Cheapest States to Live In

Anna Spooner
Illustration of United States map

Finding somewhere to live that's affordable can be a challenge because the cost of living can vary widely from state to state. Identifying an inexpensive place to live definitely takes a bit of research. There is no official cost-of-living index, though there are a variety of resources to help you determine the average salary, cost of housing, utilities, food, and more for yourself.

Counting Down the 10 Least Expensive States

For this comparison, states have been compared based on cost-of-living data from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Additional information about the median income, the median closing price of a home, and the average cost of car insurance is included as well. Income data is current as of 2015, the latest available as of this writing. All other information is current as of January 2017.

#10 Texas

Texas ranked lower on the cost-of-living index based particularly on its lower prices for groceries and housing. Costs of utilities, transportation, and healthcare, on the other hand, were higher than other inexpensive states.

As of 2015, the median income in Texas across all industries was $55,653. The median closing price of a home is $133,000. On average, car insurance costs $1,620 per year.

#9 Kentucky

Kentucky is especially inexpensive in the areas of housing and healthcare. Compared to other cheap states to live in, Kentuckians pay more for transportation and utilities.

The median income in Kentucky is $45,215. The median closing price of a home is $149,000. On average, car insurance is $1,503 annually.

#8 Missouri

The Show Me State is especially affordable in the area of housing. However, utilities and groceries can be more expensive than other states on this list.

Missouri's median income is $50,238. The median closing price of a home is $169,000. Car insurance in Missouri is an average of $1,207 per year.

#7 Kansas

Kansas also scored very well in the area of housing. Healthcare and groceries, however, may be more expensive than other inexpensive states.

In Kansas, the median income is $53,906. The median closing price of a home is $132,000. Over a year, car insurance in Kansas will cost you $1,358.

#6 Indiana

Indiana scores well on the cost-of-living chart for its affordability of housing, utilities, and transportation. The cost of healthcare is slightly higher than some of the other states on this list.

Indianans make a median income of $50,532. The median closing price of a home is only $64,000. Car insurance in Indiana averages $1,202 a year.

#5 Tennessee

Crossing the halfway point in the list lands you in Tennessee. This state is very inexpensive in the areas of utilities, transportation, and healthcare. The cost of housing is slightly higher than other cheap states.

The median annual income in Tennessee is $47,275. The median closing price of a home in the state is $170,000. Car insurance averages $1,397 per year.

#4 Oklahoma

Oklahoma is especially affordable in the areas housing and transportation. However, you will find higher prices for groceries and utilities than in many of the inexpensive states on this list.

In Oklahoma, the median annual income is $48,568. The median closing price of a home is $140,000. Oklahomans pay an average of $1,568 per year in car insurance.

#3 Michigan

Happy young family

Michigan is especially cheap in the areas of utilities and groceries. You may find that transportation and healthcare cost you more than other inexpensive states, however.

Michiganders make an average salary of $51,084 per year. The median closing price of a home in Michigan is $145,000. The average annual cost of car insurance in the state is $2,251 per year.

#2 Arkansas

Not surprisingly, the second cheapest state to live in in the United States is inexpensive in groceries, housing, transportation, and healthcare. The only hiccup is that utilities cost more than most of the states on this list.

In Arkansas, the median annual income is $41,995. The median closing price of a home is $145,000. Per year, you'll pay an average of $1,399 for car insurance.

#1 Mississippi

Mississippi holds the top spot as the least expensive state to live in as of 2017. State residents pay less for housing, utilities, and healthcare than most others. Also, grocery and transportation costs are average for this list, rather than being high.

The median annual income in Mississippi is $40,593. The median closing price of a home in the state is $138,000, and the price per square foot is the second-lowest in this group, only slightly more than Indiana. The average price of car insurance in Mississippi is $1,385 per year.

Overall Averages

Of course, the statistics used to identify these ten low cost-of-living states are averages. In any given city within the state, you might find prices to be higher or lower than what is discussed here. For example, living in larger cities like Miami, Pittsburgh, and New York City will likely cost more than smaller cities and towns in those states. The same holds true in other states as well.

What Makes a State Cheap to Live In?

It's important to note that cost of living is not a single factor, but rather a combination of a variety of statistics. A state is considered to be among the cheapest places to live when the price of its most common essential goods, including housing, transportation, groceries, and healthcare, are lower in price than other states. This is important to keep in mind as you look for the best place to live. When you look at this combination of influences, you'll get an idea of where you can live the most affordably across the United States.

Cheapest States to Live In