Most Affordable Cities in the US: 2024 Top 10 List

June 18, 2024

Are you on the lookout for affordable cities in the U.S. that don’t skimp on character, amenities, and quality of life? Look no further! Here’s a list of cities that balance affordability with an array of features, making them ideal for city dwellers looking to relocate.

1. South Bend, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana, is perhaps best known as the home of the University of Notre Dame. This college town is not just for students; it has a lot to offer to residents of all walks of life. With a median home sale price of $133,774 and a median monthly rent of $962, South Bend is remarkably affordable. It's ranked the 3rd safest place to live in the U.S., and it offers the vibrancy of a revitalized city without the hefty price tag. Plus, with a median household income of $56,890, living comfortably here is more than achievable.

2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

city buildings under white clouds during daytime

Dubbed the most affordable city in the world, Pittsburgh has a lot going for it. Solid incomes in healthcare and technology have kept home prices steady, with a median home sale price of $235,000. Pittsburgh's affordability extends beyond just housing; the overall cost of living is commendably low. Known for its rich industrial history, this city blends the old with the new, offering residents a stable and enriching place to live.

3. Rochester, New York

Rochester isn't far behind Pittsburgh in terms of affordability, ranking as the 2nd most affordable city in the U.S. The city's robust cultural scene and educational opportunities, combined with its low cost of living, make it a desirable place to settle. Though exact numbers for home prices and rents are not available, the city's ranking as the 2nd most affordable globally speaks volumes.

4. St. Louis, Missouri

Riverboat cruise at night near St. Louis bridgea group of people sitting at a table under a bridge at night

St. Louis offers similar affordability, being ranked 3rd in the U.S. and globally. The city's rich history, vibrant neighborhoods, and ample green spaces provide a comfortable living environment. Whether you’re exploring the famous Gateway Arch or enjoying the bustling food scene, St. Louis makes affordable living both fun and convenient.

5. Rockford, Illinois

For remote workers, Rockford, Illinois, presents a particularly attractive option. Recognized as a top affordable place to live, it caters to those who work from home but crave a community-centric atmosphere. The city's low cost of living and solid amenities make it a prime candidate for those looking to balance work and leisure affordably.

6. Atlanta, Georgia

city buildings under blue sky during daytime

Atlanta is more than just Georgia’s capital; it's a cultural melting pot brimming with diversity and charm. Although it's higher ranked in terms of best cities, its affordability isn't to be underestimated. Atlanta boasts numerous attractions like Martin Luther King Jr.’s childhood home and the Georgia Aquarium. With five Michelin star restaurants and three top universities, creativity and education are at this city's core.

7. Seattle, Washington

Seattle Washingtonferris wheel near body of water during daytime

Seattle brings together the best of historic charm and modern innovation. Affordability, especially in creative districts, is a surprising but pleasant feature of this Northwestern gem. From artistic venues to cozy cafes, Seattle offers enriching experiences without breaking the bank. Also, home to the prestigious University of Washington, this city is an excellent blend of educational excellence and cultural vibrancy.

8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia offers a diverse living experience for those seeking affordability on the East Coast. Though specific figures for home prices and rents aren’t provided, the city’s ranking as the 8th best in the nation assures a balanced cost of living. Combined with rich historical significance and diverse neighborhoods, Philly has something for everyone.

9. Huntsville, Alabama

a rocket replica next to a green treewhite concrete tower under blue sky during daytime

Huntsville, Alabama, proves that affordability and quality of life can coexist. Known for its affordable living and ample amenities, Huntsville offers a welcoming environment for all residents. Whether you’re seeking good schools, picturesque parks, or a strong sense of community, Huntsville checks all the boxes.

10. Knoxville, Tennessee

The Art Market Sign on Gay Streeta red sign hanging from the side of a building

Last but certainly not least, Knoxville offers affordable living south of the Mason-Dixon line. It’s a city where southern charm meets affordability, making it an ideal haven for city dwellers seeking a more relaxed lifestyle. Though exact costs aren't readily available, Knoxville's affordability and quality of life are well-noted.

