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You don't have to become the next quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals to live in most cities in Ohio. There are many cities in the Buckeye State that scream affordable.
Yes, learning the value of the dollar is important, but you don't want to stress about it daily when looking for a gold star Ohio neighborhood, awesome Ohio goetta, or amazing quality of life in Ohio. Now don't sweat it you're looking for that Ohio big city vibe, the kind we find in Ohio's king cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Columbus, and you don't see it on our top ten most affordable cities in Ohio in 2020 list.
We recommend you look a little deeper because there are plenty of other stylish, amazing, happening, affordable Ohio cities wanting you to call them home. If you ask any Ohioan, they will say, hands down, that their city is the best. Heck, there's a reason 'The Heart of it All' is the sixth most populous state in the country. While we definitely think it has a little something to do with the great people of the state; we know that to the economically savvy, to truly be the best, the state must have the nicest, most affordable places to call home.
Now just because a city is affordable, does not make them boring. There are many cities on our list with amazing parks, quaint downtowns, and/or exploding art scenes.
So grab some Skyline Chili and a cold Yuengling, and read on.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Ohio
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.
So, what does the most affordable place to live in Ohio 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, Bellevue wins the box of Buckeye chocolates.
If you care about home values, cost of living, and high quality of life, take a look at the list below to find the most affordable places in Ohio, where your salary will let you live like Midwest royalty.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Ohio and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Ohio For 2020
If you want to live like a king or queen without breaking the bank, there's nowhere better in Ohio than Bellevue. Heck, you can even mine for gems at Seneca Caverns to supplement your already substantial savings potential. Median rent in Bellevue is an incredibly cheap $(median_rent)/month, which is even impressive when you're living in one of the most affordable states in the country. And while buying a home in Bellevue isn't crazy cheap, it is when you take into account how much Bellevue residents earn. With a median income of $54,210 and a median home price of $98,800, Bellevue has the 15th lowest ratio of home price to income in the state.
Bellevue is located between the cities of Cleveland and Toledo.
The median household income in Bellevue comes in at $54,210 and the median home value is $98,800 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.3%.
Coming in as the second most affordable place in Ohio is Wapakoneta, a city located about 60 miles north of Dayton. The cost of rent and the median income in Wapakoneta are almost identical to those in Bellevue, but a slightly higher median home price of $105,000 makes Wapakoneta slightly more expensive overall.
Your savings will grow pretty quickly in Wapakoneta, and you shouldn't be afraid to dream big here. Wapakoneta's native son Neil Armstrong, made it to the moon, so keep that in mind if your money-saving goals seem like an unachievable dream.
The median household income in Wapakoneta comes in at $54,818 and the median home value is $105,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.9%.
Hubbard's motto is "where opportunity begins" and boy is that accurate. Rent goes for around $639/month in Hubbard, so if you split it with a roommate or two, your monthly coffee budget might outstrip your housing costs. The median home price in Hubbard is 97,900 and the median income is 50,487, giving Hubbard only a slightly worse ratio of home price to income than the cities above. If you're really trying to maximize your savings in Hubbard, there are plenty of things to do for free, like hiking around McGuffey Wildlife Preserve.
Hubbard is a suburb of Youngstown.
The median household income in Hubbard comes in at $50,487 and the median home value is $97,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.5%.
A suburb of Dayton, Clayton is the most populous city on this list.
Housing is a bit pricier in Clayton than the cities we've already looked at, but the city makes up for it by having a better-paid populace. Folks in Clayton earn a median income of $74,795 and the median home price is $129,900, which gives Clayton the seventh ratio of home price to income ratio in the state and the best ranking of any city on this list. On top of that, Clayton has the best income to rent ratio of any city on this list. You'll need a pretty well-paying job to really feel that Clayton is inexpensive, but the city scored an 8/10 on the jobs portion of our snackability scale, so we don't see that as being a problem.
The median household income in Clayton comes in at $74,795 and the median home value is $129,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.1%.
Another Youngstown suburb, Girard, ranks as the fifth cheapest city in Ohio. The median rent in Girard is $598, giving Girard the lowest rent on this list in a state already known for having super low rent prices. The median income in Girard is $40,811 and the median home price is $79,900, giving Girard the 29th best ratio of home price to income in the state.
Girard wasn't even in the top 20 most affordable cities in Ohio in 2019, so this #5 ranking in 2020 is quite the feat.
The median household income in Girard comes in at $40,811 and the median home value is $79,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.4%.
Martins Ferry is the sixth most affordable city in Ohio, thanks to the low price tag on housing. With a median home price of $74,500 and a median income of $39,846, Martins Ferry has the most impressive home price to income ratios of any city on this list. Meaning you'll have plenty of extra cash to play with at the Wheeling Island casino. On the flip side, the income to rent ratio in Martins Ferry is the worst of any city on this list, so it's a good idea to buy instead of rent here.
Martins Ferry is located across the Ohio River from Wheeling, West Virginia.
The median household income in Martins Ferry comes in at $39,846 and the median home value is $74,500 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.4%.
Located in northeastern Ohio along Lake Eerie, Conneaut ranks as the seventh cheapest city in the state. With the beach and boardwalk at Conneaut Township Park, it's easy to live the high life on a budget in Conneaut. Folks in Conneaut earn a median income of $45,044 and pay a median price of $86,000 for homes. That gives Conneaut the 23rd best home price to income ratio in Ohio. While the median rent in Conneaut is only $655, it's still more economical to buy then rent here, taken as a proportion of income.
The median household income in Conneaut comes in at $45,044 and the median home value is $86,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 8.4%.
At $133,600, Trenton has one of the most expensive median home prices on this list. However, because residents of Trenton earn a median income of $73,297, the city has the 16th best ratio of home price to income in the Ohio. And though the median rent may seem steep at $809, it's still about 33% less than the statewide average in an already cheap state.
Trenton is located just west of Middletown in the southwestern part of the state.
The median household income in Trenton comes in at $73,297 and the median home value is $133,600 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.7%.
Located between Columbus and Toledo, Kenton is the ninth most affordable city in Ohio. Kenton makes this list because it has the 27th lowest ratio of home price to income in the state. Kenton residents pay a median price of $78,600 for homes and earn a median income of $40,523. While the median rent in Kenton seems low at $612, it'll take up a higher proportion of your paycheck than if you choose to buy. If you spend your free time hiking around Lawrence Woods, you'll have plenty of extra cash either way.
The median household income in Kenton comes in at $40,523 and the median home value is $78,600 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 8.7%.
The tenth most affordable place to live in Ohio is Northwood, a suburb of Toledo. Northwood makes the cut by being a solid place to buy or rent, with a median home price of $123,200 and a median rent of $766. If those seem a bit pricey compared to other cities on this list, remember that the median income in Northwood is $63,816, so housing costs a smaller percentage of your salary here.
Even though Northwood is at the bottom of this list, it's still an impressive feat when you're in one of the cheapest states in America.
The median household income in Northwood comes in at $63,816 and the median home value is $123,200 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.2%.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Buckeye State For 2020
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- 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 Ohio 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 253 places in Ohio that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Ohio according to the data is Bellevue. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Ohio Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Ohio, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Ohio for 2020.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Ohio according to the data:
For more Ohio reading, check out:
- Best Places To Buy A House In Ohio
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Ohio
- Most Dangerous Cities In Ohio
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Ohio
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