The 20 Cheapest Places to Live in the Us in 2022

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If there is one good thing that came out of the pandemic, it was discovering how easy it is to work from home. Many employers even stated they will never return to pre-pandemic office days, including Dropbox, Shopify, Twitter and Upwork. This means employees can pretty much work from anywhere and has sent people in expensive cities like New York and Los Angeles packing up and moving to less-expensive destinations.

While New York City rents dropped following the initial wave of COVID, its rent prices have been climbing back up to pre-pandemic rates … and then some. With the highest average rent of any city in the country, according to a January 2022 report by ApartmentList.com, between January 2021 and January 2022, rent growth was 33.5%!

Going even further, ApartmentGuide.com found if you follow the popular rule of thumb and dedicate 30% of your household income to rent, your monthly income needs to be around $13,166 per month, or $158,000 per year, to afford an apartment in Manhattan. It also reports the cost of living in New York City is 148.6% more than the national average.

If you have the flexibility to work from home indefinitely, maybe it is time for you to reevaluate where you live. There are states and cities with a lower cost of living happy to welcome you — and help you stretch your income further than ever.

Now, the cheapest average one-bedroom apartment, according to Apartment Guide, is $550 in Lawton, Oklahoma, the fifth-largest city in the state. Does Lawton have all that New York has? Of course not! But the rent for the entire year is $6,600, which is practically a month in Manhattan. Think of what you could do with $158,000 per year by living in a city with a low cost of living.

So, where are the cheapest cities in the country that offer low housing costs, affordability in required daily expenses, and good quality of life? The results are in, and these are the best places to be right now.

Insights

First, let’s highlight the national averages so you know where you fit in — above or below — and why those on this list are good bets.

  • National average monthly rent: $1,312 as of January 26. 2022
  • National average price of gas, per gallon: $3.379 as of February 2, 2022
  • National Cost of Living: $68,808 as of January 2022

Cheapest Places to Live In 2022

While we list cities based on cheapest rent, as reported in November 2021, we also illustrate the average cost of living and livability score from AreaVibes. And then, because it doesn’t matter how low the cost of living is but whether you have a job, we also looked into each city’s unemployment rate. The following are the cheapest cities in the U.S.

20. Biloxi, Mississippi

  • Population: 45,906
  • Average monthly rent: $690
  • State gas prices: $3.020
  • State cost of living: $48,567
  • Unemployment rate: 3.1

This Southern city along the Gulf of Mexico is filled with palm trees. From fresh seafood and white-sand beaches to history and a lively casino industry, Biloxi is filled with young professionals and families. A smaller city, Biloxi feels more like a suburb on the coast and is quite safe for residents.

19. Gary, Indiana

  • Population: 76,010
  • Average monthly rent: $685
  • State gas prices: $3.248
  • State cost of living: $52,038
  • Unemployment rate: 4.9

Although in Indiana, Gary is so close to Chicago that it’s easily accessible for commuters or remote workers with ties to the Midwest’s biggest city. While once known for crime, the city has seen a rebirth and businesses are making a return. By the way, Michael Jackson and Prince were both born in Gary!

18. Flint, Michigan

  • Population: 96,559
  • Average monthly rent: $684
  • State gas prices: $3.285
  • State cost of living: $ 53,281
  • Unemployment rate: 5.7

Although Flint has made news in recent years for experiencing a water crisis, the industrial city is affordable, home to universities, and filled with diversity. One of the safest cities in Michigan, it’s also the state’s fourth-largest and within an hour’s drive from Detroit and Lansing.

17. Toledo, Ohio

  • Population: 276,614
  • Average monthly rent: $679
  • State gas prices: $3.118
  • State cost of living: $52,013
  • Unemployment rate: 5.5

Situated along Lake Erie, Toledo is a culture-filled town with a variety of museums to enjoy. As a large metropolitan city, the community feels more like a small town in terms of friendliness and safety.

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16. Euclid, Ohio

  • Population: 47,159
  • Average monthly rent: $678
  • State gas prices: $3.118
  • State cost of living: $52,013
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7

If Toledo is too big, consider the Cleveland suburb, also nestled along the banks of Lake Erie. You’ll have the best of Cleveland’s attractions and businesses in a small town that is more affordable and filled with charm.

15. Medina, Ohio

  • Population: 26,095
  • Average monthly rent: $672
  • State gas prices: $3.118
  • State cost of living: $52,013
  • Unemployment rate: 3.7

Another Cleveland suburb, this time to the south, Medina is considered one of the best places to live in Ohio. Home to young professionals, the vibe in this small town is hip, active and fun.

14. Midwest city, Oklahoma

  • Population: 57,288
  • Average monthly rent: $666
  • State gas prices: $3.050
  • State cost of living: $52,805
  • Unemployment rate: 3.6

Suburbs are always cheaper than big cities, which is why those near Oklahoma City’s business, attractions and lifestyle discover Midwest City. Its low cost of living and less expensive homes make it ideal for young professionals.

