The Cheapest States To Live in the US

With many companies embracing remote work even in the post-pandemic era, more and more Americans have the option to reconsider where they live.

According to the Future Workforce Report, by 2025, 36.2 million Americans are expected to work remotely, almost double the pre-pandemic amount. Traditionally, people were forced to live within a reasonable commute of their workplace, but without that limitation, Americans are free to relocate based on other factors.

One of the many considerations when deciding where to live is cost. There is a big difference in living expenses between the most expensive state and the state with the lowest cost of living. If you want to stretch your dollar further, why not consider some of the cheapest states to live in the US?

How To Compare Cost of Living Between States

Happy family spending good time at the beach together, taking selfie
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot

The cost of living index measures how expensive it is to live in one state relative to another. The average cost of living across the United States is 100. A cost of living index number less than 100 means that a state is less expensive than average, and over 100 means it is more expensive than average.

The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) measures the cost of living index, and it takes many factors into account, including:

  • Food and grocery costs
  • Housing prices
  • Utility costs
  • Transportation costs
  • Healthcare costs

Across the U.S., The cost of living index ranged from a low of 83.3 (17% cheaper than average) to a high of 193.3 (93% more expensive than average).

In addition to the costs of living, median income of a household plays a role in affordability. Similar jobs in different states may pay very differently. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median annual income of a household by state ranged from $45,800 to $92,300. In some cases, it can pay (literally) to take a job in a different state, especially if remote work is not an option in your field.

Finally, while low housing costs are considered in the cost of living index, they can be a significant driver of affordability and an essential factor in determining where you live. Zillow’s home value index tracks the median home price by state and home prices in the most expensive state are more than six times higher than the cheapest state.

The Cheapest States To Live in the US

Indiana State Capitol Building in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Image credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Here is the list of the top ten cheapest states to live in America.

Living in one of the least expensive states will result in a 10-17% lower cost of living than average, allowing you to save more of your hard-earned dollars.

1 Mississippi

A pusher boat in the Mississippi River near the Vicksburg Bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA.
Image Credit: Shutterstock /TLF Images

    Cost of Living Index: 83.3

    Typical Home Value: $158,000

    Median Household Income: $45,800

Mississippi is overall the most affordable and cheapest place to live in the U.S., with a cost of living index of just 83.3, 17% cheaper than the average state. Housing is also very affordable, with a median home value of just $158,000. Mississippi offers a warm climate and beaches on the Gulf Coast. Its largest city is Jackson, with a metropolitan population of just under 600,000.

2 Kansas

Kansas City, Missouri, USA downtown skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 86.5

    Typical Home Value: $195,000

    Median Household Income: $62,100

With a population of just under 3 million, Kansas is an excellent choice for affordable living, coming in 13.5% cheaper than the national average. A relatively high median household income also boosts the average family’s standard of living. Wichita is Kansas’s largest city, with a population of around 650,000.

3 Alabama

mobile alabama skyline
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kevin Ruck

    Cost of Living Index: 87.9

    Typical Home Value: $190,000

    Median Household Income: $51,700

Sitting just east of Mississippi, Alabama is the third cheapest state to live in the overall cost of living, 12% below the national average. The Yellowhammer State ranks 24th in population, and its largest metropolitan area is Greater Birmingham, with over 1.1 million people. Alabama boasts a diverse economy with aerospace, education, health care, manufacturing, and more employers. Overall, Alabama is a great place to call a new home.

4 Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA cityscape in Bricktown at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 87.9

    Typical Home Value: $167,000

    Median Household Income: $54,400

Oklahoma comes in as the 4th cheapest state to live in, just behind Alabama. With affordable housing and a diverse economic landscape, The Sooner State offers many opportunities. Nearly two-thirds of Oklahomans live and work in the Oklahoma City or Tulsa metro areas.

5 Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia, USA downtown skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 88.8

    Typical Home Value: $287,000

    Median Household Income: $62,000

Another southeastern state known for its warm climate, Georgia borders the Atlantic Ocean on its east coast. Home prices in Georgia are significantly higher than some of the other states on the list, thanks to a large majority of its residents residing in more urban areas. The Atlanta metropolitan area is the 9th most populous in the United States, with more than six million residents.

6 Tennessee

Memphis, Tennesse, USA downtown cityscape at dusk over Beale Street.
Image credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 89

    Typical Home Value: $270,000

    Median Household Income: $56,100

Tennessee, another southeastern state, is the sixth most affordable state to live in the U.S. Boasting several well-known cities such as Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, Tennessee’s overall population of 6.9 million ranks 15th in the nation. Tennessee is famous for its influence on country, soul, and gospel music, and the state also has many colleges and universities, including the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University.

