What Are Some of the Cities With the Lowest Cost of Living in the United States?


Quick Answer

Among the 100 largest U.S. cities and their surrounding suburbs (defined as Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions by the Office of Budget and Management), Birmingham, Alabama had the lowest cost of living in 2015. Knoxville, Tennessee had the second lowest cost of living, followed by Buffalo, New York; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Cincinnati, Ohio, according to Forbes.

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In Birmingham, Alabama, groceries cost an average of 5.4 percent less, transportation 13.2 percent less, and health care 16.6 percent less than the national averages in 2015, according to Forbes. The cities with the sixth- through tenth-lowest costs of living were Memphis, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Columbus, Ohio. Among Forbes' 21 cities with the lost costs of living, eleven were Southern cities and eight were Midwestern cities. Only one Northeastern city and one Western city made the list. All of the metropolitan areas considered by Forbes had 600,000 people or more. Cost of living was calculated using an algorithm that compared local median incomes to local consumer price indices relative to other cities nationwide.

Laredo, Texas had the lowest cost of living among U.S. cities with 200,000 people or more, with a cost of living over 25 percent lower than the national average, reported AreaVibes. The second-lowest cost of living was found in Buffalo, New York, followed by Detroit, Michigan; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Memphis, Tennessee.

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