These Are The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2019


We used data and science to determine which places in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.

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Most people think that Wisconsin cities are filled with a bunch of Laverne and Shirley look-alikes, Green Bay Packer snobs, and happy cows on happy farms.

While all this might be true for most Wisconsin cities, the trick is to find all of this goodness in the most affordable Wisconsin cities.

And while learning the value of the dollar is important, you don’t want to stress about it daily when looking for a safe, affordable Wisconsin neighborhood, a job that pays the bills and then some, or the best deal on Milwaukee’s Best.

Wisconsin residents are smart. They know a good deal when they see one. More importantly, they know that they can save money with every Wisconsin season.

In the fall and winter, residents head to their cabins to hunt and ice fish to offset their grocery budget. And when Wisconsin’s winter turns white, some some people plow snow, shovel snow, and/or blow snow for a little extra cash.

And with over 15,000 lakes at Wisconsin’s disposal, summer provides another round of affordable activities and budget busting tricks with fishing and great places to swim and camp that won’t break your bank. #Staycations

So, you don’t have to look any further if you choose The Badger State to call home. But you do have to check out our list below to find out the most affordable cities in Wisconsin for 2019.

We recommend that you grab yourself a brat, some cheese curds, and a chocolate milkshake, find yourself a sunny spot on Lake Michigan, and read on.

If you ask any Cheese Head, they will say, hands down, that their city is the best. Heck, there’s a reason The Badger State is the 20th most populous in the country.

And, yes, we think it has a little something to do with the great people, strong jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and health care; not mention, just good ‘ol clean Wisconsin livin’. But, to the economically savvy, to truly be the best, the state must have the nicest, most affordable places to call home. #TheMostBangForYourBuck

So, if you care about home values, cost of living, and gold star quality of life, take a look at the list below to see where your Wisconsin dollar will let you live like a Milwaukee Buck on a dairy farmer’s salary.

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

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

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin
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 Wisconsin 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 142 places in Wisconsin that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Wisconsin according to the data is Merrill.

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2019

Merrill, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 9,264
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 82.0x (25th cheapest)
More On Merrill: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Merrill is a city in and the county seat of Lincoln County, Wisconsin, United States. It is located to the south of and adjacent to the Town of Merrill. The population was 9,661, according to the 2010 census. Merrill is part of the United States Census Bureau’s Merrill MSA, which includes all of Lincoln County. Together with the Wausau MSA, which includes all of Marathon County, it forms the Wausau-Merrill CSA.

The median income in Merrill comes in at $48,653 and the median home value is $83,700 for 2019.

Rothschild, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,292
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (16th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 89.3x (13th cheapest)
More On Rothschild: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Rothschild comes in at $58,654 and the median home value is $138,300 for 2019.

Kronenwetter, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,534
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 95.4x (7th cheapest)
More On Kronenwetter: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Kronenwetter is a village in Marathon County, Wisconsin, United States. It is the largest village by land area in the state of Wisconsin, as well as in the entire United States, and the third-largest community by population in Marathon County. It is part of the Wausau, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of Kronenwetter was 7,210, an increase from the 2000 census which had the community at 5,369.

The median income in Kronenwetter comes in at $83,553 and the median home value is $167,900 for 2019.

Waupun, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 11,277
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (15th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.5x (47th cheapest)
More On Waupun: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Waupun is a city in Dodge and Fond du Lac counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 11,340 at the 2010 census. Of this, 7,864 were in Dodge County, and 3,476 were in Fond du Lac County. In Fond du Lac County, the Town of Waupun abuts the city of Waupun.

The median income in Waupun comes in at $51,706 and the median home value is $121,600 for 2019.

Waupaca, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,942
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 13)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.3x (73rd cheapest)
More On Waupaca: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Waupaca is a city in and the county seat of Waupaca County in the state of Wisconsin, United States. The population was 6,069 at the 2010 census. The city is believed to be named after Sam Waupaca of the Potowatomi tribe.

The median income in Waupaca comes in at $46,932 and the median home value is $104,300 for 2019.

Ripon, WI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,738
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.6x (64th cheapest)
More On Ripon: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Ripon is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 7,733 at the 2010 census. The city is surrounded by the Town of Ripon.

The median income in Ripon comes in at $52,240 and the median home value is $118,800 for 2019.

Sparta, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 9,621
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.0x (75th cheapest)
More On Sparta: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Sparta is a city in and the county seat of Monroe County, Wisconsin, United States, along the La Crosse River. The population was 9,522 at the 2010 census. Sparta is known as the Bicycling Capital of America.

The median income in Sparta comes in at $52,871 and the median home value is $115,300 for 2019.

Neenah, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 25,821
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (24th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.8x (35th cheapest)
More On Neenah: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Neenah is a city in Winnebago County, Wisconsin, in the north central United States. It is situated on the banks of Lake Winnebago, Little Lake Butte des Morts, and the Fox River, approximately forty miles southwest of Green Bay.

The median income in Neenah comes in at $55,940 and the median home value is $135,800 for 2019.

Little Chute, WI

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,006
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (18th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.3x (33rd cheapest)
More On Little Chute: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Little Chute is a village in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 10,449 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Little Chute comes in at $59,483 and the median home value is $141,900 for 2019.

Shawano, WI

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,052
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (21st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.9x (76th cheapest)
More On Shawano: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Shawano is a city in Shawano County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 9,305 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Shawano County.

The median income in Shawano comes in at $41,834 and the median home value is $101,200 for 2019.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Wisconsin Cheapskate

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

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

  1. Madison
  2. Madison
  3. Lake Geneva

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

How Is The Area In ?

Detailed List Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Merrill 9.5 9,264 1.7x 82.0x
2 Rothschild 24.33 5,292 2.4x 89.3x
3 Kronenwetter 28.33 7,534 2.0x 95.4x
4 Waupun 30.33 11,277 2.4x 74.5x
5 Waupaca 31.33 5,942 2.2x 69.3x
6 Ripon 32.83 7,738 2.3x 70.6x
7 Sparta 33.0 9,621 2.2x 69.0x
8 Neenah 33.0 25,821 2.4x 76.8x
9 Little Chute 33.67 11,006 2.4x 78.3x
10 Shawano 35.67 9,052 2.4x 68.9x

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