Looking for the most affordable cities in America? Start your search in Texas. The Lone Star State is home to the two cheapest places to live in the U.S. But before you pack your bags, weigh the pros and cons that come with such super-low living costs.
1. McAllen, Texas
City Population: 140,269
Cost of Living: 23.7% below U.S. average
Median Household Income: $44,254 (U.S.: $53,889)
Median Home Value: $115,400 (U.S.: $178,600)
Average Monthly Rent: $629 (U.S.: $1,004)
Unemployment Rate: 7.8% (U.S.: 4.9%)
Highlight: Quinta Mazatlan birding center
2. Harlingen, Texas
City Population: 65,774
Cost of Living: 20.6% below U.S. average
Median Household Income: $34,466 (U.S.: $53,889)
Median Home Value: $80,600 (U.S.: $178,600)
Average Monthly Rent: $662 (U.S.: $1,004)
Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (U.S.: 4.9%)
Highlight: A short drive to South Padre Island
3. Kalamazoo, Mich.
City Population: 76,041
Cost of Living: 20.0% below U.S. average
Median Household Income: $33,009 (U.S.: $53,889)
Median Home Value: $96,600 (U.S.: $178,600)
Average Monthly Rent: $671 (U.S.: $1,004)
Unemployment Rate: 4.2% (U.S.: 4.9%)
Highlight: Western Michigan University
See the full list of the cheapest U.S. cities to live in.
Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.
A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.
Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.
In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes and more.
Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.
Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.
What Is Quantitative Easing?
Quantitative easing is one strategy the Federal Reserve uses to stimulate the economy. Here's how it works.
By Will Ashworth Published
Single? Married? How Relationship Status Impacts Your Money Mindset
Single? Married? Divorced? Widowed? How your Relationship status impacts your money mindset.
By Kathryn Pomroy Published
Does It Make Sense to Rent in Retirement?
Making Your Money Last Renting isn't right for all retirees, but it does offer flexibility and it frees up cash.
By Sandra Block Published
Debit Cards vs Charge Cards
credit & debt Whether sticking to a budget or reaping big rewards, understand whether debit cards vs charge cards are right for you.
By Ellen Kennedy Published
Four Smart Steps To Take Before Buying Your First Home
home Buying your first home can be daunting. Here are four things you need to do years before you start house-hunting to prepare financially for the biggest purchase of your life.
By Andrea Browne Taylor Last updated
Five Big Steps to Buying Your First Home
real estate We told you how to prepare years ahead of your first home purchase. Now here is how to close the deal.
By Andrea Browne Taylor Last updated
The 25 Cheapest Places to Live: U.S. Cities Edition
places to live Have a look at the cheapest places to live in America for city dwellers. Is one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. right for you?
By Dan Burrows Last updated
Sharing His Path to Success
Starting Out: New Grads and Young Professionals This Native American studied tech in the Air Force and landed his dream job. Now he’s giving back.
By Emma Patch Published
How Big Should My Emergency Fund Be?
Brandon Copeland NFL linebacker and Kiplinger contributing editor Brandon Copeland discusses the importance of building an emergency fund.
By Brandon Copeland Published
PODCAST: How to Find a Job After Graduation, with Beth Hendler-Grunt
Starting Out: New Grads and Young Professionals Today’s successful job applicants need to know how to ace the virtual interview and be prepared to do good old-fashioned research and networking. Also, gas prices are high, but try a little global perspective.
By David Muhlbaum Published