These Are The 10 Cheapest Cities To Live In America For 2018


We used the most recent cost of living data to determine the cheapest large cities in America to call home.

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Everyone wants to save a buck, right?

While most of us could be considered cheapskates every now and then, we don’t actually live somewhere to intentionally live a cheap lifestyle.

Sure, people move into the suburbs to save on living expenses, or flee to the midwest for better life. But we don’t expect people to move to the cities we’re about to talk about just because they have a lower cost of living.

When you see the list, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

So, how do we define ‘cheap’ anyways? While we can’t tell if a population is generous or not, we can measure the cost of living in a place based on criteria most people would agree makes sense. So we used that criteria to determine the cheapest of the cheap cities in the States.

To see exactly how we calculated these rankings, read on.

Or if you’re simply not interested in reading about saving a buck, check out:

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How We Determined The Most Affordable Large Cities in The US

When we analyze what it’s like to live in a certain place, we simply look at statistics. You can get any demographic information online – you only have to sort it a particular way.

For this analysis we used cost of living data for major cities across America.

In particular, we looked at following considerations:

  • Cost of city services (water, gas, trash)
  • Cost of groceries
  • Healthcare costs
  • Housing costs
  • Transportation costs

These are the cost of living factors we used. As you see, we didn’t factor in salary numbers. You’ll see why later. And keep in mind, we only looked at cities with 100,000 or more people, leaving us with about 300 cities total to rank.

To score the cities, we ranked each one from 1 to 300 where 1 is the “cheapest” for that category. We then averaged the three rankings into a cheap score with the lowest overall score being crowned most affordable city to live in America.

Here’s a look at the top ten.

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1. Laredo, TX

Laredo, Tx

Population: 236,063
Services: 76
Groceries: 79
Utilities: 76
More on Laredo: PhotosRankings | Data

We know what you’re thinking – “I don’t care how cheap it is to live in Laredo, Texas, I’m never moving there.”

We don’t blame you. But when you factor in the numbers, Laredo is far, far, far cheaper than anywhere else in America to live.

2. Erie, PA

Erie, Pa

Population: 101,454
Services: 89
Groceries: 78
Utilities: 89
More on Erie: PhotosRankings | Data

No wonder Erie, PA is so cheap. There really isn’t a lot going on, right?

Actually, we’re being a little tough. Summers are pleasant. And the folks here are pretty nice. But there isn’t a cheaper place in America to get groceries. So, if you’re passing through, stock up! Now you know.

3. Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, Tn

Population: 179,973
Services: 93
Groceries: 84
Utilities: 93
More on Knoxville: PhotosRankings | Data

Knoxville is a fairly dangerous place with a crummy economy, so you’ll understand why the cost of living is so low.

Like Erie, the cost for a family of four to get groceries for a week is extremely low. Even without coupons!

4. Wichita Falls, TX

Wichita Falls, Tx

Population: 104,152
Services: 90
Groceries: 99
Utilities: 90
More on Wichita Falls: PhotosRankings | Data

If you live in Wichita Falls, you might be pleasantly surprised to hear that your transportation costs are the 2nd-lowest in America. That includes gas and auto insurance.

Groceries are actually on the most expensive side here for some reason.

5. Pueblo, CO

Pueblo, Co

Population: 106,944
Services: 84
Groceries: 97
Utilities: 84
More on Pueblo: PhotosRankings | Data

Welcome to Pueblo, Colorado, where criminals are free to roam.

City services are the 3rd-cheapest in the country here. That’s probably why people who live in Pueblo complain about the city services all the time. Hey, careful what you wish for, right?

6. Norman, OK

Norman, Ok

Population: 111,753
Services: 88
Groceries: 91
Utilities: 88
More on Norman: PhotosRankings | Data

Norman Oklahoma has the cheapest public utilities in the nation, where a family can expect to pay only about $100 a month for all the basics. That doesn’t include everyone’s astronomic internet bill, nor does it include Comcast’s rapidly inflating cable bills.

7. Brownsville, TX

Brownsville, Tx

Source: Public domain

Population: 175,210
Services: 74
Groceries: 82
Utilities: 74
More on Brownsville: PhotosRankings | Data

It looks like so far, Texas has some of the cheapest places to live in America

No one ever said Brownsville was anything to be desired. But for those who live there, they get to take advantage of some of the least expensive groceries, utilities and basic services in America.

8. Jackson, MS

Jackson, Ms

Source: Public domain

Population: 174,382
Services: 85
Groceries: 98
Utilities: 85
More on Jackson: PhotosRankings | Data

Jackson has average grocery costs, and water/gas/power bills aren’t extremely low, but across the board, there isn’t a cheaper place in the deep south to exist. And that’s saying something; most people in the south take pride on living as cheaply as possible.

9. Memphis, TN

Memphis, Tn

Population: 651,050
Services: 93
Groceries: 91
Utilities: 93
More on Memphis: PhotosRankings | Data

Memphis ranks in the bottom 10% for just about every category we measured except for city utilities.

10. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio, Tx

Population: 1,335,287
Services: 102
Groceries: 83
Utilities: 102
More on San Antonio: PhotosRankings | Data

Rounding out the cheapest cities to live in America is San Antonio. Surprised? We would have thought El Paso would be a lot cheaper than San Antonio.

But when you think about it, outside of River Walk, there really isn’t much to do here. Which is part of the reason it’s so cheap to live there.

There You Have It — The Cheapest Big Cities in America

After measuring every cost of living factor that makes sense, there isn’t a clear ‘region’ that has the advantage for cheap living.

And while this is good news for the places we mentioned, if you happen to live in Yonkers, NY, Jersey City, NJ or San Francisco, CA, you’re probably head over heels in living expenses.

We don’t envy you.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in America:

  1. Orlando
  2. Ann Arbor
  3. Huntsville

For more reading, check out:

Most Affordable Cities In America For 2018

City Rank Population Services Groceries Health care
Laredo, TX 1 76 79 81
Erie, PA 2 89 78 84
Knoxville, TN 3 93 84 89
Wichita Falls, TX 4 90 99 93
Pueblo, CO 5 84 97 92
Norman, OK 6 88 91 86
Brownsville, TX 7 74 82 91
Jackson, MS 8 85 98 89
Memphis, TN 9 93 91 85
San Antonio, TX 10 102 83 92
Fort Wayne, IN 11 96 92 92
Shreveport, LA 12 93 96 87
Lubbock, TX 13 94 91 101
Des Moines, IA 14 92 93 97
Tulsa, OK 15 97 93 96
Oklahoma City, OK 16 92 90 97
Amarillo, TX 17 92 98 100
Abilene, TX 18 101 92 94
Rochester, MN 19 94 93 91
Columbus, OH 20 96 90 97
Waco, TX 21 99 79 99
Houston, TX 22 101 86 91
Beaumont, TX 23 90 98 95
Birmingham, AL 24 99 102 81
Lafayette, LA 25 93 95 85
Kansas City, KS 26 103 89 99
Indianapolis, IN 27 98 94 99
New Orleans, LA 28 93 98 99
El Paso, TX 29 93 103 89
Independence, MO 30 103 89 99
Buffalo, NY 31 85 88 89
Killeen, TX 32 93 83 101
Topeka, KS 33 104 98 92
Metairie, LA 34 93 98 99
Baton Rouge, LA 35 97 99 101
Kansas City, MO 36 103 89 99
Omaha, NE 37 95 95 102
Lansing, MI 38 101 94 95
Montgomery, AL 39 97 98 81
Evansville, IN 40 92 93 92
Cincinnati, OH 41 93 93 95
Springfield, MO 42 99 100 94
Grand Rapids, MI 43 101 94 95
Glendale, AZ 44 92 101 97
Mesa, AZ 45 92 101 97
Flint, MI 46 96 90 99
Detroit, MI 47 96 90 99
Albuquerque, NM 48 93 103 89
Colorado Springs, CO 49 96 95 103
Louisville, KY 50 102 96 90
Phoenix, AZ 51 92 101 97
Midland, TX 52 100 93 96
Warren, MI 53 96 90 99
Chattanooga, TN 54 97 95 103
Olathe, KS 55 103 89 99
Spokane, WA 56 95 92 114
Round Rock, TX 57 96 84 102
Corpus Christi, TX 58 97 83 95
Columbia, MO 59 101 96 99
Clarksville, TN 60 102 94 86
Peoria, IL 61 98 98 96
Peoria, AZ 62 92 101 97
Cedar Rapids, IA 63 93 94 102
Columbus, GA 64 110 101 87
Tempe, AZ 65 92 101 97
Surprise, AZ 66 92 101 97
Odessa, TX 67 100 90 103
Rockford, IL 68 96 96 103
Lincoln, NE 69 99 100 101
Overland Park, KS 70 103 89 99
Nashville, TN 71 102 94 86
Mobile, AL 72 96 103 88
Toledo, OH 73 101 103 97
Wichita, KS 74 98 94 99
Greensboro, NC 75 94 100 99
Chandler, AZ 76 92 101 97
Murfreesboro, TN 77 102 94 86
Little Rock, AR 78 98 95 85
Sterling Heights, MI 79 96 90 99
High Point, NC 80 91 102 111
Gilbert, AZ 81 92 101 97
Springfield, IL 82 103 101 106
Fort Collins, CO 83 91 97 101
West Valley City, UT 84 101 95 91
Durham, NC 85 97 96 101
Clearwater, FL 86 96 99 91
Akron, OH 87 91 114 90
Brandon, FL 88 96 99 91
Provo, UT 89 101 95 91
Tampa, FL 90 96 99 91
Scottsdale, AZ 91 92 101 97
Fayetteville, NC 92 100 100 99
Dayton, OH 93 104 107 91
Billings, MT 94 101 101 106
Tallahassee, FL 95 86 107 97
Salt Lake City, UT 96 101 95 91
West Jordan, UT 97 101 95 91
Huntsville, AL 98 103 95 96
Ann Arbor, MI 99 96 90 99
Orlando, FL 100 98 107 96

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