10 Cheapest States To Live In For 2022 (2023)

Everyone’s gotten stuck in the cheap house trap. You’re scrolling along looking at all the big, beautiful homes you could buy for so little money if only you moved to this tiny town you’ve never heard of. Uprooting your life for a cheap house may not be the wisest move, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider your options for more budget-friendly states.

While up and moving to the middle of nowhere may not sound appealing, there are plenty of inexpensive places across the country where you could start looking to start yourself on an affordable journey. If you’re set in stone and looking to move states you’ll want to consider a reliable moving company, Forbes published a list of the top rated moving companies as a great place to kick-start your research.

We’ve pulled together the 10 cheapest states to live in for 2022, reviewing the cost of living index to help you understand what makes these states so affordable.

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What Is Cost of Living?

To put it simply, the cost of living is the amount of money that would be required to cover your basic living expenses in a certain place. Typically, these expenses are considered to be your housing and utilities, transportation, healthcare and groceries. The average costs of these expenses are then tallied up and pulled together in a cost of living index to help you better compare the cost of living in different locations.

Cost of Living Index

In order to create a cost of living index, researchers will compile data on the main living expenses to understand the average cost of living for the entire United States. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average American household spends about $5,111 on living expenses each month. This comes out to about $61,334 per year.

Of course, this number is just the average and can vary, but by using this as the baseline for comparison we are able to understand just how much the cost will vary state to state. Rather than comparing the dollar to dollar costs, a cost of living index sets the national average monthly cost to 100.

When tallying up the average costs of living for different states, or in some cases different cities, that number is then compared to the national average. For example, the state with the highest cost of living is Hawaii, which scores a 193.3 on the index. This means the cost of living is 93.3% higher than the national average. If a state scores below 100 on the index then it is considered to have a cheaper cost of living than the national average.

Other Factors

While the cost of living index is helpful for getting a quick glance, it isn’t the only statistic to consider.

Take a look at the average salaries for the place you’re looking to move and consider economic factors and employment rates. Higher rates of poverty and unemployment are common factors in many of these less expensive states and it is important to note that lower cost of living usually also means lower wages.

Housing availability can also be an issue, so look and see what is available to purchase and to rent. Be sure to compare what those monthly costs can get you as well. A great way to get an idea is to do a quick search and compare what $150,000 or $300,000 will buy you in one place versus another. In some of these states, that’s enough to purchase a single family home while in urban centers or more expensive states that won’t even cover the cost of purchasing an apartment.

Which leads us to the last factor, location. You’ll find that many of these less expensive states fall in similar regions like the Southeast and Midwest, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still hotspots in those areas. The cost of living index for each state is based on the average cost of each expense factor across the state, including their urban centers, which are likely to have higher housing costs in particular and less availability.

Take a look at the 10 cheapest states to live in for 2022.

1. Mississippi

Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. It also has the lowest average housing costs in the nation at 33.7% below the national average. The median single family home costs around $140,818.

That being said, the state also boasts the highest poverty rate in the country at 19.5% of the population living below the poverty line. Economic troubles coupled with a struggling education system and an overall low quality of life also put Mississippi high up on the list of worst states to live in.

Pros

  • Lowest average housing costs in the nation
  • Lowest average transportation costs in the nation
  • Warm weather and mild winters
  • Plenty of (inexpensive) Southern comfort food

Cons

  • Highest poverty rate in the country
  • Economic concerns and fewer job opportunities
  • Poor quality of education and healthcare system

2. Kansas

The great state of Kansas is the second cheapest state to live in with a score of 86.5. Housing is particularly affordable, coming in as the third-cheapest housing costs in the nation with the median cost of a single-family home at around $176,898. The state also boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, a good sign for their economy.

Pros

  • Housing costs 27.4% below national average
  • Low unemployment rate
  • Barbecue

Cons

  • Frequent tornadoes and extreme droughts
  • Proximity to airports
(Video) 10 Cheapest States To Live In The United States

3. Alabama

Alabama the beautiful comes in third for overall lowest cost of living with a 87.9 cost of living index score. The median home price here is $170,184 which is second cheapest behind only Mississippi. Transportation and healthcare costs are also among the lowest in the country, although it still ranks as one of the states with the highest percentage of folks living below the poverty line. That being said, the unemployment rate is quite low at 2.9% which bodes well.