13. Johnson city, Tennessee

  • Population: 66,515
  • Average monthly rent: $662
  • State gas prices: $3.105
  • State cost of living: $50,152
  • Unemployment rate: 4.1

Surrounded by nature, this town in the northeastern tip of the state touts all of the amenities of a big city with a hometown feel. The city is known for industry and entertainment tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

12. Conway, Arkansas

  • Population: 66,515
  • Average monthly rent: $660
  • State gas prices: $3.093
  • State cost of living: $49,970
  • Unemployment rate: 3.4

A suburb of Little Rock, Conway is a city that holds its own to its bigger neighbor. Here, most residents live and work in Conway, skipping Little Rock except when in need of something different to do. The dense town is considered one of Arkansas’ best.

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11. Fayetteville, Arkansas

  • Population: 85,166
  • Average monthly rent: $640
  • State gas prices: $3.093
  • State cost of living: $49,970
  • Unemployment rate: 2.8

Even better is the charming city of Fayetteville, which even landed in the top five best places to live by U.S. News & World Report in 2021. An active town of young professionals, Fayetteville is surrounded by the Ozark Mountains.

10. Ashland, Ohio

  • Population: 20,390
  • Average monthly rent: $640
  • State gas prices: $3.118
  • State cost of living: $52,013
  • Unemployment rate: 5.6

If a small town is what you seek, this Cleveland suburb provides all the mentality of a small town from its Main Street hub to friendly residents.

9. Gulfport, Mississippi

  • Population: 71,676
  • Average monthly rent: $637
  • State gas prices: $3.020
  • State cost of living: $48,567
  • Unemployment rate: 5.5

Where Boloxi is known for its casinos, Gulfport is its larger counterpart. Just up the road from Biloxi, Gulfport is a hub of activity with seaside attractions and more housing availability for residents.

8. Springfield, Missouri

  • Population: 167.051
  • Average monthly rent: $637
  • State gas prices: $3.074
  • State cost of living: $ 53,654
  • Unemployment rate: 3.3

Over the border from Fayetteville, Springfield has both the Ozarks and Mark Twain National Forest for residents to enjoy. Its growing job market is drawing many families seeking Midwestern life and living.

7. Henderson, Kentucky

  • Population: 28,625
  • Average monthly rent: $640
  • State gas prices: $3.084
  • State cost of living: $51,925
  • Unemployment rate: 3.3

Found along the Ohio River, this former train town that welcomed the likes of Presidents Eisenhower, Truman and Franklin Roosevelt, Henderson residents enjoy the quiet life. Even when in need of a big city vibe, the nearby city of Evansville still remains smaller than most.

6. Youngstown, Ohio

  • Population: 64,783
  • Average monthly rent: $615
  • State gas prices: $3.118
  • State cost of living: $52,013
  • Unemployment rate: 6.7

A city once big during the steel days of America, Youngstown is situated between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and served as a less-expensive version of both. With a suburban feel, the downside to Youngstown is its higher unemployment rates, which won’t matter to remote employees.

5. Killeen, Texas

  • Population: 145,686
  • Average monthly rent: $595
  • State gas prices: $3.039
  • State cost of living: $ 53,201
  • Unemployment rate: 4.3

As the town servicing Fort Hood, Killeen is more than a military town, and it offers college and museum life for residents. Ranked one of the best places to live in the state, Killeen is a family-friendly city deep in the heart of Texas.

4. Brownsville, Texas

  • Population: 182,271
  • Average monthly rent: $585
  • State gas prices: $3.039
  • State cost of living: $53,201
  • Unemployment rate: 7.0

Closer to the Gulf of Mexico, Brownsville enjoys warm weather and easy access to beaches and Mexico. It shares its border with Matamoros, Mexico, and is rich in history. The income level is lower in Brownsville, but the city is far cheaper than Austin or Houston.

3. Elyria, Ohio

  • Population: 53,821
  • Average monthly rent: $582
  • State gas prices: $3.118
  • State cost of living: $52,013
  • Unemployment rate: 5.6

Ohio reappears on the list for a final time with its top place to live to save money. Another suburb of Cleveland, Elyria is located on the Black River and is safe, friendly and extremely family-friendly.

2. Terre haute, Indiana

  • Population: 60,673
  • Average monthly rent: $557
  • State gas prices: $3.248
  • State cost of living: $52,038
  • Unemployment rate: 4.2

Another river town, this central Indiana valley city is considered the “Crossroads of America.” Home to universities, a young professional population mixes with its student population for a lively and affordable small community.

1. Lawton, Oklahoma

  • Population: 94,017
  • Average monthly rent: $550
  • State gas prices: $3.050
  • State cost of living: $52,805
  • Unemployment rate: 4.2

Lawton is not quite a suburb of the more expensive Oklahoma City but close enough to enjoy when needing big city life. But who needs that when surrounded by the landscape of southwest Oklahoma and Lake Lawtonka? Outdoor enthusiasts love the area, which offers plenty of culture in the city registering the lowest rents in all of the U.S.

Methodology

The data we compiled includes Apartment Guide’s Rent Report, November 2021, which features the average rent costs for a one-bedroom apartment. For the Cost of Living Index by State 2022, which uses numbers from January 2022, MIT researchers gathered the list. AAA provided the per-state gas prices, as collected on February 2, 2022.

Unemployment data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2021.

This list does not include median home prices, crime rates, healthcare, income tax or public school data. If you are considering a big move to enjoy the lowest cost of living, you may want to research this additional data in our highlighted affordable places to ensure it meets all of your requirements.

This article originally appeared on JoyWallet.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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