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Most Affordable Cities to Live in 2024

Moving to a new city in 2024? With low costs of living, budget-friendly-housing, growing job markets, and great amenities, these are the 15 most affordable places to live in the U.S.

Akron, OH

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  • Population: 197,375
  • Home Price: $83,500 median purchase price; $795 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $40,281
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
  • Cost of Living: 17% below the national average

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, consider settling down in Akron, the Rubber Capital of the World. This mid-sized industrial city offers an excellent job market and incredibly affordable housing, with costs that are 48% below the national average. Known as the “City of Invention,” Akron’s key industries include healthcare, manufacturing, utilities, and distribution. Browse open positions at top employers such as Summa Health, Goodyear, and FirstEnergy Corp. You’ll also find plenty of things to do in Akron—whether it’s touring the estate and gardens at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, exploring the extensive art collection at the Akron Art Museum, or spending time outdoors at Lock 3 Park or Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Buffalo, NY

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  • Population: 255,801
  • Home Price: $101,000 median purchase price; $801 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $39,677
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
  • Cost of Living: 18% below the national average

Living in New York doesn’t have to be expensive—Buffalo offers affordable living in Upstate New York that’s 34% lower than the state average. With significant savings on housing and healthcare in particular, it’s no wonder why Nickel City is one of the most affordable cities in America! Furthermore, Buffalo’s strong housing market makes it one of the best cities for real estate. Add to that a growing job market with top employers like M&T Bank, Kaleida Health, and venue management company Delaware North, and Buffalo’s appeal is clear. The city also boasts a diverse food scene, popular attractions like the Buffalo Zoo and the Buffalo Museum of Science, and close proximity to the breathtaking views at Niagara Falls.

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Des Moines, IA

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  • Population: 215,408
  • Home Price: $141,300 median purchase price; $881 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $54,843
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
  • Cost of Living: 14% below the national average

Looking for a great place to live in the Midwest? Consider Des Moines! Not only is this state capital one of the best mid-size cities in the U.S., but the whole state of Iowa is among the most affordable states to live in! Des Moines’ low cost of living extends to housing, utilities, transportation, and grocery costs. Additionally, the cost of housing is 23% lower than the national average. For those looking to grow their career opportunities, the city also provides plenty of higher education options at Drake University and Grand View University. In addition, the city is home to the Iowa State Fair—one of the largest state fairs in the U.S.—and the Downtown Farmers Market, one of the best farmers markets in the state!

Fort Wayne, IN

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  • Population: 268,378
  • Home Price: $121,600 median purchase price; $777 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $51,454
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
  • Cost of Living: 14% below the national average

One of the best places to live in the Midwest, Fort Wayne pairs livable wages with a cost of living 39% lower than the national average, making it a great place to get the most out of your salary. This Indiana city also features a strong economy and a job market that’s on the rise, with a 38.6% increase in jobs predicted over the next ten years. Along with healthcare and insurance, manufacturing is one of the biggest industries of Fort Wayne, as the city is home to companies like Fortune 500 steel producer Steel Dynamics and big-name energy company Franklin Electric. This hidden gem of a city isn’t short on things to do, either—thanks to great Fort Wayne attractions like the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo!

Green Bay, WI

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  • Population: 104,508
  • Home Price: $142,000 median purchase price; $768 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $52,214
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
  • Cost of Living: 13% below the national average

Looking to move to a booming Midwestern city? Consider living in Green Bay! Located near the coast of Lake Michigan, Green Bay offers plenty of green space and is home to several outdoor recreation spots like the Fox River State Trail, Baird Creek Greenway, Mountain-Bay State Trail, and golf course Thornberry Creek at Oneida. Green Bay’s cost of living is 13% lower than the national average, with the biggest savings on housing costs, making it an affordable U.S. city to call home. The top job industries in the area include manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, and finance. Residents can find their careers at top employers like PCMC, Bellin Health, Schreiber, and Associated Bank. There are also several fun things to do in Green Bay, like cheering on the Green Bay Packers (NFL) at Lambeau Field—or visiting attractions like the Green Bay Botanical Garden, Bay Beach Amusement Park, and the National Railroad Museum.