Pros

  • Housing costs 29.9% below national average
  • Low transportation and healthcare costs
  • Proximity to the Gulf Coast

Cons

  • Subpar healthcare system
  • Dry counties and restrictions on alcohol consumption and purchase are common

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4. Oklahoma

Fourth on our list is Oklahoma with an overall score of 87.9. It is also one of the cheapest states in several categories including healthcare, groceries and housing. The median cost for a home in Oklahoma is $151,469. The state also has one of the highest poverty rates in the country at 15.1% and is typically ranked alongside Mississippi with regards to healthcare and education.

Pros

  • Housing costs 25.3% below national average
  • Healthcare and grocery costs 5.5% below national average
  • All four seasons including mild winters and hot summers

Cons

  • Tornadoes
  • Struggling education and healthcare system
  • Rather boring landscape

5. Georgia

The Peach State comes in fifth with significantly lower than average housing costs and cheaper than typical transportation and utility costs as well for an overall score of 88.8. The median cost for a single family home in Georgia is $246,272. Georgia also tends to rank slightly higher on lists of fun states to live in due in large part to Atlanta’s continued presence as a southern business hub.

Pros

  • Housing costs 25.6% below national average
  • Utility costs 9.5% below national average
  • Diverse natural landscape
  • Proximity to urban centers like Atlanta and Savannah

Cons

  • Many allergy-producing plants
  • Hot and muggy summers
(Video) Top 10 Cheapest Big Cities in the United States for 2022.

6. Tennessee

Yet another Southeastern state joins the list with Tennessee at sixth cheapest and a score of 89.0. Housing prices in the state run slightly less than its southern neighbor at $230,253 for the median price for a single family home. The unemployment rate is still lower than the national average at 3.4% although the poverty rate is high at 13.8%. A unique draw to Tennessee is that they do not have any state income tax on earned wages.

Pros

  • Housing costs 20.7% below national average
  • No state income tax on earned wages
  • Rich musical history for country, rock, blues and jazz
  • Whiskey

Cons

  • High poverty rate at 13.8%
  • Increased traffic due to rapidly expanding cities

7. Missouri

Missouri comes in at seventh cheapest with an overall cost of living index score at 89.8. This state borders two of its inexpensive brethren and has a median single family house cost of $194,226, making it a great compromise if you’re having trouble choosing between the South and the Midwest.

Pros

  • Housing costs 19.7% below national average
  • High minimum wage at $11.15
  • Good job market in a variety of fields

Cons

  • Crime rates are relatively high in the urban centers
  • Hot summers and lots of tornadoes

8. Iowa

Bringing in a bit more Midwestern flair, Iowa joins the list as the eighth cheapest state to live in with a score of 89.9. Unlike many states on this list, Iowa has a poverty rate that is lower than the national average at 11%. The median cost of a single family home comes in at $167,036. This sleeper state also comes in ninth place on WalletHub’s list of best states to live in, the highest ranked by far on our list of cheapest states due to its strong economy and education system.

Pros

  • Housing costs 24% below national average
  • Ranked as one of the best states to live in
  • Highly ranked education system
  • Home to the Ice Cream Capital of the World (Le Mars, Iowa)

Cons

  • Incredibly cold winters
  • No mountains or beaches

9. West Virginia

The land where all country roads lead, West Virginia brings up ninth place on the list with a 90.5 on the cost of living index. This Appalachian state is one of the most affordable places to buy a home with the average cost of a single family home at $117,639. Despite its good housing value, West Virginia is often listed as one of the worst states to live in alongside Mississippi due to concerns around economic growth and the education system.

Pros

  • Housing costs 21.4% below national average
  • All four seasons
  • Beautiful Appalachian landscape

Cons

  • Challenging job market
  • High poverty rates
  • Frequently listed as one of the worst states to live in

10. Indiana

To round out our top 10 is the great state of Indiana with a score of 90.6. While all expenses are ranked less expensive than the national average, the housing costs in Indiana is the main appeal with the average single-family home costing $185,805. Overall Indiana falls in the middle of the road on lists for the best state to live in, but they also have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.2%.

