The 10 Cheapest States to Live In – 2023

Evelyn Long

Jun 29, 2023

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Recently, Forbes compiled data from the United States Census Bureau that revealed the least expensive states to live in. Here’s what to know about the top ten cheapest states to live in. 

10. Indiana 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $186,000

The last on the list of the ten cheapest states to live in is Indiana. It is a great state for employment, education and sports. The Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis Colts are both professional sports teams fans can root for during football and basketball season. Of course, you can’t forget the Indianapolis 500.  It is also home to two elite universities: Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame. 

The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country, with an average rate more than 20% less than other states. 

Whether there for work or school, there are ways to get out and relax in nature. With 24 state parks and three different national parks, landscape highlights are the hundreds of lakes and miles of rivers to explore. 

Traffic is also relatively light throughout the state, even in cities, which many see as a benefit. 

However, there are some reasons Indiana might not be right for you. The scenery stays relatively the same year-round, regardless of the season change. Some find it boring. 

There is a significant drug problem in the state and while Indiana isn’t alone in this, it can be a turn-off for families. 

9. West Virginia 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $118,000

The Mountain State is a great location for nature-lovers and anyone who likes small towns. This state in the heart of Appalachia is full of rolling hills and valleys which protects it from most major weather events. 

Aside from its beauty, West Virginia is home to both Marshall and West Virginia Universities, with Morgantown, Charleston and Huntington providing a more urban feel. Martinsburg is a common city for workers that commute to Washington DC, as it is only an hour away with a significantly lower cost of living. 

Many people find a sense of community in the state’s small towns, making it easy to get to know people. 

There are cons to living in the state. Like Indiana, there is currently a major drug problem. The opioid epidemic is prominent throughout the state. A lack of career opportunities in many fields often leads to native West Virginians leaving in search of better financial opportunities. 

8. Iowa

Average Single Family Home Cost: $167,000

Iowa has a few key advantages to other areas around the country but there are many things to consider. 

The state has many positives, including one of the best safety scores in the country. There are many job opportunities in the manufacturing, farming and transportation industry and four distinct seasons. There’s also an impressive education system with a 99% literacy rate. 

The absence of big cities makes it one of the cheapest states to live in, but others might find this frustrating. Settling here is not everyone’s cup of tea. The lack of urbanization can make traveling to school or hospitals a long distance for some. There is also a lack of diversity. 

Iowa does have a nice art scene, little traffic and is great for nature-lovers. 

7. Missouri 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $194,000

Missouri is often a hidden gem for visitors as you don’t hear much about it on the news. It’s one of the top states forgotten when people try to visit all 50. 

There are plenty of food options, including famed Kansas City barbecue and desserts. The “Show Me State” has a lot of diverse scenery and many outdoor recreation activities. It also has an abundance of sports teams and many things to see and do. 

Drawbacks do exist. The summers can get scorchingly hot, the public education system is currently in the lower half of the states and pests are prevalent. The fact that Missouri is often forgotten can also be a struggle when advocating for the state but an advantage when you just want a place to settle down and call home. 

6. Tennessee 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $230,000

Tennessee has a lot to offer people who want to live in the south and love country music, but there are other advantages.

Of course, it has the capital of country music, but also an abundance of national and state parks to explore. There are more than 100 festivals throughout the year, giving you always something to do. 

If you are not a fan of summer heat and humidity, Tennessee probably isn’t for you. It is also a landlocked state, so there isn’t easy ocean access. Traffic in the city can also be nightmarish. 

Whether you are a country music fan, dislike winter or want to explore the geography, Tennessee might be right for you. 

5. Georgia 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $246,000

In the center of the top cheapest states to live in is Georgia.

If you like sunshine, Georgia might be the state for you. If you can take the heat, there are plenty of cities and wilderness to explore.

Known for its southern charm, booming entertainment industry, coastline and year-round sun, there is something for everyone.  

Enjoy fresh peaches, peanuts and pecans in various dishes that can help you beat the high temperatures and enjoy time with family and new friends. There are both urban and rural areas and a good amount of diversity. It is also in the top half for US education rankings. 

While there is plenty of sunshine, there is also heavy humidity which is a turn-off for some. There is also a heavy political environment which can get stressful. If you have outdoor allergies, Georgia might not be for you as it is one of the worst states for pollen. 

4. Oklahoma 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $151,000

The “Sooner State” has a lot of potential positives and negatives to consider.

Oklahoma has a rich Native American history with more than 33 tribes still present in the state. It has a rich arts and entertainment culture to learn and express yourself in. There are many state parks for hiking, fishing and camping. The state is also home to four seasons, with plenty of activities to celebrate each. 

There are some things to consider before moving to Oklahoma, especially if you have a family. Its cities contribute to one of the highest crime rates in the country, and public education levels are in the bottom half of the US. 

If you love culture and having four seasons, the state might be right for you. 

3. Alabama 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $170,000

Another state full of sunshine, Alabama ranks high as one of the cheapest states to live in. It is a big state for college sports. Thanks to its nearly always-sunny weather, you can enjoy going to outdoor games and some of the many festivals the state has to offer. 

Like Georgia, the state is pretty humid, but has a gorgeous coastline along the gulf to cool down. However, Alabama has some disadvantages. 

Depending on who you are, you may or may not like the old-fashioned southern values many areas carry. Alongside highly-accredited universities, is a low-ranked public education system. The state’s crime rate is also higher than average. 

If you enjoy sunshine, sports and southern values, Alabama might be the ideal state for you. 

2. Kansas 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $177,000

Kansas is full of wide-open spaces which can make for some breathtaking views. Even its cities are known for being spread out and laid-back, cutting down on traffic and commute times. 

Food is a highlight in the state which is the birthplace of Kansas City-style barbecue. It is also known for its delicious Hispanic and Mexican cuisine. While many of the cities have a higher-than-average crime rate, the rural areas see fewer issues. 

The public education system ranked average compared to the rest of the country. It has plenty of higher education opportunities from small, private schools to large public universities. 

The Sunflower State is not for everyone. A lack of hustle and bustle makes the state boring for some. Sales tax is pretty high in the state, nearing 9%. While there is often little traffic, drives can be long and public transportation is lacking. 

If you want good food, a relaxed atmosphere and quality education, Kansas might be the right choice for your next move. 

1. Mississippi 

Average Single Family Home Cost: $141,000

The cheapest cost of living in the United States belongs to Mississippi. There are many benefits to living in the Magnolia State. 

Mississippi is home to beautiful scenery from rich forests to a white sand coastline. More than half of the state’s population lives in rural areas, providing many opportunities to immerse yourself in nature. 

Higher education opportunities are some of the least expensive in the country, with an average of $5,121 for in-state tuition and fees and $12,513 for out-of-state tuition. After school or work, you can enjoy some southern comfort food from many famed eateries around the state. Like Alabama, Mississippi is full of southern values, which you may like or dislike. 

There are disadvantages to living in the state, with one of the largest being the poverty rate. Around 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. The healthcare in the state is also some of the worst in the US. 

For some, the pros may outweigh the cons. A low cost of living and learning combined with great food and scenery could make Mississippi right for you. 

Affordable Living Across the Country 

With an uncertain economy, it’s natural to look for an affordable state to call home. These ten cheapest states have many things to offer you and your family. 

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