Hickory, NC

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  • Population: 41,067
  • Home Price: $189,100 median purchase price; $771 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $48,653
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
  • Cost of Living: 5% below the national average

Located just northwest of Charlotte near the Blue Ridge Mountains is Hickory, one of the most affordable U.S. cities to live in this year! Hickory’s housing costs are 19% lower than the national average—and residents save on utilities, groceries, and transportation, as well. Hickory also has a strong job market with a projected growth of 38.7% over the next ten years, which is about 5% higher than the national average. The city’s top employers include HSM, CommScope, Century Furniture, and MDI. This small North Carolina city is also home to several parks, bike trails, restaurants, breweries, local shops, and fun downtown events like the Downtown Farmer’s Market. Plus, residents can find plenty of things to do—like kayaking at the Catawba River or Lake Hickory, touring the Hickory Museum of Art or Hickory Aviation Museum, or watching the Hickory Crawdads (MiLB) play at LP Frans Stadium.

Huntsville, AL

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  • Population: 199,845
  • Home Price: $184,500 median purchase price; $868 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $56,758
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
  • Cost of Living: 5% below the national average

Not only is Huntsville one of the best places to live in the Southeast, but the city has also been nationally ranked for its affordability. While the city’s cost of living is slightly above Alabama’s state average, it’s still significantly lower than most U.S. metros thanks to its affordable housing, transportation, and healthcare. Job seekers can find opportunities with big-name companies like Huntsville Hospital, nou Systems, Inc., and MSSI, Inc. Rocket City also offers plenty to see and do, including the U.S. Space & Rocket Center—which commemorates missions that were operated right out of Huntsville—and the Huntsville Botanical Garden, which features wetlands, forests, and beautiful foliage. There’s also a variety of other popular Huntsville attractions like the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum, the North Alabama Railroad Museum, and the Huntsville Museum of Art.

Kansas City, MO

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  • Population: 491,158
  • Home Price: $163,300 median purchase price; $979 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $56,179
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
  • Cost of Living: 12% below the national average

Kansas City is a fast-growing Midwest city that’s great for anyone looking for safe, affordable neighborhoods and a growing job market. KC’s low cost of living is most noticeable in the categories of housing, healthcare, transportation, and groceries. Plus, residents can find great job opportunities with major employers like Children’s Mercy Hospital, Oracle Cerner, and Honeywell. And singles and young professionals looking to live in an affordable city don’t have to sacrifice fun in KCMO! With pro sports events featuring the Kansas City Royals (MLB) and Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), a well-known craft beer scene, and tons of nightlife within the Power & Light District, there’s always fun to be had! Plus, you can enjoy mouth-watering barbecue at 100+ restaurants in Kansas City—the BBQ capital of the world.

Knoxville, TN

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  • Population: 187,487
  • Home Price: $142,700 median purchase price; $883 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $41,598
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
  • Cost of Living: 16% below the national average

Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains and situated alongside the Tennessee River, Knoxville provides locals with excellent job opportunities, affordable homes, and plenty of family-friendly activities. With housing costs 30% lower than the national average and no state income tax, Marble City is an excellent place to settle down—and also a great place to retire! Residents can find open positions in Knoxville with big employers like Regal Cinemas, TeamHealth, and HGTV. Finally, not only is this Tennessee city home to Zoo Knoxville and the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, but it also hosts Big Ears Festival—a four-day music festival known for featuring artists of all genres.

Memphis, TN

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  • Population: 650,910
  • Home Price: $107,100 median purchase price; $915 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $41,864
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
  • Cost of Living: 18% below the national average

Searching for an affordable place to live in the U.S. that also offers excellent culture? Memphis is a great option! This second-largest city in Tennessee has a cost of living 18% lower than the Tennessee average and 38% lower than the national average—making it one of the most affordable cities to live in 2024. Memphis also offers job opportunities with major employers like FedEx, AutoZone, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and soul music is an especially great home for music enthusiasts, with Elvis’ Graceland and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music being some of the top Memphis attractions. You’ll also find popular spots like the Memphis Zoo and Shelby Farms Park.

