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he cost of living varies wildly across the United States.
Average expenses in Brownsville-Harlington, Texas are almost $110,000 less than those in the New York and Jersey City metro area. But the most affordable places to live aren’t just cheap — they also provide residents the opportunity to earn enough money to live.
The Ascent analyzed cost-of-living data from The Council for Community and Economic Research’s Q3 2020 Cost of Living Index (the most recent report available at the time of this writing). The Index measures the cost of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services. We combined this information with expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and income figures from the U.S. Census Bureau for over 200 cities to create this ranking.
Editor’s note: We’ve also included a list of professions that are overrepresented in these areas compared to other cities as well as unemployment figures — use these to get an idea of which types of jobs might be most available in each area and how the job market is currently performing. We’ve also pointed out the median property value in each city in case you’re thinking about moving there and need to plan your new mortgage.
These are the 10 most affordable cities in the United States, as determined by the ratio of median income to estimated cost of living.
The higher this ratio, the lower expenses are relative to income and the more money a resident with average income and expenses would be left with after covering the basics.