10 Cheapest States To Live In

cost of living 50 states

Saving money is more important today than ever. Rising inflation, increasing energy bills and rates, and the sharp rise in grocery prices mean everyone is feeling the pinch. Expenses are skyrocketing, and people are looking for creative ways to save money. Even better than a savings account, one way to do this is to consider where you live.

We have compiled a list of the 10 cheapest states to live in. So, if you’re looking for a change of scenery and want to save where you can, you can consider a move to Kansas, Oklahoma, or Missouri, three of the lowest cost of living states.

Best States to Save Money

Here are the top 10 most affordable states to live in. For each state, housing costs represent the median sales price for a property, and the average share price shown is for a two-bedroom rental. Median household income is based on a household of two people. Moving to any of these states will likely give you a much better return for your money that you’ll get from your savings account, so see if any of our recommended states fit the bill.


  • Housing Costs – $164,000
  • Average rent price – $816
  • Median household income – $57,000
  • Affordability – 88.6
  • Cost of Living – 85.3
  • Employment rate – 52.7%

If you’re wondering, “what is the cheapest state to live in?” Mississippi is your answer, scoring below average in every category. The Magnolia State has the second most affordable median house value in the US at $164,000, roughly 5.5 times less than that of the most expensive state, Hawaii. No state income tax is charged, and winter temperatures are very mild. The employment rate, however, is very low, so try to secure a job prior to moving in order to take advantage of the savings you will make.


  • Housing Costs – $177,000
  • Average rent price – $768
  • Median household income – $61,000
  • Affordability – 89.2
  • Cost of Living – 90.4
  • Employment rate – 55.6%

Arkansas lives up to its title of the Natural State, with stunning scenery and pleasant climates making the state perfect for nature lovers. The capital, Little Rock, is home to 200,000 inhabitants, and rental prices are just over $800. Employment in Arkansas is in line with the national average, and the cost of living makes Arkansas one of the cheapest states to live in.

cheap states to live in


  • Housing Costs – $181,000
  • Average rent price – $838
  • Median household income – $66,000
  • Affordability – 88.0
  • Cost of Living – 86.0
  • Employment rate – 60%

Housing costs in Oklahoma are far below the national average, and other expenses, such as grocery shopping and healthcare, are lower than anywhere else in the country. The weather ranges from manageable winters to hot summers, although you may have to dodge the occasional tornado. Over sixty percent of the Oklahoma workforce is based in or around Oklahoma City or Tulsa, so if you are heading to the Sooner State for work, consider these two areas.

West Virginia

  • Housing Costs – $137,000
  • Average rent price – $810
  • Median household income – $58,000
  • Affordability – 89.3
  • Cost of Living – 90.4
  • Employment rate – 52.5%

Housing costs in West Virginia are by far the cheapest in the US, coming in at $27,000 lower than the next closest state, Mississippi. The cost of living is 10% lower than the national average, and the scenery across the state is stunning. The downsides to living in West Virginia include a high poverty rate and relative lack of jobs, so try to secure employment before heading to the Mountain State. The capital and largest city is Charleston, with a population of just over 200,000.


  • Housing Costs – $197,000
  • Average rent price – $823
  • Median household income – $61,000
  • Affordability – 89.9
  • Cost of Living – 94.5
  • Employment rate – 55.6%

Kentucky offers beautiful rural living, where even the cities of Louisville and Lexington are close to green, rolling fields. Housing, groceries, healthcare, and transportation are far below the national average. Tax breaks are available for property owners. However, a state tax is levied at a flat rate of 4.5%. Weather in Kentucky change is very changeable and sometimes harsh, from cold winters to scorching summers.


  • Housing Costs – $204,000
  • Average rent price – $839
  • Median household income – $63,000
  • Affordability – 89.2
  • Cost of Living – 87.9
  • Employment rate – 55.5%

Alabama offers a beautiful coastline, warm weather, and a very low cost of living. While the employment rate is lower than the US average of 60%, jobs are available. The downsides to living in Alabama include the high levels of poverty state-wide. Note that Alabama has some interesting local laws. Many of its counties restrict the sale of alcohol.


