Cheapest States to Live In

Deciding where to live has generally been based on our employment opportunities, access to educational resources and social circles. But in today’s modern world, we can do pretty much everything remotely, so why not choose one of the states with a low cost of living, where you can make the dollar stretch and finally buy your own home?

Let’s see which are the cheapest states to live in and how they compare to the national average.

Cost of Living

The cost of living index determines how expensive a certain region is. The metric includes transportation, groceries, utilities, healthcare, childcare, and tax expenses. But the most influential factor is definitely housing. Why? Well, consider this: the median rent in California is around $1,500 per month, compared to just over $600 in Mississippi.

Now, we’re going to compare the cost of living index by state with the national one to help you get a clearer picture of how life is in some of the states with the lowest cost of living.

The national average index is always 100. Anything below shows that the state is cheaper than the average. Conversely, anything above shows that the state is more expensive than the national average.

Before going into detail, let’s have a quick look at the least expensive states to live in:

  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • West Virginia
  • Missouri
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Tennessee

Cheapest States to Live in 2022

The US states with the cheapest cost of living are in the midwest and southern parts of the country. So, sorting them from the lowest to the highest cost of living index, we’ll now look into the most affordable states for the second quarter of 2022.

Mississippi

Mississippi is the state with the lowest cost of living index — 84.9. This is 15.1% below the national average.

What else is important to know about the life and costs in Mississippi? Check out:

  • The utilities index is 89.7 – among the lowest in the US.
  • The healthcare index is 99.6, which is close to the national average.
  • The unemployment rate is 3.6%, which is almost the same as the national average of 3.5%.
  • The living wage for one person is an estimated $26,400 annual income after taxes.
  • The living wage for a family of four with two working parents and two kids is an estimated $71,100 annual income after taxes.
  • The rent for a one-bedroom apartment is an average of $619 per month.
  • Mississippi is the poorest state in the US, as 19.6% of its population lives in poverty.
  • Median and one-percent wealth disparities are the lowest in Mississippi.

Interesting fact: The world’s only cactus plantation is in Mississippi. And last but not least, the Mississippi river is the second largest river in the US.

Oklahoma

The next state is Oklahoma. It has a cost of living index of 85.7. That’s 14.3% below the national average.

Here are some economic facts worth knowing for Oklahoma:

  • The housing index is 71 – the third-lowest in the US.
  • The living wage for a single person is an estimated $26,861 annual income after taxes.
  • The living wage for a four-numbered family (two adults and two kids) is an estimated $75,003 annual income after taxes.
  • Rent in Oklahoma for a one-bedroom apartment is an average of $582 per month.
  • The average annual salary is $51,868.
  • The median home value is $142,400.

Interesting fact: Oklahoma is the only state in the US that produces iodine and one of the four states in the world that produce helium. Another curious fact is that people in Oklahoma love food that is grown on their lands. They are experts in making tacos, barbecue, and chicken-fried steak. So, if you ever plan on visiting Oklahoma, don’t forget to go to a steakhouse.

Kansas

Let’s see what the data shows on Kansas. Well, the index is 86.4, and that is 13.6% below the average.

Now, let’s have a look at some key points regarding the cost of living in Kansas:

  • All expenses included in the cost of living are below the national index, except healthcare, with an index of 102.7.
  • The unemployment rate is 2.4% which is less than the national one of 3.5%.
  • The estimated living wage for a standard family of four — two kids and two working parents is $77,429 annual income after taxes.
  • The estimated living wage for a single person is $28,102 annual income after taxes.
  • The average home sale price is $277,329.
  • The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $564 per month.

Interesting fact: If you consider moving to Kansas, you should know that the local people are known for their hospitality. They welcome new residents in the best way possible. Also, agriculture is widely developed. They produce huge amounts of soybeans, sorghum, corn, and wheat.

Alabama

Alabama’s cost of living index is 87.5, which is 12.5% below the average.

Other than that, there are a few more things worth knowing if you plan to move to Alabama. Take a look:

  • Utilities costs score slightly above the national average, with a 100.7 index.
  • In July 2022, the unemployment rate was 2.6%, which has a significant decrease of 0.8% from the previous year.
  • The estimated living wage for a single person is $26,822 of annual income after taxes.
  • The estimated living wage for a family of two working parents and two kids is $71,358 of annual income after taxes.
  • The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $764 on average.
  • The average annual salary is $50,751.
  • The median home value is $149,600.

Interesting fact: Alabama means “vegetation pickers”. The name came from “Alba and Amo”, where Alba is related to vegetables and Amo to a picker. The state is named by the Indians, who were the first settlers in the area.

