springs’ houses are the most costly in this state.
  • Average Salaries: The unemployment rate in Georgia is slightly higher than other states on this list. It has increased to 3.2% but still remains below the US average. The average salary in this state is approximately $48,750 on a yearly basis.
  • Location: The transportation expenses in this state are very low thanks to its easy access to metropolis areas such as Atlanta and Savannah, where residents usually travel for work, studying, or shopping needs.

A farm in Georgia

Final Verdict

All states on this list have low living costs, affordable housing, substantial average salaries, and a good location that offers accessibility and lower transportation expenses. We created a graph showing exactly how the living cost affordability of these states has an advantage over more expensive ones:

cheapest states graph

However, people willing to relocate to new states must remember that the cheapest states to live in the United States are not the most well-developed, education-centered, and safety-focused areas.

Considering these factors is crucial for families planning to raise children in one of these states and aiming to give them a chance to create a prosperous future for themselves. Most of the above-mentioned states offer people a chance to spend their budget wisely and still have a good quality of life, except for some with high poverty and crime rates.