Pros

  • Housing costs 21.7% below national average
  • Low unemployment rate at 2.2%
  • Great universities like Purdue and University of Notre Dame

Cons

  • Cold winters
  • Considered to be a bit boring
  • High rates of drug addiction and overdoses

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THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

(Video) Top 10 Best & Cheapest Countries To Retire In 2022

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Bottom Line

Although moving to one of the cheapest states in the country may seem like a brilliant move for saving some cash, it’s important to consider all of the factors that come into play. Understand what the average wages and employment opportunities are like in your target state. Take time to understand the housing market, what’s available and how much you can get for your money. Consider the kind of lifestyle you want to live and what sort of leisure activities and natural wonders you want access to.

Related: Best cross country moving companies

No matter what state you end up in, we hope that having an understanding of the factors and expenses you’ll encounter will help you make the best choice for your next great adventure.

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(Video) 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in Colorado 2021
(Video) Cheapest states to live in the United States in 2022 (Top 10)

FAQs

What state has the lowest cost of living 2022? ›

Mississippi

Coming in as the cheapest state to live in in the United States is Mississippi with a cost of living index score of 83.3. It also has the lowest average housing costs in the nation at 33.7% below the national average. The median single family home costs around $140,818.

What is the cheapest US state to live in? ›

20 Cheapest States To Live In The US
  • Wyoming. ...
  • Michigan. ...
  • Nebraska. ...
  • Texas. ...
  • Tennessee. 2022 Second Quarter Cost of Living Index: 89.5. ...
  • Iowa. 2022 Second Quarter Cost of Living Index: 89.0. ...
  • Indiana. 2022 Second Quarter Cost of Living Index: 88.9. ...
  • Missouri. 2022 Second Quarter Cost of Living Index: 88.6.
19 Oct 2022

What is the best state to live in financially? ›

Here are the 10 most affordable states in the U.S. for moderately affluent households:
  • Tennessee. Average cost of living index: 89.5. ...
  • Iowa. Average cost of living index: 89. ...
  • Indiana. Average cost of living index: 88.9. ...
  • Missouri. Average cost of living index: 88.6. ...
  • West Virginia. ...
  • Georgia. ...
  • Alabama. ...
  • Kansas.
19 Oct 2022

What is the top 15 cheapest states to live in? ›

Here is a list of the 10 cheaper states to live in the U.S. in 2022:
  • Mississippi (84.9)
  • Oklahoma (85.7)
  • Kansas (86.4)
  • Alabama (87.5)
  • Georgia (87.8)
  • West Virginia (88.5)
  • Missouri (88.6)
  • Indiana (88.9)
20 Oct 2022

Where is the most affordable place to live 2022? ›

America's Most (& Least) Affordable Cities In 2022

Above you'll see that Sioux Falls, SD is the big winner in 2022, with the best total score and the top ranking among all US cities. Reno, NV, Provo, UT, Madison, WI, and Huntsville, AL round out the top five.

Where is the cheapest rent in the United States in 2022? ›

Overall, the city with the cheapest average rent in the U.S. was listed as Wichita, Kansas, with a population of nearly 400,000. The average rent for all apartment sizes in Wichita is just $598 a month, the report said — adding that no other city averages under $700.

What US city has the lowest cost of living? ›

  • It can be extremely expensive to live in big cities like New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.
  • However, living in places, like Fort Wayne, Indiana, or Brownsville, Texas, can be more affordable.
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana, was named the city with the lowest cost of living for 2022.
31 Aug 2022

What states give you money to live there? ›

Places That Pay You To Move There in 2022
  • Maine. If you graduated from any college or university in the US from 2015 on, then Maine has moving opportunities. ...
  • Vermont. ...
  • Alaska. ...
  • Newton, Iowa. ...
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma. ...
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee. ...
  • Hamilton, Ohio. ...
  • Lincoln, Kansas.
3 Aug 2022

What state is easiest to get rich in? ›

Some states make it easier to build and protect wealth than others.
...
10 best states for being rich in 2019.
StateOverall Rank
Massachusetts1
New Hampshire2
Pennsylvania3
Illinois4
46 more rows
27 Jul 2022

What state is the happiest? ›

WalletHub this week released its "Happiest States in America" list for 2022, ranking Hawaii as No. 1.

Where is the cheapest place to buy a house in USA? ›

1. Youngstown, Ohio. Youngstown, a city in Northeast Ohio, is number one on the list of most affordable cities to buy a house. The median listing price for a home was just $115,000 in February–that's far less than the $350,300 median price of a home.

