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Since living in large urban centers it the new "to do," cities that used to be affordable ten years ago are not putting significant strains on wallets that used to have little issues
So what are you to do? If you just graduated college or are looking to change careers, have a lot of school debt, and don't want to live paycheck to paycheck, what are your options? The obvious method is to lower the cost of living while increasing your salary. And what could be more affordable than Pennsylvania. The state may not be the first that comes to mind when you think cheap, but hey, there are a few gems!
Pennsylvania is a state full of American history, baseball, and chocolate. Yes, you read that right: chocolate. The chocolate capital of the United States, Hershey, is located in Pennsylvania and you can probably imagine what is manufactured in millions there. Millions upon millions of kisses, chocolate Hershey's kisses, to be exact. Pennsylvania is also home to major metro areas like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Who can resist a Philly Cheese-Steak or a good Pirates game?
So if you've ever wondered if you could pay mere pennies to live in Pennsylvania, this article is perfect for you.
What is the cheapest place to live in pennsylvania? After taking several key factors into account, including home and rent prices compared to income, one city reigned cheapest over the rest: Greenville, PA.
What is so great about Greenville, other than its affordability? Greenville not only stays affordable (it also ranked first last year) but also is a small suburb of Pittsburgh. So you can live it up in the big city, but not spend all your money to live there.
Pottsville, a close neighbor of Schuylkill Haven, also ranks highly on our list and boasts the D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewing Complex. Does the name sound familiar? Yup, you can live for cheap in this town and get a great pint of Yuengling on draft.
Interested to see how we crunched the numbers? Read on to learn more about our methodology and why Pennsylvania is such a great state for affordable living.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Pennsylvania and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Pennsylvania For 2020
Greenville is a borough in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, United States. Located along the Shenango River, it is roughly 80 miles from both Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Greenville is part of the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is home to 570,000 people.
The median income in Greenville comes in at $44,438 and the median home value is $76,300 for 2020.
Oil City is a city in Venango County, Pennsylvania, that is known in the initial exploration and development of the petroleum industry. After the first oil wells were drilled nearby in the 1850s, Oil City became central in the petroleum industry while hosting headquarters for the Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Wolf's Head motor oil companies. Tourism plays a prominent role in the region by promoting oil heritage sites, nature trails, and Victorian architecture. The population was 10,557 at the 2010 census, and is the principal city of the Oil City, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area.
The median income in Oil City comes in at $37,543 and the median home value is $49,100 for 2020.
The median income in West Mifflin comes in at $53,056 and the median home value is $98,800 for 2020.
The median income in Sugarcreek comes in at $41,658 and the median home value is $77,600 for 2020.
Pottsville is a city in, and the county seat of, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 14,324 at the 2010 census, and is the principal city of the Pottsville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies along the west bank of the Schuylkill River, 52 miles south of Wilkes Barre. It is located in Pennsylvania's Coal Region.
The median income in Pottsville comes in at $40,645 and the median home value is $68,100 for 2020.
The median income in New Brighton comes in at $38,329 and the median home value is $71,000 for 2020.
Clearfield is a borough and second most populous community in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, United States, behind DuBois. Clearfield is also the county seat of Clearfield County. As of the 2010 census the population was 6,215 people. The borough is part of the DuBois, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area, as well as the larger State College-DuBois, PA Combined Statistical Area. The settled area surrounding the borough consists of the nearby census-designated places of Hyde and Plymptonville, which combined with Clearfield have a population of approximately 8,595 people.
The median income in Clearfield comes in at $45,594 and the median home value is $86,100 for 2020.
DuBois DOO-boys is a city in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, United States, 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The population was 7,794 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city in the DuBois, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area. DuBois is also one of two principal cities, the other being State College, that make up the larger State College-DuBois, PA Combined Statistical Area.
The median income in Dubois comes in at $48,193 and the median home value is $90,500 for 2020.
Warren is a city in Warren County, Pennsylvania, United States, located along the Allegheny River. The population was 9,710 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Warren County. It is home to the headquarters of the Allegheny National Forest and the Cornplanter State Forest. It is also the headquarters for the Chief Cornplanter Council, the oldest continuously chartered Boy Scouts of America Council, and the catalog company Blair. Warren is the principal city of the Warren, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area.
The median income in Warren comes in at $41,816 and the median home value is $80,800 for 2020.
Brentwood is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, and is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The population was 9,643 at the 2010 census.
The median income in Brentwood comes in at $55,809 and the median home value is $98,800 for 2020.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Keystone 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 Pennsylvania 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 186 places in Pennsylvania that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Pennsylvania according to the data is Greenville. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Pennsylvania Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Pennsylvania, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Pennsylvania for 2020.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Pennsylvania according to the data:
- State College
- West Chester
For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:
- Best Places To Buy A House In Pennsylvania
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Pennsylvania
- Richest Cities In Pennsylvania
Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Pennsylvania?