  • Housing Costs – $231,000
  • Average rent price – $818
  • Median household income – $69,000
  • Affordability – 90.1
  • Cost of Living – 88.9
  • Employment rate – 58.9%

Missouri offers large cities offering multiple major league sports teams and access to culture in Kansas City and St. Louis. Despite these large cities, the cost of living across Missouri remains cheap, with the cost of living at 10% less than the national average. Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy what Missouri has to offer, with great hiking and camping opportunities on your doorstep. Yet, the downsides include lower levels of education quality and limited public transport outside of major cities.

cost of living Missouri


  • Housing Costs – $206,000
  • Average rent price – $836
  • Median household income – $75,000
  • Affordability – 89.7
  • Cost of Living – 87.5
  • Employment rate – 64.6%

Kansas offers a great combination of cheap costs of living and a relatively high median household income. Ultimately, this allows Kansas residents to stretch money further than other states would allow. Kansas is home to many high-quality schools and job opportunities in specific sectors, such as agriculture. However, the state has limited cultural opportunities, and extreme weather, including tornadoes, can be expected.


  • Housing Costs – $192,000
  • Average rent price – $849
  • Median household income – $75,000
  • Affordability – 87.9
  • Cost of Living – 89.1
  • Employment rate – 66.3%

Iowa offers very cheap housing costs, a high median income, and an employment rate way above the national average. Iowa also provides excellent colleges and universities, including Iowa State and the University of Iowa. Similarly, rambling, hiking, and camping opportunities are limitless. Most work opportunities are located around the Des Moines metropolitan area, which is home to over 700,000 people. Unlike other states on this list, Iowa offers a range of employment opportunities, including agriculture, financial services, and manufacturing.


  • Housing Costs – $318,000
  • Average rent price – $966
  • Median household income – $71,000
  • Affordability – 90.1
  • Cost of Living – 88.4
  • Employment rate – 60.3%

The cost of living in Georgia is one of the lowest in America, although housing costs are significantly above the other states in this list. That is due to many residents in the Atlanta metropolitan area living in the suburbs and similar urban areas, which has pushed up the median housing cost. Outside these areas, bargains remain to be had, and lovers of culture will enjoy the food and music that Georgia has to offer. There are a large number of work opportunities in Georgia, particularly in and around the Atlanta region.


The cost of living in each state is measured by the cost of living index. The cost of living index is a tool used to compare the relative expenses of living in different states. The average in the US is set at 100, with a number below 100 indicating a state is less expensive than average and a number above 100 indicating it is more costly than the average state.

The cost of multiple different items are considered when calculating the cost of living index. Everyday food and groceries, utility bills, housing costs, transportation costs, and the cost of healthcare are all analyzed.

Variations in expenses across locations are considered when calculating the cost of living index. For instance, housing costs might be significantly higher in one area compared to another, while grocery expenses might be relatively similar. To determine the index, each expense item in the basket is assigned a weight based on its relative significance in the average person’s budget. The index is then calculated as an overall number that indicates the relative cost of living between two locations.


Moving to one of the cheapest states to live in listed here can significantly improve your financial position if you currently live in one of the most expensive states in the US. These include Hawaii, Massachusetts, California, and New York. Housing, healthcare, and everyday grocery options are significantly cheaper, and you’ll notice the day-to-day differences positively impact your bank account balance.

Make sure you research thoroughly before making any decisions, but a move to any of these states will result in a lower cost of living. We recommend that you inspect the job market prior to moving to see if any suitable work is available, and if so, take that adventure and improve your financial position.

Lauren Le-Hair Lauren Le-Hair Last update:
As an experienced content writer, Lauren’s passion for the finance sector is only exceeded by her love of writing. Lauren specializes in the financial industry, drawing on her knowledge and experience to deliver top-quality, specialized content with an expert tone of voice and a unique flair. She also holds a First Class (Hons) Batchelor’s degree from Staffordshire University.