These Are The 10 Most Affordable Places In Minnesota


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

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A wise sage once said “she works hard for the money” and these places in Minnesota definitely treat her right.

You see, these are the places in Minnesota where the cost of living is the lowest; where your salary goes the furthest. And when if you have the luxury of choosing where to live in the North Star State, then the cost of living should play a role in the decision.

So we did the hard for you and crunched the numbers to find the cities that have lower food, energy, and housing costs. After the dust settled on our analysis of the 130 largest places in Minnesota, we were left with this set of the best value for your money:

  1. Albert Lea
  2. Austin
  3. International Falls
  4. Thief River Falls
  5. Redwood Falls
  6. Hibbing
  7. Virginia
  8. Fairmont
  9. Crookston
  10. Montevideo

So listen up Orono as we explain how we created this ranking, you could learn some things from the rest of the state.

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How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The North Star State

There are basic necessities that you have to buy no matter where in the country you live. Those things include:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Health Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Transportation

You can then compare the cost of these things in each of the places in Minnesota to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” that normalizes to 100 for an average place in the United States.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 130 places in Minnesota that have more than 5,000 people.

And just so you can better understand how the cost of living index works, 100 is the average cost of a place in the United States. A score of 90 means that the place cost 10% less than average. A score of 90 means it’s 10% less expensive.

San Francisco has a score of 243 meaning it’s almost 2.5 times as expensive as the average place in the country.

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1. Albert Lea

Albert Lea, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 17,969
Services: 94
Groceries: 93
Healthcare: 91
Housing: 54
Transportation: 90
Utiltiies: 93

2. Austin

Austin, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,632
Services: 94
Groceries: 93
Healthcare: 91
Housing: 58
Transportation: 90
Utiltiies: 93

3. International Falls

International Falls, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,402
Services: 96
Groceries: 101
Healthcare: 114
Housing: 49
Transportation: 95
Utiltiies: 99

4. Thief River Falls

Thief River Falls, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,584
Services: 96
Groceries: 101
Healthcare: 114
Housing: 52
Transportation: 95
Utiltiies: 99

5. Redwood Falls

Redwood Falls, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,227
Services: 104
Groceries: 105
Healthcare: 111
Housing: 55
Transportation: 98
Utiltiies: 76

6. Hibbing

Hibbing, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 16,345
Services: 104
Groceries: 114
Healthcare: 114
Housing: 53
Transportation: 92
Utiltiies: 89

7. Virginia

Virginia, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,718
Services: 104
Groceries: 114
Healthcare: 114
Housing: 54
Transportation: 92
Utiltiies: 89

8. Fairmont

Fairmont, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,579
Services: 104
Groceries: 105
Healthcare: 111
Housing: 63
Transportation: 98
Utiltiies: 76

9. Crookston

Crookston, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,866
Services: 96
Groceries: 101
Healthcare: 114
Housing: 56
Transportation: 95
Utiltiies: 99

10. Montevideo

Montevideo, Minnesota

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,330
Services: 104
Groceries: 114
Healthcare: 114
Housing: 58
Transportation: 92
Utiltiies: 89