What is the best state to move to in 2022? ›

Massachusetts topped 2022's list, touting a score of 62.65 out of 100. New Jersey came in second, dropping from the top spot last year. New York, Idaho and Virginia fill out the rest of the top five states to live in, in that order.

Where is the nicest cheapest place to live? ›

The 10 Most Affordable Cities to Live in the U.S.
  • Cedar Park, Texas.
  • Midland, Texas.
  • Ogden, Utah.
  • Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Provo, Utah.
  • Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Austin, Texas.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota.
28 Jul 2021

Where is the cheapest and safest place to live in USA? ›

Augusta, a small city near Georgia's border with South Carolina, is one of the cheapest and safest places to live in the USA. It has a low crime rate and a low cost of living, making it perfect for those looking to live comfortably and save money.

What state has lowest monthly rent? ›

The ten states with the lowest average rent payments
  • Arkansas ($736)
  • Kentucky ($759)
  • Mississippi ($771)
  • Iowa ($786)
  • Alabama ($790)
  • Montana ($812)
  • Oklahoma ($816)
  • North Dakota ($817)
11 Oct 2022

What states have the cheapest houses to rent? ›

Many states in the south and Midwest have the cheapest cost of living index and housing prices in the country.
...
Here, we've added the top twelve (12) most affordable states to live in and average home prices for common cities inside those states.
  • Mississippi. ...
  • Oklahoma. ...
  • Kansas. ...
  • Arkansas. ...
  • Alabama. ...
  • Missouri. ...
  • New Mexico. ...
  • Georgia.

Where is the cheapest rent in the United States? ›

Overall, renters have experienced a 15% increase in housing costs since February 2021. As mortgage rates rise, it becomes more expensive to buy, which boosts demand for rentals and allows landlords to charge more. Tulsa, Oklahoma has the cheapest rent in the U.S.

Where can I live cheap? ›

Here are 10 of the cheapest countries to live and work this year, according to meaningful travelers like YOU.
  • Vietnam.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Bulgaria.
  • Mexico.
  • South Africa.
  • China.
  • South Korea.
  • Thailand.

What state is paying $10000 to move there? ›

Alabama. The Shoals region of Alabama is located along the Tennessee river in the Northern portion of the state. The state offers a generous cash incentive of $10,000 through the Remote Shoals Program for people to move there.

What states will pay you to move there 2022? ›

States that pay you to move there
  • Alaska. If moving closer to the great outdoors sounds appealing to you, nothing beats the rugged, beautiful landscape of Alaska. ...
  • Maine. Cash incentive? ...
  • Vermont. ...
  • West Virginia. ...
  • Arkansas – Northwest Arkansas.
21 Jul 2022

What state will pay you $10 000 to move there? ›

Oklahoma. Tulsa Remote is an incentive program offering up to $10,000 in cash or toward a home purchase for selected applicants willing to relocate to Tulsa. You'll also have access to co-working spaces. You'll need to be over 18, eligible to work in the US, and have full-time remote employment.

What state do most millionaires live? ›

California

What is the richest state by income? ›

States and territories ranked by median household income
State RankStates and Washington, D.C.2019
United States$65,712
Washington, D.C.$92,266
1Maryland$86,738
2Massachusetts$85,843
32 more rows

What state do most billionaires live in? ›

As of March 2022, California was the U.S. state with most billionaires, with 186 billionaires calling the state home.

What is the #1 best state to live in? ›

The personal finance website has come up with a ranked list of the top 20 best states to live in for 2022. Here are the results! The top state is Massachusetts, which ranked first in the nation for education and health, fourth for safety, sixth for quality of life, and 10th for its economy.

What's the funnest state to live in? ›

Most Fun States to Visit in America
Overall RankStateTotal Score
1California63.60
2Florida61.26
3Nevada59.84
4New York56.11
46 more rows
13 Jun 2022

What is the healthiest state in the US? ›

“Due to a combination of a dozen health-related factors, California is the number one healthiest state in 2022,” according to the study.

