There are certain American cities where the cost of living is just surreally high. New York City, San Francisco, the better part of California and especially the Silicon Valley have all become too expensive for an average American family.
Of course, there are also cities that are the complete opposite. In such cities, an average salary can buy you a quality of life that you thought was beyond your reach. Niche.com, a website that does research into American cities, neighborhoods, and schools decided to identify them and did one hell of a job.
They used data they obtained from the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and compared 227 of the biggest cities in the country. They looked for 8 metrics that they then used to rank these cities.
Among other things, they investigated what the average home value and how high the average rent is. They calculated the ratio between the home values and the average income. They also investigated how much you need to pay for gas and groceries in the different cities, as well as how much of your average income you need to set aside for rent.
According to their research, the American city with the lowest cost of living is Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the second largest city in Indiana, your average rent will cost you about $660 and you will pay below the national average for your gas and groceries. With an average salary, you will be more than able to afford the average rent.
Another Indiana city is in the second place, Evansville. Evansville has higher rent prices than Fort Wayne, while its other metrics might actually be superior to those of the city that tops the list.
Odessa, Texas is in the third place and while it shares most of the same results as the first two cities, the median rent price of $890 and the fact that it has higher property taxes caused it to drop to third place. Huntsville, Alabama, and Wichita, Kansas round off the Top 5. South Bend, Indiana;Montgomery, Alabama; Rochester, Minnesota; Topeka, Kansas and Cedar Rapids, Iowa also found their way into the 10 American cities with the lowest cost of living.
Louisville is the first major city on the list, in the 13th spot. Indianapolis is in the 24th spot, while Cleveland, St. Louis and San Antonio are all bundled together in spots No. 56, 57 and 58, respectively.
Upon investigating the list a bit closer, it becomes obvious that the Midwest and the South are the two parts of the U.S. where your money will get you more bang for your buck. All of the top 25 cities are either Midwestern or Southern cities. When all of the 100 cheapest cities are factored in, these two areas still feature most prominently.
The most important reason why these two areas are the most affordable in the country is that the home values and the price of the average rent have not been inflated like in some other parts of the country, such as the East and the West Coast as well as some other areas. A smaller role is played by the fact that groceries are also much more affordable in the Midwest and the South.
It should also be pointed out that, out of the 10 biggest metro areas in the country, only Dallas and Atlanta made the list. Simply put, life is more expensive in bigger cities, especially if they are not in the Southern States or the Midwest.
Of course, all of this could change overnight. Who is to say that Tulsa will not be the heart of the next tech boom which inevitably results in rent hikes and higher property prices? Perhaps a more realistic prediction would be that the costs of living will drop in some other parts of the country where they are just ridiculously high.