Detailed List Of Affordable Places In Minnesota

City Rank Population Services Grociers Healthcare
Albert Lea 1 17,969 94 93 91
Austin 2 24,632 94 93 91
International Falls 3 6,402 96 101 114
Thief River Falls 4 8,584 96 101 114
Redwood Falls 5 5,227 104 105 111
Hibbing 6 16,345 104 114 114
Virginia 7 8,718 104 114 114
Fairmont 8 10,579 104 105 111
Crookston 9 7,866 96 101 114
Montevideo 10 5,330 104 114 114
Worthington 11 12,701 104 105 111
New Ulm 12 13,435 104 105 111
Fergus Falls 13 13,220 96 101 114
Waseca 14 9,341 104 105 111
Little Falls 15 8,344 104 114 114
Brainerd 16 13,609 104 114 114
Morris 17 5,284 104 114 114
Willmar 18 19,541 104 114 114
Bemidji 19 13,485 96 101 114
Glencoe 20 5,633 104 105 111
Marshall 21 13,551 104 105 111
Grand Rapids 22 10,865 104 114 114
Stewartville 23 5,930 94 93 91
Cloquet 24 12,097 104 114 114
Litchfield 25 6,719 104 114 114
Kasson 26 5,907 104 105 111
Alexandria 27 11,260 104 114 114
Mankato 28 39,246 104 105 111
Rochester 29 106,903 94 93 91
Owatonna 30 25,489 104 105 111
Duluth 31 86,239 104 114 114
Hutchinson 32 14,111 104 114 114
Sauk Rapids 33 12,784 104 114 114
Detroit Lakes 34 8,615 96 101 114
East Grand Forks 35 8,502 96 101 114
Moorhead 36 38,091 96 101 114
Waite Park 37 6,702 104 114 114
Faribault 38 23,297 104 105 111
North Mankato 39 13,320 104 105 111
Winona 40 27,727 112 107 110
Zimmerman 41 5,168 104 114 114
Red Wing 42 16,444 109 105 103
Cambridge 43 8,088 110 105 103
Belle Plaine 44 6,625 104 105 111
Monticello 45 12,711 104 114 114
Brooklyn Center 46 30,144 110 105 103
North Branch 47 10,057 109 105 103
Isanti 48 5,228 110 105 103
Baxter 49 7,596 104 114 114
Columbia Heights 50 19,549 110 105 103
Buffalo 51 15,379 104 114 114
Big Lake 52 10,029 104 114 114
Big Lake 53 10,029 104 114 114
Lake City 54 5,173 112 107 110
Sartell 55 15,545 104 114 114
Spring Lake Park 56 6,445 110 105 103
Crystal 57 22,242 110 105 103
Hastings 58 22,072 109 105 103
New Prague 59 7,273 104 105 111
Anoka 60 17,250 110 105 103
Robbinsdale 61 14,048 110 105 103
Mounds View 62 12,229 110 105 103
Fridley 63 27,404 110 105 103
Northfield 64 19,900 109 105 103
Coon Rapids 65 61,739 110 105 103
Jordan 66 5,560 110 105 103
Richfield 67 35,347 110 105 103
Maplewood 68 38,186 109 105 103
New Hope 69 20,436 110 105 103
Oakdale 70 27,508 109 105 103
Brooklyn Park 71 75,843 110 105 103
Little Canada 72 9,819 109 105 103
Wyoming 73 7,746 109 105 103
Farmington 74 20,966 109 105 103
Delano 75 5,458 110 105 103
Albertville 76 6,969 110 105 103
White Bear Lake 77 23,797 109 105 103
Elk River 78 23,011 110 105 103
Minneapolis 79 385,023 110 105 103
Hermantown 80 9,418 104 114 114
Vadnais Heights 81 12,449 109 105 103
Blaine 82 57,384 110 105 103
Mound 83 9,108 110 105 103
New Brighton 84 21,549 110 105 103
Hopkins 85 17,661 110 105 103
Otsego 86 13,506 110 105 103
Roseville 87 33,833 109 105 103
Inver Grove Heights 88 33,867 109 105 103
Shakopee 89 37,150 110 105 103
Burnsville 90 60,676 110 105 103
Cottage Grove 91 34,635 109 105 103
Champlin 92 23,198 110 105 103
Waconia 93 10,707 110 105 103
Bloomington 94 83,658 110 105 103
Apple Valley 95 49,336 109 105 103
Forest Lake 96 18,390 109 105 103
Stillwater 97 18,229 109 105 103
Chaska 98 23,698 110 105 103
Eagan 99 64,538 109 105 103
Rosemount 100 21,749 109 105 103
East Bethel 101 11,609 110 105 103
Hugo 102 13,198 109 105 103
Shoreview 103 25,200 110 105 103
Ramsey 104 23,612 110 105 103
Falcon Heights 105 5,352 109 105 103
Lakeville 106 55,888 109 105 103
Andover 107 30,648 110 105 103
Golden Valley 108 20,454 110 105 103
Lino Lakes 109 20,276 109 105 103
Ham Lake 110 15,277 110 105 103
Maple Grove 111 61,802 110 105 103
Oak Grove 112 8,027 110 105 103
Woodbury 113 62,158 109 105 103
Savage 114 27,143 110 105 103
Prior Lake 115 22,946 110 105 103
Rogers 116 10,035 110 105 103
Minnetonka 117 50,151 110 105 103
Arden Hills 118 9,588 110 105 103
Plymouth 119 70,895 110 105 103
Mahtomedi 120 7,766 109 105 103
Corcoran 121 5,407 110 105 103
Eden Prairie 122 60,843 110 105 103
Mendota Heights 123 11,140 109 105 103
Lake Elmo 124 8,013 109 105 103
Chanhassen 125 23,229 110 105 103
Victoria 126 7,407 110 105 103
Minnetrista 127 6,367 110 105 103
Edina 128 48,155 110 105 103
Shorewood 129 7,350 110 105 103
Orono 130 7,494 110 105 103

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