The 25 Cheapest Places to Live: U.S. Cities Edition

Have a look at the cheapest places to live in America for city dwellers. Is one of the cheapest places to live in the U.S. right for you?

Florence Alabama taken from the Sheffield Bluffs
Florence, Alabama, is one of the cheapest places to live for U.S. city dwellers
(Image credit: Getty)

When it comes to finding the cheapest places to live in the U.S. for city dwellers, the best locations to settle down are mostly south of the Mason-Dixon line. Alabama and Texas are just a couple of the Southern states making multiple appearances on our list of the cheapest places to live among U.S. cities.

But if you're thinking about relocating to one of these places with the lowest costs of living, just remember to weigh the pros and cons. Cheap prices are attractive, but the allure can fade if jobs are hard to come by, paychecks are small or the area offers little to do. Plan an extended visit to ensure that one of these cheapest places to live fits your needs.

We compiled our rankings of America's 25 cheapest places to live based on the Council for Community and Economic Research's (opens in new tab) (C2ER) calculations of living expenses in 265 urban areas. We then limited ourselves to metro areas with at least 50,000 inhabitants. (For smaller urban areas, be sure to read our list of the 12 Cheapest Small Towns in America.)

In both cases, C2ER's Cost of Living Index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services, such as going to a movie or getting your hair done at a salon.

That data, which sorts through thousands of prices in hundreds of cities, allowed us to pinpoint the places with the absolute lowest costs of living.

Read on for our latest list of the 25 cheapest places to live, in the U.S., for city dwellers.

Source: C2ER's Cost of Living Index, 2022 Annual Average Data, published January 2023. Index data is based on average prices of goods and services collected during the first three quarters of 2022, with index values based on the new weights for 2023. Metro-level data on populations, household incomes, home values, poverty rates and other demographic information are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Metropolitan area unemployment rates, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are not seasonally adjusted, and are as of March 17, 2023 for the month of January 2023, which is the latest available data.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer,

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes and more.