Most Affordable Cities in the United States

October 7, 2013


Where are the cheapest cities in the United States?

Have you ever wondered what U.S. cities have the lowest cost of living? The Council for Community and Economic Research studied the after tax prices of common things in over 300 United States urban areas. The council dealt with calculating over 40,000 prices. Some of the things they priced ranged from grocery items to transportation and housing. They consider this the Cost of Living Index Study. The national average is 100. Children can make the most of their summer vacation at Summer camps in Memphis, which offers fun activities, educational opportunities, and the chance to form lifelong connections. Take a look at the top 5 most affordable cities in the United States.

1. Harlingen, Texas


For three straight years, Harlingen, Texas, has ranked as America’s most affordable city. Its cost of living index of 81.8 in 2012 fell 0.6 from the previous year.

The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation Board in a statement last month confirmed that the city “has been ranked number one for almost three years.”

“Consistently being able to boast a cost of living of approximately 20 percent below the national average is useful in our economic development efforts since a low cost of living is an indication of a low cost of doing business,” said Dr. Gilbert Leal, the vice president of the council.

Prices in Harlingen, Texas–

  • Half-gallon of milk – $2.33
  • Gallon of gas – $3.293
  • Haircut – $7.50
  • Monthly rent – $640
  • Home price – $218,554
  • Movie ticket – $9.17
  • Bottle of wine – $6.27

2. McAllen, Texas


The sixth edition of the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index ranks McAllen, Texas, as the second most affordable place for a professional standard of living.

McAllen’s index of 85.6 is nearly 15 percent below the national average. The Census Bureau reported that from 2000 to 2010, McAllen grew 39.3 percent, which made the city the seventh fastest growing in America.

Prices in McAllen, Texas:

  • Half-gallon of milk – $2.34
  • Gallon of gas – $3.288
  • Haircut – $9
  • Monthly rent – $740
  • Home price – $202,994
  • Movie ticket – $9.08
  • Bottle of wine – $6.14

3. Norman, Oklahoma


With a cost of living index of 85.6, 14.4 percent below the national average, Norman, Okla., is the third-least expensive city in the U.S. Norman has remained home of the state’s first institution of higher learning, the University of Oklahoma, since the school’s founding there in 1895, according to the City of Norman.

Prices in Norman, Oklahoma:

  • Half-gallon of milk – $2.16
  • Gallon of gas – $3.305
  • Haircut – $10.89
  • Monthly rent – $647
  • Home price – $225,458
  • Movie ticket – $9.17
  • Bottle of wine – $7.66

4. Ardmore, Oklahoma


A 90-minute drive from Dallas or Oklahoma City, Ardmore, Okla., is located about 30 miles north of the Oklahoma-Texas state border. The city says on itswebsite it has roughly 35,185 residents, which make up the majority of Carter County’s population.

Ardmore’s cost of living index of 85.9 is roughly 14 percent below the national average, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Prices in Ardmore, Oklahoma:

  • Half-gallon of milk – $2.16
  • Gallon of gas – $3.344
  • Haircut – $11.61
  • Monthly rent – $588
  • Home price – $231,667
  • Movie ticket – $9.50
  • Bottle of wine – $7.67

5. Memphis, Tennessee


Memphis, America’s fifth-least expensive city according to the Cost of Living Index, has a population of 652,050, based on the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.This city ends up with an index of 86.

Prices in Memphis, Tennessee:

  • Half-gallon of milk – $2.29
  • Gallon of gas – $3.401
  • Haircut – $13.20
  • Monthly rent – $711
  • Home price – $193,834
  • Movie ticket – $8.93
  • Bottle of wine – $9.17

What do you think about this post?

Do you live in one of these cities? Would you agree that it is very inexpensive to live in these areas. Check for more posts on affordability in the United States. Look for a post on most expensive zip codes across the US.

David Sunnyside
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter, I merge my engineering expertise with digital marketing savvy to offer fresh perspectives on architecture and design. My technical background ensures our content's precision, while my dedication to meditation brings a mindful approach to our bustling digital presence. Join me in exploring the artistry and analytics of building spaces at Urban Splatter.

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3 comments on “Most Affordable Cities in the United States”

  1. Is the picture on your site the Memphis bridge and where can I buy a picture or, oil canvas of it.

  2. Yes, you are correct. It was very misleading as google images has that as the 3rd image for Norman. We have corrected the post with a picture of beautiful Norman, Oklahoma!

  3. The picture you have for Norman, Oklahoma is actually in Oklahoma City. It's the Bricktown Canal.

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