THE 10 MOST AFFORDABLE Places To Live In Alabama For 2020


We used data and science to determine which places in Alabama go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Alabama.

Alabama is home to Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, the USS Alabama in Mobile, and the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, but did you know that the Heart of Dixie is also home to some of the most affordable places in the country?

The experts say that the cost of living is on the rise, so HomeSnacks thought it would be a great idea to give Alabamans one of the best life hacks: we compiled a list of the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2020.

How did we determine the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2020? We consulted the latest Census data on cost of living.

It simple economics, folks. The folks in our most affordable Alabama places know that the less they spend on their cost of living, the more they have to spend on the fun things that Alabama has to offer. Like, swamp boat tours in Spanish Fort, the Birmingham Zoo, or Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure in Bessemer. you know, great, affordable Alabama staycations. Do we think it's a coincidence that several of our top ten best places in Alabama to retire are also on our most affordable list? Absolutely not. The good 'ol Alabamans that live in these places know the value of the Alabama dollar.

So, want to know where you can find a safe, affordable Alabama home? Keep reading.

To produce a comprehensive list of the most affordable places in Alabama for 2020, we took a look at the things that matter: low cost of living, blue ribbon schools, and an above average employment rate to name a few.

The cheapest place to live in alabama? Drum roll... the number one most affordable place to live in Alabama is Lincoln.

If you're already in one of the most affordable Alabama places we're about to highlight, odds are you don't want to go anywhere. You should, however, scroll on down and see how your city compared.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Alabama and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama For 2020

Lincoln, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,600
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 77.2x (9th cheapest)
More On Lincoln: Homes For Sale | Data

You won't have to sacrifice class for affordability if you choose to live in Alabama's most affordable place, Lincoln. Matter of fact, you won't have to sacrifice anything. Lincoln is the second best place to buy a home based on home price to income ratio; and economically speaking, the less you have to spend on your home, the more money you will for the fun things to do in the place that wants you to "Come Grow With Them." Like, catching a NASCAR race at the famous Talladega SuperSpeedway.

The median income in Lincoln comes in at $66,997 and the median home value is $116,600 for 2020.

Tuscumbia, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,426
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.3x (14th cheapest)
More On Tuscumbia: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Lynyrd Skynyrd must have been thinking about the second most affordable place in The Heart of DIxie, Tuscumbia, when they wrote 'Sweet Home Alabama.' "The Charm of the Shoals" is not only sweet because it's the seventh best place to buy a home for those who make $51,105, but it's a great place for people looking for big city vibes with small city life.

The median income in Tuscumbia comes in at $51,105 and the median home value is $108,800 for 2020.

Russellville, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,711
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (18th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.6x (18th cheapest)
More On Russellville: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Where Alabama's HWY 43 crosses HWY 24 is the third cheapest place to live in The Yellowhammer State. The beauty of Russellville is that it is the 18th most affordable place to buy a home or rent based on the median income at $41,658 for this area. So, if you're not sure if buying a home, let alone living, in this little city in Franklin County, you can try it out with a rental.

The median income in Russellville comes in at $41,658 and the median home value is $93,700 for 2020.

Roanoke, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,941
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.6x (52nd cheapest)
More On Roanoke: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Our affordability index says that the fourth most affordable place in Alabama, Roanoke, knows how to balance affordability with fun. Located in the Piedmont region of eastern Alabama, Roanoke is the sixth cheapest place to buy a home based on median income. So, what do the good people in Roanoke do with all the money they save on their home purchase? They enjoy the best of Roanoke. And that, folks, can be a day spent tasting wine at Roanoke's very own Trillium Vineyard.

The median income in Roanoke comes in at $37,298 and the median home value is $78,900 for 2020.

Attalla, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,847
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.5x (64th cheapest)
More On Attalla: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Alabama's sixth most affordable place to live, Attalla, is one of the city's that made this list that is located closest to an airport. So, when you save a bunch of money on your home purchase because Attalla is the cheapest place to buy a home relative to its median income, you can use that money to purchase a private jet and house it at the The Northeast Alabama Regional Airport.

