The Most Affordable Cities in America
When it comes to city living, the price varies greatly from state to state. While coastal meccas New York and San Francisco continue to offer up sky-high rents, Forbes's list of America’s most affordable cities is serving up some handsome alternatives, with the magazine measuring overall cost of living based on housing, food, utilities, gas, transportation, medical, and daily expenses. If you dream of bigger, better living quarters, cleaner air, or just plain more bang for your buck, keep scrolling!
Whether you’re looking to take in some live jazz or indulge in a day hike through the trails at Ruffner Mountain, family-friendly Birmingham is rife with options. Steeped in good old-fashioned Southern hospitality, the cultural scene offers up killer fine dining and rich history galore.
Median Family Income: $61,000
Median Home Price: $130,000
Cost Below (or Above) National Average: Groceries: 5.4%; Utilities: (3.5%); Transportation: 13.2%; Health: 16.6%; Misc.: 2.6%
Domaine Pick: Ore Drink and Dine
Located in East Tennessee, the fast-growing Knoxville is situated at the scenic foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The state's third largest city plays host to the University of Tennesee and a slew of corporate headquarters, granting it a vibrant youth culture and healthy job market.
Median Family Income: $60,500
Median Home Price: $145,600
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 11.2%; Utilities: 7.7%; Transportation: 14.7%; Health: 7.7%; Misc.: 8.0%
Domaine Pick: Just Ripe
The western New York town, flanked by Lake Eerie, is about as pocket-book-friendly as the east coast gets. While it's also known for dense, snowy winters, Buffalo boasts the sunniest summers of any northeastern city. In typical New York fashion, the culture is a true melting pot of influences, lending great eats and eclectic events citywide.
Median Family Income: $63,900
Median Home Price: $118,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 7.1%; Utilities: (7.1)%; Transportation: (2.4)%; Health: 11.8%; Misc.: 10.7%
Domaine Pick: Hotel Lafayette
The capital and largest city in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City lives up to its nickname "The Big Friendly." Luckily, the warm southern hospitality and vibrant culture is robust enough to offset the at-times extreme climate, which includes uber-humid summers and an active severe weather season.
Median Family Income: $61,400
Median Home Price: $139,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 10.1%; Utilities: 10.1%; Transportation: 2.1%; Health: 6.0%; Misc.: 7.7%
Domaine Pick: Café Do Brasil
Sportsmen will dig the vibe of this southwestern Ohio metropolis. Home to two major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals, there is a steady stream of team pride to indulge in year-round. The midwest town also has a bold reputation for chili, with more chili restaurants per capita than any other city in the world. Foodies rejoice.
Median Family Income: $68,500
Median Home Price: $133,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 4.6%; Utilities: 5.9%; Transportation: (0.2)%; Health: 0.3%; Misc.: 7.2%
Domaine Pick: Boca
The "youngest" of Tennessee's major cities is known for a strong music culture. Elvis's infamous roost, Graceland, is a must for any visit. The Mississippi River acts as the western border of Memphis, lending a lush riverwalk park system. Climate wise, expect four distinct seasons and the occasional dramatic temperature shift.
Median Family Income: $56,700
Median Home Price: $140,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 8.3%; Utilities: 12.9%; Transportation: 9.7%; Health: 5.0%; Misc.: 10.3%
Domaine Pick: Graceland
Named after King Louis IX of France, the midwest town and port city, nicknamed The Gateway to the West, was historically a last stop for early pioneers en route to the Pacific. Nowadays, it is home to the regional offices of several major companies, fom AT&T to Bank of America. The largest metropolitan area in the state, it is full of distinctive culture.
Median Family Income: $67,100
Median Home Price: $140,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 2.2%; Utilities: 9%; Transportation: 1.2%; Health: 0.9%; Misc.: 4.1%
Domaine Pick: Gateway Arch
The birthplace of aviation, Dayton boasts a number of museums, art galleries, and theaters, including the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. In fact, "The Gem City" is ranked second in the country for arts destination. Dayton is knnown for its hot summers and cold, dry winters, and the economy is largely dominated by healthcare, aerospace, and defense accounts.
Median Family Income: $60,200
Median Home Price: $104,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 6.4%; Utilities: 7.6%; Transportation: 1.7%; Health: 11.8%; Misc.: 1.5%
Domaine Pick: Dayton Art Institute
As the state capital and largest city in Indiana, Indianapolis has a reputation for its diverse polulation and robust job market. Home to two major sports teams, the Colts and the Pacers, as well as a major center for autoracing, its a destination in its own right for sports-lovers.
Median Family Income: $64,300
Median Home Price: $134,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 5.5%; Utilities: 4.8%; Transportation: 0.9%; Health: 3.6%; Misc.: 2.2%
Domaine Pick: The Alexander Hotel
Ohio capital city Columbus holds a strong and diverse economy, rife with career opportunities in everything from fashion to banking and technology. Home to many prestigious art institutions, as well as a range of museums, galleries, and concert venues, the largest city in Ohio is never short on entertainment. It's also the home turf of the Ohio State Bukeyes, one of the best collegiate football teams in the nation.
Median Family Income: $70,000
Median Home Price: $167,000
Cost Below National Average: Groceries: 8.1%; Utilities: 3.7%; Transportation: 1.4%; Health: 2.2%; Misc.: 10.2%
Domaine Pick: Le Meridien Columbus
Would you move to a more affordable city based on cost of living alone? Tell us in the comments below.