7 Missouri

st. louis skysline at at sunset, -st. louis,missouri,usa.
Image Credit: shutterstock/Checubus

    Cost of Living Index: 89.8

    Typical Home Value: $213,000

    Median Household Income: $57,400

Missouri is in the Midwestern region of the U.S., and it comes in at seven on the list of most affordable states. Its cost of living is 10% below the national average while still offering a diverse culture and multiple population centers, including St. Louis and Kansas City.

8 Iowa

Old Capitol building downtown Iowa City
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Suzanne Tucker

    Cost of Living Index: 89.9

    Typical Home Value: $181,000

    Median Household Income: $61,700

While often viewed as an agricultural state, Iowa has a diversified economy across manufacturing, biotechnology, and financial services. The Des Moines metropolitan area is the state’s largest, with an estimated population of 708,000 as of 2020.

9 West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia, USA skyline at twilight.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 90.5

    Typical Home Value: $127,000

    Median Household Income: $48,900

With a cost of living index 9.5% below the national average, West Virginia offers the ninth cheapest place to live in the U.S. Charleston, the state’s capital and largest city, has a metropolitan population of just over 200,000. With many people drawn to its natural beauty, tourism contributes a significant amount to West Virginia’s total GDP.

10 Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline over Monument Circle.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 90.6

    Typical Home Value: $206,000

    Median Household Income: $57,600

Indiana is located in the Midwestern United States and is the tenth least expensive state to live in and offers a reasonable cost of living. Indianapolis anchors its largest metropolitan area with around 2 million residents. Northwest Indiana borders the Great Lakes and is considered part of the Chicago metro area. Indiana has a rich sporting history with a professional football and basketball team and is also known for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Next Most Affordable States To Live

Downtown Grand Rapids Michigan view from the Grand River
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Suzanne Tucker

The next set of top states that are not the most affordable in terms of cost of living, but they are still affordable, and you can save money compared to the national average.

11 Arkansas

little rock arkansas skyline
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Eduardo Medrano

    Cost of Living Index: 90.9

    Typical Home Value: $167,000

    Median Household Income: $49,000

12 New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA downtown cityscape at twilight.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 91

    Typical Home Value: $272,000

    Median Household Income: $51,900

13 Ohio

Columbus, Ohio, USA skyline on the Scioto River.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 91.3

    Typical Home Value: $196,000

    Median Household Income: $58,600

14 Michigan

Downtown Grand Rapids Michigan view from the Grand River
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Suzanne Tucker

    Cost of Living Index: 91.3

    Typical Home Value: $223,000

    Median Household Income: $59,600

15 Texas

Austin, Texas, USA downtown skyline on the Colorado River.
Image credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 92.1

    Typical Home Value: $283,000

    Median Household Income: $64,000

16 Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Kevin Ruck

    Cost of Living Index: 93

    Typical Home Value: $203,000

    Median Household Income: $51,100

17 Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky, USA skyline on the river.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 93.1

    Typical Home Value: $185,000

    Median Household Income: $52,300

18 South Carolina

Myrtle Beach South Carolina Drone Skyline Aerial.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Kevin Ruck

    Cost of Living Index: 93.6

    Typical Home Value: $262,000

    Median Household Income: $49,000

19 Nebraska

omaha downtown
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Esme

    Cost of Living Index: 93.7

    Typical Home Value: $226,000

    Median Household Income: $63,200

20 Illinois

Chicago skyline reflected in Buckingham Fountain. Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Henryk Sadura

    Cost of Living Index: 94.3

    Typical Home Value: $249,000

    Median Household Income: $69,200

21 Wyoming

JACKSON HOLE, WY –1 AUG 2020- View of the Western town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, United States.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/EQRoy

    Cost of Living Index: 94.3

    Typical Home Value: $303,000

    Median Household Income: $65,000

22 North Carolina

Brightleaf Square shopping center near downtown Durham, which includes restuarants and specialty retail shops in renovated tobacco warehouses
Image Credit: Shutterstock / zimmytws

    Cost of Living Index: 95.7

    Typical Home Value: $288,000

    Median Household Income: $57,300

23 Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin, USA state capitol building at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 96.4

    Typical Home Value: $246,000

    Median Household Income: $64,200

24 North Dakota

Sunrise over Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Image Credit: Shutterstock/ZakZeinert

    Cost of Living Index: 98.2

    Typical Home Value: $260,000

    Median Household Income: $64,600

25 Utah

Park City, Utah, USA downtown in autumn at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 99

    Typical Home Value: $530,000

    Median Household Income: $75,800

Higher Than Average Cost of Living States

Aerial View of Sioux Falls, South Dakota at Sunset

While not the most expensive in the country, these states come in above average for the overall cost of living.