Where is the easiest state to buy a house? ›

  • Minnesota.
  • Kansas. ...
  • Missouri. ...
  • North Dakota. ...
  • South Dakota. ...
  • Wyoming. Access to credit makes Wyoming high among the "easy" states for new homebuyers.
  • Vermont. The Green Mountain state offers a good employment landscape for under-35 home buyers.
  • Nebraska. The Cornhusker state ranks highest among states for housing affordability.
11 Mar 2017

What state has the cheapest property taxes? ›

1. Hawaii. Hawaii has the lowest property taxes in the country.

What state has the cheapest land to buy? ›

InMyArea.com performed a study that took a look at the median prices per acre in 2021 and found that Arizona had the cheapest median cost per acre, at $4,164. The data includes the price of land with existing homes and the cost of land designated as a homesite were also included so that you can have some comparison.

What is the best state to live in 2022? ›

Massachusetts topped 2022's list, touting a score of 62.65 out of 100. New Jersey came in second, dropping from the top spot last year. New York, Idaho and Virginia fill out the rest of the top five states to live in, in that order.

What state has the highest and lowest cost of living? ›

Missouri had the 9th lowest cost of living in the United States for the third quarter 2022. In general, the most expensive areas to live were Hawaii, Alaska, the Northeast, and the West Coast. The least expensive areas were the Midwest and Southern states.

Will the cost of living go down in 2022? ›

But in Morningstar's second quarter “U.S. Economic Outlook,” researchers predict that 2022 will have the highest rate of inflation, as measured by the PCE Price Index, at 5.2%, before dropping. Caldwell estimates that the inflation rate will average around 1.5% between 2023 and 2025.

What state is best to move right now? ›

Best States 2021
  • #1. Washington.
  • #2. Minnesota.
  • #3. Utah.
  • #4. New Hampshire.
  • #5. Idaho.

What state will pay you to move there 2022? ›

Alaska will pay you approximately $1,600 to live there! Simply put, Alaska needs people. So much so that they offer numerous grants and tax incentives to make you an Alaskan. The Permanent Fund Dividend is a perfect example.

What are the happiest states to live? ›

According to WalletHub, the 10 happiest states in America in 2022 were:
  • Hawaii, which scored 66.31.
  • Maryland, which scored 62.6.
  • Minnesota, which scored 62.43.
  • Utah, which scored 62.41.
  • New Jersey, which scored 61.71.
  • Idaho, which scored 61.6.
  • California, which scored 59.97.
  • Illinois, which scored 58.59.
22 Sept 2022

What state is least affordable? ›

Hawaii. The Aloha State ranks the single least affordable state when taking into account the average wages earned by renters. The average renter in Hawaii needs to work two jobs to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at the estimated average wage of $21 per hour.

Which state has the best housing? ›

Real Estate Housing Market Statistics 2022
Overall RankingStateMedian Housing Prices1
1California2
2Texas31
3New York8
4New Jersey6
46 more rows
1 Jul 2022

Will groceries go back down? ›

Executives at large food manufacturers and analysts expect inflation to hover around this level for the rest of 2022. Next year, the rate of food inflation is expected to moderate — but that doesn't mean prices are going to drop. Once prices hit a certain level, they tend to stay there or go up, but rarely down.

Will the cost of living come back down? ›

This year is likely to be remembered for the sharpest drop in household incomes on record, thanks to a dramatic surge in inflation. Household incomes might not start rising again until the second half of 2023, when inflation drops back.

How do you survive inflation 2022? ›

There are many ways to increase your income during inflation. You can invest smartly in your employer-sponsored retirement plan, in fixed rate bonds, find ways to increase your active income, earn from passive income sources or investments, or invest in entities and commodities that rise with inflation.

Where is the cheapest housing in the United States? ›

1 cheapest state to buy a house in 2022: Iowa. Iowa came in at the top of the list with the lowest average median household income it takes to be able to afford a house. The largest housing markets in the Midwestern state include Des Moines, Iowa City, and Cedar Rapids.

Where is the safest cheapest place to live? ›

10 of the cheapest and safest places to live in the world
  • Albania.
  • Portugal.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Panama.
  • Mexico.
  • Thailand.
  • Malaysia.
  • Vietnam.

Where is the best inexpensive place to live? ›

The Best Places to Live in America: 10 Most Affordable Cities
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  • Wichita Falls, Texas.
  • Brownsville, Texas.
  • South Bend, Indiana.
  • Dayton, Ohio.
  • Toledo, Ohio.
  • Evansville, Indiana.
  • Buffalo, New York.
28 Jul 2022

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