Georgia

What do we know about Georgia? Right off the bat, the cost of living index is 87.8. More facts are coming right away:

  • Among the 10 states with the lowest cost of living, this is the one that has the cheapest transportation, with an index of 88.3.
  • The unemployment rate is 2.8%.
  • The average annual pay is $39,465.
  • The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $549.
  • The annual living wage for a single person is an estimated $29,459 after taxes.
  • The annual living wage for a family of four (two parents + 2 kids) is an estimated $75,249 after taxes.
  • The median home value is $190,200.

Interesting fact: Georgia is known as a producer of onions, peaches, peanuts, and pecans. Also, Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886.

West Virginia

This state has an 88.5 cost of living index. That is 11.5% lower than the average one.

What else is important to know about West Virginia? Have a peek:

  • West Virginia has a transportation index of 111, which is 11% above the average.
  • As of July 2022, the unemployment rate was 3.7%, which is a significant decrease from the rate of 5.1% in the previous year.
  • $610 is the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • The median home value is $123,200.
  • The average annual salary is $59,678.
  • The living wage for a single person is an estimated $26,213 of annual income after taxes.
  • The living wage for a four-numbered family with two kids and two working parents is $75,051 of annual income after taxes.

Interesting fact: You can travel the world without leaving West Virginia. The state holds the record for having the most towns named after international cities, including London, Rome, Athens, Berlin, Cairo, Calcutta, Geneva and Shanghai. There are also Preu, Egypt, and Little Italy.

Missouri

Missouri is the seventh state with the lowest cost of living index at 88.6.

What else is important to know? Let’s see:

  • In July 2022, the unemployment rate was 2.5%.
  • $521 is the monthly rate for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • The estimated living wage for a single person in Missouri is $27,333 of annual income after taxes.
  • The estimated living wage for a family of four — two kids and two working parents –  is
  • $75,257 of annual income after taxes.
  • The average annual salary is $52,166.
  • The median home value is $163,600.

Interesting fact: Missouri is also known as the “Cave State” — there are more than 6,000 caves. Another fun fact is about the ice cream cones. They were first invented in Missouri when an ice cream seller ran out of cups and roll waffles as replacements.

Indiana

The state of Indiana is next for analysis. It has a total cost of living index of 88.9. That would be 11.1% under the average.

Keep reading for more facts:

  • All of the expenses included in the cost of living are lower than the national average, except utilities, with an index above the national average — 103.1.
  • The unemployment rate is 2.6%.
  • The annual average pay is $41,802.
  • $561 is the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • The living wage for a single person is an estimated $27,201 annual income after taxes.
  • The living wage for a family of four (two kids with two working parents) is an estimated $72,456 annual income after taxes.

Interesting fact: In 1876, natural gas was discovered in Indiana. Notably, education, agriculture, and manufacturing are the state’s most important industries. And now, something cool – Indiana has produced more NBA players per capita than any other state.

Iowa

We are continuing with Iowa, with an index of 89 — 11% below the average.

What are the numbers like in Iowa? Let’s see:

  • The unemployment rate is 2.5%, significantly different from the national one of 3.5%.
  • The healthcare index is 99.4.
  • An estimated living wage for one person is $26,858 income after taxes per year.
  • An estimated living wage for a four-numbered family (two parents and two kids) is
  • $77,009 income after taxes per year.
  • $562 is the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • The average annual salary is $51,873.
  • The median home value is $153,900.

Interesting fact: The farms are widely spread across Iowa. And the production is mostly intended to corn, as corn brings a huge amount of income to the state’s economy. A random yet curious fact to remember is that sliced bread was invented in Iowa.

Tennessee

Tennessee is last on our list of most affordable states to live in. The cost of living index is 89.5 — 10.5% lower than the national average.

Other than that, you should be aware of a few more important things if you consider moving to Tennessee. Take a look at some of them:

  • The health index is 89.9 – the second lowest on our list.
  • The unemployment rate is 3.3%.
  • $800 is the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • The annual state salary is $52,462 on average.
  • An estimated annual living wage for one person is $31,555 of income after taxes.
  • An estimated annual living wage for a four-numbered family of two parents and two kids is $76,740 of income after taxes.
  • The median home value is $177,600.

Interesting fact: Tennessee is known for the house of Elvis Presley — the second most visited museum in the US, after the White House. Also, the state is known for The Lost Sea, which is the largest underwater lake in the US.

Wrap Up

And now, you know which are the 10 cheapest states to live in. Compare them, explore the opportunities they offer and choose your new home address!

But before that, a little hint from us — if a state has a low cost of living, it doesn’t necessarily mean that life there would be perfect. Maybe the state has some economic crisis, or the population is poor.

So, be wise and do your due diligence before making your move!

ABOUT AUTHOR

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Maybe you dreamed of being a doctor, a singer, or an athlete. Well, believe it or not, my answer was always loud and clear: “I want to be an economist!” So, here I am, not a typical office worker with a pile of documents to sort or a lot of complex data to analyze, but a financial content writer exploring all things money-related. And, I must say, I really enjoy sharing my financial and economic knowledge with all of you.

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