26 Minnesota

Minneapolis downtown skyline in Minnesota, USA at sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock/f11photo

    Cost of Living Index: 100

    Typical Home Value: $317,000

    Median Household Income: $74,600

27 Florida

Miami Beach, wonderful aerial view of buildings, river and vegetation.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/pisaphotography

    Cost of Living Index: 100.3

    Typical Home Value: $349,000

    Median Household Income: $59,200

28 Montana

Drone view of the Montana State Capitol, in Helena, on a sunny afternoon with hazy sky caused by wildfires. The Montana State Capitol houses the Montana State Legislature.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Mihai_Andritoiu

    Cost of Living Index: 100.7

    Typical Home Value: $419,000

    Median Household Income: $57,200

29 South Dakota

Aerial View of Sioux Falls, South Dakota at Sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Jacob Boomsma

    Cost of Living Index: 101

    Typical Home Value: $272,000

    Median Household Income: $59,500

30 Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia, USA skyline at twilight.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 101.8

    Typical Home Value: $353,000

    Median Household Income: $76,500

31 Idaho

Boise cityscape at night with traffic light. -Boise,idaho,usa
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Checubus

    Cost of Living Index: 102.1

    Typical Home Value: $459,000

    Median Household Income: $61,000

32 Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA downtown skyline at dusk on the Schuylkill River.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 102.5

    Typical Home Value: $251,000

    Median Household Income: $63,500

33 Arizona

Tucson, Arizona, USA downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 103.2

    Typical Home Value: $408,000

    Median Household Income: $62,100

34 Colorado

Panorama of Denver skyline long exposure at twilight.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/f11photo

    Cost of Living Index: 105.3

    Typical Home Value: $546,000

    Median Household Income: $77,100

35 Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA skyline over the strip at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 106.3

    Typical Home Value: $424,000

    Median Household Income: $63,300

36 Delaware

bridge in delaware
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mihai_Andritoiu

    Cost of Living Index: 107.9

    Typical Home Value: $332,000

    Median Household Income: $70,200

37 New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire, USA Skyline on the Merrimack River.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 109.9

    Typical Home Value: $406,000

    Median Household Income: $77,900

38 Washington

Washington, D.C. skyline with highways and monuments.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 111.6

    Typical Home Value: $583,000

    Median Household Income: $78,700

39 Maine

Portland, Maine, USA downtown skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 115

    Typical Home Value: $336,000

    Median Household Income: $58,900

40 New Jersey

Newark, New Jersey, USA skyline on the Passaic River.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 115.2

    Typical Home Value: $436,000

    Median Household Income: $85,800

41 Vermont

Montpelier, Vermont, USA town skyline.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 117

    Typical Home Value: $331,000

    Median Household Income: $63,000

Most Expensive States To Live

Aerial View of Downtown Fairbanks, Alaska during a stormy Summer Sunset

The ten most expensive states to live in range from 17-93% more expensive than the national average. If you’re looking to stretch your dollar further, these states are probably not the place to be unless you can increase your income to compensate for higher expenses.

42 Rhode Island

People visit downtown Providence. Providence is the capital and most populous city in Rhode Island
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tupungato

    Cost of Living Index: 117.2

    Typical Home Value: $405,000

    Median Household Income: $71,200

43 Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut, USA downtown skyline is one of the cheapest states to live in
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 121.6

    Typical Home Value: $334,000

    Median Household Income: $78,800

44 Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland, USA downtown cityscape at dusk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 124

    Typical Home Value: $385,000

    Median Household Income: $86,700

45 Alaska

Aerial View of Downtown Fairbanks, Alaska during a stormy Summer Sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Jacob Boomsma

    Cost of Living Index: 127.1

    Typical Home Value: $311,000

    Median Household Income: $75,500

46 Oregon

Corvallis is the location of Oregon State University, a large Hewlett-Packard research campus, and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / cpaulfell

    Cost of Living Index: 130.1

    Typical Home Value: $492,000

    Median Household Income: $67,100

47 Massachusetts

Boston skyline in sunny summer day, view from harbor on downtown, Massachusetts, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Travellaggio

    Cost of Living Index: 135

    Typical Home Value: $550,000

    Median Household Income: $85,800

48 California

Sunset aerial view of historic downtown Riverside, California.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Matt Gush

    Cost of Living Index: 142.2

    Typical Home Value: $745,000

    Median Household Income: $80,400

49 New York

The statue of Liberty with World Trade Center background, Landmarks of New York City
Image Credit: Shutterstock/spyarm

    Cost of Living Index: 148.2

    Typical Home Value: $377,000

    Median Household Income: $72,100

50 District of Columbia

Washington, D.C. skyline with highways and monuments.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

    Cost of Living Index: 158.1

    Typical Home Value: $692,000

    Median Household Income: $92,300

51 Hawaii

Skyline of Honolulu, Hawaii and the surrounding area including the hotels and buildings on Waikiki Beach
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Izabela23

    Cost of Living Index: 193.3

    Typical Home Value: $828,000

    Median Household Income: $83,100

Other Factors To Consider for Affordability

Luxurious new construction home in Bellevue, WA. Modern style home boasts two car garage framed by blue siding and natural stone wall trim. Northwest, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Artazum

While low-cost living is a significant part of affordability, the most affordable places to live in depends on many factors. In many cases, some states are more expensive to live in because they offer the opportunity to make more money than in other places. However, if you can work remotely, you may be able to work for a company in an expensive state but live in a place that is much more affordable.

