11 Cheapest States To Live in the U.S. For 2024

Are you looking for the best place to live but concerned about finding affordable places?

Look no further!

Whether relocating for a new job or simply seeking a more budget-friendly lifestyle, finding the best cities with the lowest cost of living is crucial. Here is our list of the cheapest U.S. places to live in 2024. But first, let’s see what the cost of living index is currently in the country.

What Is Cost-of-Living?

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Living costs are associated with the average cost of covering basic expenses and maintaining a certain lifestyle standard. These costs include housing prices or monthly rent, food, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, and other expenses that contribute to an area’s livability.

U.S. Living Costs: What Do They Look Like Right Now?

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The overall cost of living in the United States is one of the most expensive worldwide—higher than in 93% of countries. An average household spends $6,081 monthly, or $72,967 annually on living expenses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that housing expenditures increased by 5.6% in 2021 and 7.4% in 2022.

As the nation adapts to changing times and consumer habits, entertainment, and apparel spending has grown by more than 20% since 2020. American households are balancing essentials and indulgences in their everyday financial stories due to the high cost of living.

While the average cost of living is making it more difficult to live comfortably in the States, you don’t need to become an expat to make your dollar stretch further. As we turn the page to 2024, let’s journey through the 11 least expensive states in the U.S.

1. Tennessee

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 25, 2017: Blues Clubs on Beale Street at dawn.
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Tennessee’s economy is dominated by the following sectors: Healthcare, Music, Finance, Automotive, Chemical, Electronics, and Tourism. The Tennessee state economy saw a 20.6% increase in gross state product (GSP) from 2018 to 2023, now sitting at $375.8 billion. The state had 3,279,765 employees in 2023, a 1913.9% increase over the previous five years. This state offers affordable living and is one of the best places to live if you are a working professional.

Median Home Price: $371,900

Median Household Income: $69,695

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

2. Georgia

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Known for birthing Coca-Cola and its luscious peaches, Georgia stands out in the agricultural sphere as a top producer of peanuts and pecans. In the economic landscape, the state forecasts a growth in nominal personal income, with a rise of 5.4% in 2023, a slight dip to 4.7% in 2024, and an upswing to 5.5% in 2025. The employment sector also shows resilience, with an unemployment rate averaging 3.8% in 2023.

Median Home Price: $358,000

Median Household Income: $65,030

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

3. Alabama

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As a state with a rich history of southern hospitality, a vibrant history in the Civil Rights Movement, and a genuine college football culture, Alabama also presents an appealing cost of living. Its housing market costs are 38% below the national averages. While utilities tip the scale at 9% higher, everyday essentials like groceries and clothing offer more savings, around 4% lower. Living in one of the big metropolitan areas, like Mobile or Montgomery, can cut down on your commute time while providing you with an affordable place to live.

Median Home Price: $295,900

Median Household Income: $56,929 

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

4. Kansas

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Kansas is gearing up for economic expansion, with its nominal income expected to hit $145.1 billion by 2024, a 3.3% increase. This midwest state is also projected to add over 25,000 jobs by the end of 2023. Known for its iconic sunflowers and the Kansas Speedway, a major NASCAR race track in Kansas City, the state blends an economic upturn with cultural landmarks, especially in the metro areas.

Median Home Price: $259,000

Median Household Income: $64,521

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

5. Mississippi

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Located in the land of music legends like Elvis Presley and B.B. King, those looking to live in Mississippi will be blessed with affordability. The state also ranks seventh nationwide for median home value based on income. Meanwhile, healthcare costs can be a bit pricey, with a checkup ranging from $80 to $145. Despite this, Mississippi’s minimum wage echoes the federal rate at $7.25 per hour, unchanged since 2009.

Median Home Price: $258,000

Median Household Income: $50,540 

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

6. Missouri

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Missouri, blending Midwestern and Southern cultures, ranked as the sixth most affordable state in the U.S. in 2023’s third quarter. Celebrated as the birthplace of iconic music genres and home to famous figures like Eminem and Maya Angelou, Missouri is 32nd in America’s top states for business, showcasing its unique cultural richness alongside economic viability.

Median Home Price: $248,500

Median Household Income: $57,290

Minimum Wage Rate: $12.00 per hour

7. Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas, USA skyline on the river at twilight.
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The economic landscape is a mix of contrasts in Arkansas, a state known for its robust agriculture sector, yielding $16 billion annually in crops like rice and soybeans. While it ranks second lowest in median income and has a poverty rate of 14.7% (the fourth-highest nationally), there’s a glimmer of affordable living. Property taxes here are modest, averaging just 0.63%, and small-town home prices are quite cheap.

Median Home Price: $244,500

Median Household Income: $50,540 

Minimum Wage Rate: $11.00 per hour

8. Oklahoma

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The beauty of Oklahoma’s nature, cowboy culture, and Native American history make it a popular tourist spot. There is much to learn about the state, including its oil and gas industry and iodine production. Oklahoma’s GDP has grown at an annualized rate of 1.8% over the five years to 2023. Moreover, Oklahoma’s trailing five-year GDP growth ranks it 29th out of all 50 U.S. states.

Median Home Price: $234,800

Median Household Income: $63,440

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

9. Iowa

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Renowned for its impressive literacy rate, Iowa stands out as an agricultural powerhouse in the U.S., leading the nation in pork, corn, and ethanol production. In 2023, this prowess was reflected in its GDP of $178.9 billion. Beyond its agricultural dominance, our economic research found that Iowa’s diverse economy spans sectors like insurance, financial services, biotechnology, and manufacturing, showcasing a state that successfully merges its rich farming heritage with modern industry. Here’s its breakdown for housing prices:

Median Home Price: $229,000

Median Household Income: $65,600

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

10. West Virginia

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Known for its breathtaking rugged terrain of mountains and valleys, West Virginia, the Mountain State, saw remarkable fiscal achievements in 2023. It enjoyed its largest single-year revenue surplus with $1.8 billion in collections. It recorded a real GDP of $94.2 billion in the first quarter, a figure adjusted for inflation to reflect actual economic growth.

Despite these accomplishments, the state’s per capita personal income is about 76% of the national average, painting a picture of a state with significant economic milestones amidst ongoing challenges.

Median Home Price: $158,495

Median Household Income: $51,615

Minimum Wage Rate: $8.75 per hour

11. Indiana

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Indiana, set to experience modest job growth with an increase of 1,700 positions in 2023, has seen notable strides in the employment sector. Manufacturing leads this growth, having expanded by 13% over the past decade. The transportation and warehousing sector is even more impressive, surging by 36.8%, becoming the state’s fastest-growing job market.

However, in terms of healthcare, Indiana ranks 43rd among the 50 states. On the economic front, family-owned farms significantly bolster the state’s economy, contributing over $35 billion per year, underlining Indiana’s blend of industrial progress and agricultural heritage.

Median Home Price: $107,000

Median Household Income: $61,994

Minimum Wage Rate: $7.25 per hour

An Opportunity-Rich Nation Despite High Costs

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Each state in the United States tells its own story of growth and resilience. The beauty and accomplishments of the states noted in this list reflect the nation’s multifaceted character and provide several affordable places to live. Additionally, they offer high potential for those looking for an ideal place to start a business and those looking to relocate or retire. Furthermore, these states provide an attractive investment opportunity for those seeking profitability.

This article was originally produced and syndicated by Financially Well Off.

Author: Luana Cantuarias

Title: Contributing Writer

Expertise: Blockchain, B2B, and SaaS

Bio:

Luana Cantuarias is a seasoned finance writer with over a decade of experience in the realms of Blockchain, B2B, and SaaS.