The 10 Most Affordable Cities To Live In The United States

If you live in “the city,” you can expect to pay more. That adage is as common in real estate as “location, location, location.” However, “paying more” is relative, and it is possible to find a good job in a big city where cost of living is relatively low. Here are the most affordable cities to live in the US; where wages are high and costs are decent.

The Most Affordable Cities In The Country

Thanks to data compiled by, we can determine the top cities in the country where salaries are high and costs are low. The study examined several factors, comparing average annual income to average monthly living expenses. Here are the results:

#10 Charlotte, North Carolina

In Charlotte, the average household income is a respectable: $86,922. Compared to $23,249 in average expenses. Charlotte also has low home prices which are driving millennial home ownership and attracting a young crowd to the city.

#9 Dallas, Texas

Dallas sees average household incomes of $76,726. This may seem low for a large city, however keep in mind that Texas has no state income tax. Rent, utilities and household expenses also tend to be lower than most other major cities.  With $23,057 in average expenses, Dallas has a lot of big city life to offer prospective residents.

#8 Tampa, Florida

Tampa has a bustling city with diverse culture, warm weather, and an average household income of $80,121. Tampa also benefits from Florida’s lack of a state income tax. Average household necessities come in at around $23,035. However, with relatively low home prices, Tampa is thought to be one of the best cities in the country for investment properties.

#7 Bakersfield, California

You probably wouldn’t expect to see California included in this list of most affordable cities to live. The average household salary of $76,673 may seem low for west coast life, however if California is your taste; you can do worse than this town located roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Household expenses clock in at around $22,632

#6 Omaha, Nebraska

No cornfields in this bustling metropolis (though they aren’t far). The average household income in Omaha is $74,125 compared to $21,779 in expenses. Omaha is also notable as one of the few places in the country where might actually be able to live in the current minimum wage. Omaha residents save money on groceries, transportation, and rent compared to other cities.

#5 Durham, North Carolina

Another North Carolina city makes the list. Durham has an average household income of around $74,401 compared to $21,625. Durham has lower than average prices for just about everything and is considered a booming housing marketing as well!

#4 Phoenix, Arizona

If hot weather is your thing but California’s skyrocketing home prices aren’t; Phoenix is a jewel in its own way. With an average household income of $73,135 compared to $21,412 in expenses, Phoenix has a lot to offer. Residents save on most necessities compared to the national average; however, cost of living is on the rise.

#3 Lexington, Kentucky

For a city that has a little bit of everything, Lexington is a fine choice. Average household income in Lexington is around $77,827 compared to $20,535 in expenses. Rent, utilities, and transportation costs are among the lowest in the region and below the national average.

#2 Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City has an average household income of $69,301 compared to $19,756 in expenses; some of the lowest on the list. Kansas City has a lot to offer in ways of affordability. Rent, utilities, and other expenses are lower than the national average.

#1 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

With an average household income of $72,385 and lower than average expenses ($18,701), Oklahoma City is one of the few places in America where the average citizen earns far and away more than the average cost of living.

Oklahoma is one of the most affordable cities to live thanks to low home and rent costs, low grocery costs, and just about low everything. The Oklahoma state tax rate of 10.7% is ranked in the middle (25th among the 50 states and D.C.). This is better than New York, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Kentucky, California, and several others.

Your Location Matters

Of course, your cost of living will vary based on location. The most affordable cities to live is based on an average look at income and expenses. For a more in-depth look, download the City vs City app today. 

City vs City examines the true cost of living in your city and compares it with another city of your choosing. We examine your after-tax income, expenses, and factor in state and local taxes.

As a result, City vs City determines which city is best suited for you! Download the City vs City app today and find out which of the most affordable cities to live in is best for you!