Housing costs also play a role in affordability, and whether you plan to rent or buy can factor into the equation for your specific situation. You need to know many things before buying a house that factor into the overall cost, including property taxes, the age of the home, cost of utilities, and more. The total purchase price is just one part of the equation.

In addition, there are many reasons to move to a particular city besides cost, such as proximity to family and friends, school access, or outdoor activities. If you seek to balance your budget, simply taking on an extra job that pays cash on the side may make more sense than moving across the country. Ultimately, you must weigh your options and determine what location offers you the best quality of life while allowing your dollar to stretch further.

The Cheapest States – How Does Your State Compare?

st. louis skysline at at sunset, -st. louis,missouri,usa.
Image Credit: shutterstock/Checubus

There are many factors to consider when choosing where to live, but based on the cost of living index, the Southeast and Midwest offer many unique and affordable areas to put down roots. With the trend toward remote work, many possibilities open up to relocate and put money back in your pocket.

If you are struggling to make ends meet in a high-cost-of-living state, you may be able to cut your spending by 50% or more just by moving to one of the cheaper states. There has never been a better time in history to consider it.

This post originally appeared on Savoteur.

More From Savoteur

Diverse young couple having romantic date. Cheerful guy and his girlfriend watching a movie, sitting together in car trunk in front of screen in open air cinema.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Traditions are, like every other thing, ephemeral. The inevitability of cultural shifts is constant with the passing of time, and with these changes often come the gradual erosions of binding values that may, sadly, bring back nostalgia for the times we wish we could have again. Come with us down the recollections of the good old days we may only continue to cherish in fond memories.

11 Once-Beloved Long-Term American Traditions That Are All But Gone

The 10 States With The Most Firearm Fatalities: Is Yours The Worst?

Two girls holding a banner with word guns strikethrough. Women holding sign that says not guns at a rally.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Firearm fatalities continue to be a pressing issue in the United States, with certain states bearing the brunt of this tragic problem. Here, we present a list of the ten most dangerous states, highlighting their firearm fatality statistics and shedding light on the contributing factors.

The 10 States With The Most Firearm Fatalities: Is Yours The Worst?

12 Most Dangerous Rivers Across the World To Avoid Dipping Your Toes Into

Young pretty woman in summer holidays at beach with confuse face expression
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

There’s an exciting frenzy in stepping into new waters. Because rivers are a vital part of our ecosystem, they make for some of the best tourist hotspots to refresh and catch up with the lush serenity nature has on offer.

Some rivers, however, are notorious for their treacherous currents, unpredictable rapids, and dangerous wildlife. This guide shows you which rivers you should not dip or swim in when you finally stand before their sprawling waters.

12 Most Dangerous Rivers Across the World To Avoid Dipping Your Toes Into

10 Biggest Culture Shocks Southerners Had Visiting the North in America

Young brunette traveler woman confused, feels doubtful and unsure.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

America is a divided nation — or so it would seem if we are to believe the news media, with their non-stop live reporting on the great social divide. We’ve been there before. In the Civil War, it was North vs. the South; in hip hop, it was the East Coast vs. West Coast divide. However, now it seems to be a rural vs. urban divide. Regardless, some Southerners still find the North a surprise. A recent discussion sheds some light on the matter, with people sharing their biggest surprises about their northern neighbors.

10 Biggest Culture Shocks Southerners Had Visiting the North in America

10 Places People Would Travel if They Had 2 Weeks Anywhere in the World

Young female tourist with swiss flag on the top of the tower in Zurich city. Woman having a great vacation in Switzerland
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Where would you go if you had two weeks to explore the world? Would you choose to relax on an isolated beach, party in a city with a vibrant nightlife scene – or something in between? Experienced travelers discussed this question recently in an online forum, and the result is a concrete list of places to visit if you had two weeks to spend anywhere in the world!

10 Places People Would Travel if They Had 2 Weeks Anywhere in the World


Andrew is the founder of Wealthy Nickel where he writes about all things personal finance. He has a passion for helping people pursue financial freedom through saving money, making money, and building wealth. Andrew documents his family’s journey to financial independence through side hustles while raising 2 kids on a single income