10 Cheapest Places To Live In Minnesota For 2019


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

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Minnesota.

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Minnesota is The Land of 11,000 Lakes, some pretty nice people, and super great, super affordable cities.

Word on the street is that Minnesotans don’t know what unemployment is. They have over 20 Fortune 500 companies, they are the home to Target (yes folks, Target), and we can thank Edina, MN for Caribou Coffee. Minnesota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.

And if you know anything about economics, good jobs increase median incomes which translates to most people being able to afford to live in most Minnesota cities. That’s a good thing because Minnesota has a lot to offer. They have hip millennial cities like Minneapolis, cool college cities like Saint Paul, and cities where you can escape life like Big Falls.

More importantly, affordability in the North Star State means that you can spend the extra change in your pocket on the fun things that Minnesota offers: like Minnesota Vikings tickets, a cabin on Leech Lake, or just a trip to ‘The Big City”.

And if you’re into that outdoor, middle of nowhere, Minnesota vibe, you’re in luck. Most of our top 10 most affordable cities in Minnesota are just that — based on Census data around cost of living.

So, crank some Purple Rain, grab some hot dish, and read on.

It’s simple economics, people. The less you have to spend on bills, the more you will have to spend on things that matter: like your home, good food, and just overall good fun.

This economic formula for affordability is no different for the good people of Minnesota.

What does the most affordable place to live in Minnesota look like? Well, after crunching data from the US Census in terms of median housing costs, median income, and overall cost of living for cities with over 5,000 residents, Montevideo is the cheapest.

So, if you care about home values, cost of living, and great jobs, take a look at the list below to find the most affordable places in Minnesota: safe, affordable cities where your salary will let you live like a Minnesota Twin.

The rest of the country could learn a lot from the Gopher State.

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

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Minnesota For 2019

Montevideo, MN

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,165
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 85.8x (24th cheapest)
More On Montevideo: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Montevideo comes in at $50,625 and the median home value is $84,800 for 2019.

Hibbing, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 16,183
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (16th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 82.5x (29th cheapest)
More On Hibbing: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Hibbing is a city in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 16,361 at the 2010 census. The city was built on the rich iron ore of the Mesabi Iron Range. At the edge of town is the largest open-pit iron mine in the world, the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine. U.S. Highway 169, State Highway 37, State Highway 73, Howard Street, and 1st Avenue are five of the main routes in Hibbing. The Range Regional Airport offers daily commercial flights between Hibbing and Minneapolis, as well as hosting many private pilots and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fire fighting aircraft.

The median income in Hibbing comes in at $44,659 and the median home value is $103,800 for 2019.

New Ulm, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 13,249
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (22nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 93.8x (15th cheapest)
More On New Ulm: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

New Ulm is a city in Brown County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,522 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brown County.

The median income in New Ulm comes in at $55,876 and the median home value is $136,400 for 2019.

Kasson, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 6,228
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 114.5x (3rd cheapest)
More On Kasson: Homes For Sale | Data

Kasson is a city in Dodge County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 5,931 at the 2010 census. The city is located 13 miles west of Rochester, Minnesota along U.S. Highway 14 and is one of the endpoints of Minnesota State Highway 57. The Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad’s main freight rail line also runs through the city. Kasson shares a school system with nearby Mantorville, Minnesota. The K-M school system is a member of the Zumbro Education school district. Kasson is part of the Rochester, MN Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The median income in Kasson comes in at $71,098 and the median home value is $163,500 for 2019.

Crookston, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,780
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.1x (52nd cheapest)
More On Crookston: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Crookston is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It is the county seat of Polk County. The population was 7,891 at the 2010 census. It is part of the “Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area” or “Greater Grand Forks”.

The median income in Crookston comes in at $50,678 and the median home value is $110,900 for 2019.

Fairmont, MN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,251
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (29th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 84.0x (27th cheapest)
More On Fairmont: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Fairmont is a city in and the county seat of Martin County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 10,666 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Fairmont comes in at $48,973 and the median home value is $121,800 for 2019.

Byron, MN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,272
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 98.8x (9th cheapest)
More On Byron: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Byron is a city in Olmsted County, Minnesota, United States, approximately 5 miles west of Rochester on U.S. Route 14. It is surrounded by Kalmar Township. The population was 4,914 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Byron comes in at $90,486 and the median home value is $183,000 for 2019.

Isanti, MN

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 5,458
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 79.2x (42nd cheapest)
More On Isanti: Homes For Sale | Data

The median income in Isanti comes in at $70,129 and the median home value is $147,200 for 2019.

International Falls, MN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,121
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.8x (74th cheapest)
More On International Falls: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

International Falls is a city in and the county seat of Koochiching County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 6,424 at the 2010 census.

The median income in International Falls comes in at $41,241 and the median home value is $86,500 for 2019.

St. Francis, MN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,475
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 81.2x (32nd cheapest)
More On St. Francis: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

St. Francis is a city in Anoka and Isanti counties, Minnesota, United States. The population was 7,218 at the 2010 census.

The median income in St. Francis comes in at $77,935 and the median home value is $172,300 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The North Star State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Minnesota
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 2013-2017 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 Minnesota 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 144 places in Minnesota that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Minnesota according to the data is Montevideo.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Minnesota Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Minnesota, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in minnesota for 2019.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Minnesota according to the data:

  1. Hopkins
  2. Minneapolis
  3. Little Canada

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Minnesota?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Montevideo 9.0 5,165 1.7x 85.8x
2 Hibbing 17.33 16,183 2.3x 82.5x
3 New Ulm 19.33 13,249 2.4x 93.8x
4 Kasson 19.67 6,228 2.3x 114.5x
5 Crookston 23.33 7,780 2.2x 76.1x
6 Fairmont 23.33 10,251 2.5x 84.0x
7 Byron 25.67 5,272 2.0x 98.8x
8 Isanti 26.0 5,458 2.1x 79.2x
9 International Falls 27.33 6,121 2.1x 71.8x
10 St. Francis 31.67 7,475 2.2x 81.2x

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.