Two Cheapest Cities in America Are in Texas

The Lone Star State is home to low living costs, but that affordability can come at a price.

Welcome to US State of Texas - road sign
(Image credit: gguy44)

Don't mess with Texas when it comes to finding the cheapest places to live in America. The Lone Star State is home to the two least expensive cities in the U.S. From groceries and gasoline to housing and health care, the cost of living is low across the board in the South Texas cities of McAllen and Harlingen, which rank first and second, respectively, on our 2017 list of the cheapest places to live in the U.S.

There are trade-offs to affordability. Both cities have above-average unemployment, which can make it harder for residents to bring home steady paychecks, and the poverty rates are well above average versus both the state and national poverty levels. On the plus side, it's a short trip to visit Mexico or beaches on the Gulf Coast.

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Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer,

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.