The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia For 2019


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

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

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Have you looked at your bank account recently and thought to yourself, “I really need to start saving more money,” but don’t know how?

We often think that when we graduate college, a job will come, and we will finally be able to have money like adults and start living the good life. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. With student loans, moving costs, and career startup costs, you may find that there is less in your bank at the end of the month than you originally hoped.

After graduation, new job-seekers are looking for their first real job. Something exciting in a new city with vibrant nightlife and home to millions of other Millenials. A city like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York City. But is that the best decision for your bank?

To make your feeble mid-20s cash supplies last longer, you have to think smarter. And what’s a smarter way to lower monthly costs than living in a place that is super cheap?

You can have great careers and social lives in smaller towns that won’t take thousands away per month in rent alone.

If you like beautiful mountains, weekend getaways in Washington, D.C, the beach, and historical sites, you may want to give living in Virginia a chance.

Virginia is known for its caverns in the mountains, Colonial Williamsburg, and a major base for the U.S. Navy.

“Virginia is for lovers” is a common phrase seen across the state. Perhaps you would enjoy drinking wine at one of Virginia’s many vineyards, sipping hot chocolate after an afternoon skiing on the slopes of Wintergreen, or even have a picnic on Virginia Beach on a sunny day.

Virginia is a great place for you and any date and the best part of it is that these dates won’t wreck your wallet.

Have we caught your attention yet? We hope so because Virginia is a great state to live in for many reasons and its low cost of living is one of the state’s best attributes.

Ready to explore the cheapest places in Virginia?

Looking to live in a cute foothills town? Check out Big Stone Gap. Maybe the mountains aren’t for you? No worries, because Martinsville and Danville are ready for you.

If you are looking for research hubs, there are many places surrounding UVA in Charlottesville and if you are seeking to make more religious roots, Liberty University near Lynchburg might be a great hub for you. Christiansburg is just outside of Virginia Tech.

No matter where you choose in Virginia, you will likely have more to save at the end of each month. Who doesn’t like having extra cash?

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

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia For 2019

Pulaski, VA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 8,860
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.6x (10th cheapest)
More On Pulaski: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Pulaski is a town in Pulaski County, Virginia, United States. The population was 9,086 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Pulaski County.

The median income in Pulaski comes in at $40,711 and the median home value is $109,300 for 2019.

Big Stone Gap, VA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,395
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.9x (12th cheapest)
More On Big Stone Gap: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Big Stone Gap is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States. The population was 5,643 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Big Stone Gap comes in at $40,619 and the median home value is $110,900 for 2019.

Review Of Big Stone Gap by HomeSnacks User

I have lived in Big Stone Gap for nearly sixteen years, almost my entire life. Moreover, I must imply, if your not a teacher, do not obtain a position in a hospital, or work at a jail, then you will waste your time trying to find a satisfactory stream of income here. One of the main sources for wealth in several of the areas listed, was the coal industry. As anyone can guess, most of the firms have released their employees’ positions because of the strict regulations that the Obama administration has placed. Which leads to towns such as this one, to become quite poor.

Marion, VA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,814
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.7x (14th cheapest)
More On Marion: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Marion is a town in Smyth County, Virginia, United States. The population was 6,033 according to a 2017 count- not estimate- using local resources, information and current data. It is the county seat. The town is named for American Revolutionary War officer Francis Marion.

The median income in Marion comes in at $31,933 and the median home value is $91,300 for 2019.

Bluefield, VA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,058
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.4x (8th cheapest)
More On Bluefield: Homes For Sale | Data

Bluefield is a town in Tazewell County, Virginia, United States, located along the Bluestone River. The population was 5,444 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,342. The micropolitan area is the 350th largest statistical population area in the United States.

The median income in Bluefield comes in at $44,010 and the median home value is $125,100 for 2019.

Danville, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 41,911
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.7x (26th cheapest)
More On Danville: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Danville is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 43,055. It is bounded by Pittsylvania County, Virginia and Caswell County, North Carolina. It hosts the Danville Braves baseball club of the Appalachian League.

The median income in Danville comes in at $34,951 and the median home value is $90,900 for 2019.

Review Of Danville by HomeSnacks User

I have lived in Danville, VA my entire 33+ years of life. Yes it’s home to me, but it’s not where I want to spend the rest of my life & this is why. I would not recommend moving here unless you plan on retiring. There are no good paying jobs here unless you happen to get a job at one of the few factory’s they have left. All they have are shopping & food places so restaurant, fast food, retail & banks are almost your only job options. When you compare the income of minimum wage to the cost of living & necessities like food & gas, good luck being to make it happily on your own without assistance.

There’s nothing to do around here because people don’t know how to act. The crime rate, murders, assault, robberies & shootings are horrible. Places have had to move their closing time earlier because of shootings & crime after hours. This is why I am currently looking to relocate away from Danville, VA…

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,675
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.7x (37th cheapest)
More On Covington: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Covington comes in at $35,546 and the median home value is $72,200 for 2019.

Martinsville, VA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 13,256
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.3x (35th cheapest)
More On Martinsville: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Martinsville is an independent city near the southern border of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,821. It is the county seat of Henry County, although the two are separate jurisdictions. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Martinsville with Henry County for statistical purposes.

The median income in Martinsville comes in at $33,545 and the median home value is $90,100 for 2019.

Review Of Martinsville by HomeSnacks User

Born and raised in martinsville, hated it nothing to do and very dangerous, but after I left for the service never thought I miss that h**l hole like I did

Watch out for rednecks there everywhere

Richlands, VA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,513
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.5x (34th cheapest)
More On Richlands: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Richlands is a town in Tazewell County, Virginia, United States. The population was 5,823 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Bluefield, WV-VA micropolitan area which has a population of 107,578.

The median income in Richlands comes in at $28,410 and the median home value is $84,300 for 2019.

Christiansburg, VA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 21,892
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.4x (6th cheapest)
More On Christiansburg: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Christiansburg is a town in Montgomery County, Virginia, United States. The population was 21,041 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County. Christiansburg, Blacksburg, and Radford are the three principal municipalities of the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses those municipalities and all of Montgomery County.

The median income in Christiansburg comes in at $60,223 and the median home value is $182,300 for 2019.

Bristol, VA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 17,077
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.2x (27th cheapest)
More On Bristol: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Bristol is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,835. It is the twin city of Bristol, Tennessee, just across the state line, which runs down the middle of its main street, State Street. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Bristol, Virginia, with neighboring Washington County, Virginia, for statistical purposes. Bristol is a principal city of the Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a component of the Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area – commonly known as the “Tri-Cities” region.

The median income in Bristol comes in at $37,844 and the median home value is $114,100 for 2019.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Old Dominion For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia
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 Virginia 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 62 places in Virginia that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Virginia according to the data is Pulaski.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Virginia Cheapskate

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

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

  1. Blacksburg
  2. Williamsburg
  3. Lexington

For more Virginia reading, check out:

What Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Virginia?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Pulaski 6.67 8,860 2.7x 67.6x
2 Big Stone Gap 8.33 5,395 2.7x 63.9x
3 Marion 8.67 5,814 2.9x 62.7x
4 Bluefield 9.67 5,058 2.8x 70.4x
5 Danville 10.67 41,911 2.6x 55.7x
6 Covington 13.0 5,675 2.0x 51.7x
7 Martinsville 14.0 13,256 2.7x 52.3x
8 Richlands 14.67 5,513 3.0x 52.5x
9 Christiansburg 15.0 21,892 3.0x 71.4x
10 Bristol 16.33 17,077 3.0x 55.2x

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