Oklahoma City, OK

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  • Population: 649,821
  • Home Price: $161,800 median purchase price; $884 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $56,456
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
  • Cost of Living: 14% below the national average

Oklahoma City is a great place to live thanks in part to its strong job market, family-friendly activities, and low cost of living—particularly with its budget-friendly housing costs sitting at 21% below the national average. The city is a major destination for those working in the manufacturing and energy industries, as Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Devon Energy Corporation are among the area’s top employers. Additionally, there are plenty of things to do in OKC—like roller-skating on the Sky Rink in Scissortail Park, visiting the Will Rogers Gardens or the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and catching a show at the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma.

Omaha, NE

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  • Population: 479,529
  • Home Price: $167,800 median purchase price; $948 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $62,213
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
  • Cost of Living: 9% below the national average

Thinking about calling Omaha home? Nebraska’s largest city is one of the best cities for families, thanks to its great schools, family-friendly fun, and affordable homes! In fact, the cost of housing is 21% lower than the national average. Plus, business is booming, with Fortune 500 companies like Union Pacific, Kiewit, Mutual of Omaha, and Berkshire Hathaway headquartered in the area. There are also plenty of educational opportunities at higher learning institutions like Creighton University, the University of Nebraska Omaha, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. And Omaha has tons of attractions for people of all ages to enjoy—like the world-famous Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and the annual College World Series held at Charles Schwab Field!

San Antonio, TX

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  • Population: 1,529,133
  • Home Price: $156,700 median purchase price; $1,025 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $53,420
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
  • Cost of Living: 10% below the national average

A big population doesn’t have to mean a big price tag—at least not in San Antonio! This Texas city is one of the biggest cities in the U.S. and the most populated city on our list, but it’s an ideal spot to settle down and buy a home thanks to its low cost of living. Residents will particularly find savings in the categories of transportation, utilities, groceries, and housing. While the city has a strong military sector with the presence of Joint Base San Antonio, River City also offers jobs in industries like aerospace, healthcare and bioscience, IT and cybersecurity, and new energy. And if you’re looking for fun things to do in San Antonio, there’s no shortage. Local favorites include the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, The Alamo, Historic Market Square, and river parades at the San Antonio River Walk!

Tulsa, OK

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  • Population: 402,441
  • Home Price: $143,400 median purchase price; $839 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $49,474
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
  • Cost of Living: 12% below the national average

Sitting right in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains is Tulsa, the second-largest city in Oklahoma. Long known as a hub for the oil industry, T-Town now offers job opportunities in a variety of industries—with QuikTrip, Helmerich & Payne, and Saint Francis Health System all among the biggest employers in Tulsa. Costs in Tulsa for transportation, healthcare, utilities, and groceries are all relatively low. Plus, in addition to being one of the most affordable places to live in America, Tulsa is paying qualified workers up to $10,000 to move and work remotely in the city with the Tulsa Remote program. The city is also home to popular attractions such as the beautiful Deco District and Blue Dome District, the Gathering Place, and the Tulsa Zoo—as well as events like the Tulsa Mayfest arts festival.

Wichita, KS

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  • Population: 390,566
  • Home Price: $138,100 median purchase price; $821 median monthly rent
  • Median Household Income: $53,466
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
  • Cost of Living: 10% below the national average

Considering living in the Midwest? Check out Wichita, which has plenty of job opportunities, loads of amenities, and housing costs 31% lower than the national average—making it one of the most affordable cities in the U.S. Those seeking employment opportunities in the aviation, manufacturing, and military sectors can find them in the Air Capital of The World at major employers like Textron Aviation, the McConnell Air Force Base, and Spirit AeroSystems. Residents can experience a wide range of Wichita attractions, including the Mid-America All-Indian Museum and Keeper of the Plains statue in Downtown Wichita, live science shows at Exploration Place, and Botanica, The Wichita Gardens.

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.