The median income in Attalla comes in at $40,998 and the median home value is $70,900 for 2020.

Hamilton, AL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,664
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (30th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.1x (22nd cheapest)
More On Hamilton: Homes For Sale | Data

For many, Hamilton's claim to fame is that they are the home to the former Minnesota Vikings lineman Bookie Bolin; but, for HomeSnacks, this city of 6664 in Marion County is the seventh best place in Alabama if you are looking for affordable living.

Yes, the median income in Hamilton is $38,670 and the median home price is $97,000; so, for all of the economically savvy out there, we're pretty sure we can agree that this a Hamilton win.

The median income in Hamilton comes in at $38,670 and the median home value is $97,000 for 2020.

Hartselle, AL

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 14,405
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (21st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 89.6x (6th cheapest)
More On Hartselle: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

If you're looking for a place in Alabama that is super affordable and where you have a greater chance of landing a good job, look no further than Hartselle.

"The City of Southern Hospitality" is putting up unemployment rates well below the national average. And the word on Hartselle's Railroad St., Walmart and Sonoco are two of its top companies if you're looking to match the city's median income level at $59,482/year.

The median income in Hartselle comes in at $59,482 and the median home value is $137,600 for 2020.

Clay, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,653
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 83.1x (7th cheapest)
More On Clay: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Alabama's ninth most affordable city, Clay, is a great place to live for those working with a tight budget. This city in Jefferson County might be tiny with only 9653 residents, but it's a pretty big deal on this list: it is currently the eighth cheapest place in terms of home price to income ratio. Clay has some pretty good deals for rentals, also, as it is the seventh best place to rent a place based on income.

Basically, Clay has made it super easy and super affordable to live in their corner of Alabama.

The median income in Clay comes in at $68,590 and the median home value is $148,800 for 2020.

Pinson, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,121
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.1x (37th cheapest)
More On Pinson: Homes For Sale | Data

Located slightly northeast of Birmingham is Alabama's tenth least expensive place to live. This little gem from Jefferson County earned its ranking because it is the third cheapest place in terms of home price to income ratio. But, you're going to have to make at least $64,252/year if you want to buy a home here.

So, if you're looking for that one of a kind Alabama place that won't break your bank, Pinson is it.

The median income in Pinson comes in at $64,252 and the median home value is $130,000 for 2020.

Glencoe, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,120
Rank Last Year: 10 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (27th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 105.4x (2nd cheapest)
More On Glencoe: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

You'll feel like you've found the best Alabama blue-plate special if you get to live in the state's 11th most affordable city, Glencoe. This city in Calhoun and Etowah counties has it all. Not only does it hold Alabama's second best rental prices based on income, it is located along the Coosa River.

We're pretty sure, however, that once you try out Glencoe with a rental, it won't be long before you make this affordable city your permanent home.

The median income in Glencoe comes in at $59,114 and the median home value is $142,200 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Heart of Dixie For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Alabama to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 103 places in Alabama that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Alabama according to the data is Lincoln. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Alabama Cheapskate

If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Alabama, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2020.

Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Alabama according to the data:

  1. Gulf Shores
  2. Auburn
  3. Tuscaloosa

For more Alabama reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Alabama?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Lincoln 15.33 6,600 1.7x 77.2x
2 Tuscumbia 16.33 8,426 2.1x 75.3x
3 Russellville 17.33 9,711 2.2x 73.6x
4 Roanoke 22.0 5,941 2.1x 63.6x
5 Attalla 22.33 5,847 1.7x 60.5x
6 Hamilton 23.67 6,664 2.5x 73.1x
7 Hartselle 26.33 14,405 2.3x 89.6x
8 Clay 26.33 9,653 2.2x 83.1x
9 Pinson 28.5 7,121 2.0x 68.1x
10 Glencoe 28.67 5,120 2.4x 105.4x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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