The 25 Cheapest Places to Live: U.S. Cities Edition

Take a look at our list of 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?

Florence Alabama taken from the Sheffield Bluffs
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to finding the cheapest places to live in the U.S. for city dwellers, the best locations to settle down are mostly south of the Mason-Dixon line. Alabama, Texas and Tennessee are just a few states making multiple appearances on our list of the cheapest places to live among U.S. cities.

But if you're thinking about relocating to one of these places with the lowest costs of living, just remember to weigh the pros and cons. Cheap prices are attractive, but the allure can fade if jobs are hard to come by, paychecks are small or the area offers little to do. Plan an extended visit to ensure that one of these cheapest places to live fits your needs.

We compiled our rankings of America's 25 cheapest places to live based on the Council for Community and Economic Research's (opens in new tab) (C2ER) calculations of living expenses in 265 urban areas. We then limited ourselves to metro areas with at least 50,000 inhabitants. (For smaller urban areas, be sure to read our list of the 12 Cheapest Small Towns in America.)

In both cases, C2ER's Cost of Living Index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services, such as going to a movie or getting your hair done at a salon.

That data, which sorts through thousands of prices in hundreds of cities, allowed us to pinpoint the places with the absolute lowest costs of living.

Read on for our latest list of the 25 cheapest places to live, in the U.S., for city dwellers.

The Cost of Living Index data is based on average prices of goods and services collected for the third quarter of 2022, with index values based on the new weights for 2022. Metro-level data on populations, household incomes, home values, poverty rates and other demographic information are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Metropolitan area unemployment rates, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are not seasonally adjusted and are, as of Dec. 1, for the month of October 2022, which is the latest data available.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer, Kiplinger.com

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 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.