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Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2020-21

Settling down in one of the cities below could do wonders for your wallet. Based on the median gross rent and annual housing costs for mortgage-paying homeowners of each metro area, these are the cities with the lowest cost of living in the country.

For more information on how we rank, read the Best Places to Live methodology.

Real Estate Rankings


Rankings Category


Population Size


Average Rent


Median Home Price


Commute Time


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25 place matches

Huntsville, AL

badge #1 in Cheapest Places to Live

Once a sleepy farming town, Huntsville gained national recognition during the Space Race of the 1960s and is now the fastest-growing … more

  • 7.1 Overall Score
  • 6.3 Quality of Life
  • 8.7 Value

Fort Wayne, IN

badge #2 in Cheapest Places to Live

With its low cost of living and quiet neighborhoods, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is an excellent place to buy a house, start a career, launc… more

  • 6.6 Overall Score
  • 6.1 Quality of Life
  • 8.6 Value

Des Moines, IA

badge #3 in Cheapest Places to Live

The capital of this so-called flyover state may not top your to-visit list, but Des Moines is a great place to live and raise a famil… more

  • 7.3 Overall Score
  • 7.3 Quality of Life
  • 8.4 Value

Fayetteville, AR

badge #4 in Cheapest Places to Live

Located in a region that's experiencing drastic growth, Fayetteville – together with Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale – has transfo… more

  • 7.3 Overall Score
  • 7.2 Quality of Life
  • 8.3 Value

South Bend, IN

badge #5 in Cheapest Places to Live

Home to the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, boasts a low cost of living and an array of parks and other diversions … more

  • 6.6 Overall Score
  • 6.4 Quality of Life
  • 8.3 Value

Quad Cities, IA-IL (Davenport-Bettendorf, IA & Moline-Rock Island, IL)

badge #6 in Cheapest Places to Live

Spanning two states over the Mississippi River, the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois can feel smaller than it is. Despite its… more

  • 6.5 Overall Score
  • 6.7 Quality of Life
  • 8.3 Value

Peoria, IL

badge #7 in Cheapest Places to Live

When people want to know whether something has wide appeal, they might ask “Will it play in Peoria?” But don’t let that old say… more

  • 6.3 Overall Score
  • 6.4 Quality of Life
  • 8.3 Value

Hickory, NC

badge #8 in Cheapest Places to Live

With its moderate climate and sweeping mountain views, the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area, sometimes known as the Catawba Valley, i… more

  • 6.7 Overall Score
  • 6.5 Quality of Life
  • 8.2 Value

Grand Rapids, MI

badge #9 in Cheapest Places to Live

Grand Rapids has an affinity for public art, and its craft brewery scene is one of the best in the nation. A scenic spot perched on t… more

  • 7.1 Overall Score
  • 7.6 Quality of Life
  • 8.1 Value

Pittsburgh, PA

badge #10 in Cheapest Places to Live

Known by nicknames like Blitzburgh and Steel City, Pittsburgh is on the verge of greater heights. Emerging from a dying steel industr… more

  • 6.5 Overall Score
  • 6.3 Quality of Life
  • 8.1 Value
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