The table below provides a consolidated view of these cities, showcasing their key features, costs, and national rankings to help you make an informed decision.

City Key Features Median Home Sale Price Median Monthly Rent Median Household Income National Rankings
South Bend, Indiana
  • Home of the University of Notre Dame
  • 3rd safest place to live in the US
  • Ranked 25th overall Best Places to Live
  • Revitalized yet affordable
$133,774 $962 $56,890 25th for Best Places to Live
9th for low risk to extreme weather
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Most affordable city in the world
  • Health care and tech sectors boost incomes
  • Stable home prices
$235,000 N/A N/A 1st most affordable city globally
Rochester, New York
  • Ranked 2nd most affordable city in the US
N/A N/A N/A 2nd most affordable city globally
St. Louis, Missouri
  • Ranked 3rd most affordable city in the US
N/A N/A N/A 3rd most affordable city globally
Rockford, Illinois
  • Top affordable place to live
  • Attractive for remote workers
N/A N/A N/A Top 25 cheapest places
Atlanta, Georgia
  • Diverse and cosmopolitan
  • Rich history and local attractions
  • Five Michelin star restaurants
  • Home to three top universities
N/A N/A N/A 10th on the list of best cities
Seattle, Washington
  • Affordability and historic districts
  • Artistic venues and cafes
  • Home to University of Washington
N/A N/A N/A 9th on the list of best cities
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Diverse living experience
N/A N/A N/A 8th on the list of best cities
Huntsville, Alabama
  • Affordable living with ample amenities
Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Affordable living south of the Mason-Dixon line

This practical table provides a bird's-eye view of essential statistics for each city, perfect for helping you weigh your options and make an informed decision about your next move.

FAQs About Affordable Cities in the U.S.

What US city has the lowest cost of living?

Currently, South Bend, Indiana, is one of the most affordable cities in the U.S., with a median home sale price of $133,774 and a median monthly rent of $962. Additionally, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is dubbed the most affordable city in the world.

Why is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania considered the most affordable city?

Pittsburgh is labeled the most affordable city mainly due to its stable housing market with a median home sale price of $235,000 and low overall cost of living. High incomes in healthcare and technology sectors further support its affordability.

Is South Bend, Indiana a safe place to live?

Yes, South Bend is ranked the 3rd safest place to live in the U.S. This factor, combined with its affordability, makes it an appealing option for many prospective residents.

What makes Atlanta, Georgia a desirable place to live despite its ranking?

Atlanta is highly desirable due to its cultural diversity, historical attractions, and educational institutions. It has five Michelin star restaurants and three top universities, making it a hub of creativity and knowledge, which balances out its slightly higher cost of living compared to the other cities listed.

What amenities can I expect in Rockford, Illinois?

Rockford, Illinois, is particularly attractive for remote workers due to its low cost of living and solid amenities. This city offers a community-centric atmosphere, making it easy to balance work and leisure activities.

How does Knoxville, Tennessee balance Southern charm and affordability?

Knoxville offers a unique blend of Southern charm and affordability, making it perfect for those seeking a relaxed lifestyle. While specific costs aren't readily available, its affordability is well-noted in various rankings and analyses.

Why should I consider St. Louis, Missouri for relocation?

St. Louis offers a rich history, affordable living, vibrant neighborhoods, and ample green spaces. Its ranking as the 3rd most affordable city in the U.S. makes it a compelling choice for many city dwellers.

What makes Seattle, Washington, affordable despite being a major city?

Interestingly, Seattle offers affordability, especially in its creative districts. The city blends historic charm with modern innovation, providing enriching cultural experiences without a hefty price tag.

Is living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania affordable?

Philadelphia offers a balanced cost of living and is ranked the 8th best city in the nation. Its rich historical significance and diverse neighborhoods make it another top choice for affordability on the East Coast.

How does Huntsville, Alabama combine affordability with quality of life?

Huntsville is known for its affordable living and ample amenities. The city provides a welcoming environment, good schools, picturesque parks, and a strong sense of community, making it ideal for residents seeking a high quality of life on a budget.

JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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