The best cheap cities in the US where the cost of living is the lowest

  • Inflation has significantly increased the cost of living for American households.
  • Expensive housing, food and necessities make people consider moving to more affordable places.
  • The personal finance company Kiplinger listed the cities in the United States with the lowest cost of living.

The cost of living in the US soared in 2022 as rising inflation drove up the prices of everything from gas to food to house prices.

Higher costs have encouraged many Americans to rethink how they live—and, most importantly, where they live. An October report by real estate brokerage firm Redfin suggests that higher mortgage rates and mounting financial woes are making expensive parts of the country “less attractive” to potential buyers.

“Six percent mortgage rates are exacerbating already high home prices and motivating homebuyers — especially remote workers — to leave expensive areas for more affordable ones,” Taylor Marr, deputy chief economist at Redfin, said in the report. “Persistent inflation and falling stocks are also cutting into buyers’ budgets, making relatively affordable areas even more attractive.”

While things may not be as expensive next year, even President Joe Biden said earlier this month that it “will take time to get inflation back to normal levels.” Thus, moving for a lower cost of living is a trend that is likely to continue into 2023 as respected economists and executives brace for a recession.

But where to move? Private finance firm Kiplinger identified America’s cheapest cities by calculating the cost of living — including prices for housing, food, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous goods and services — for 267 urban areas in the U.S. that have a population of at least 50,000.

According to their methodology, America’s cheapest city is Harlingen, Texas, a small town of less than 72,000 at the southern tip of Texas near the Mexican border.

Harlingen — located in the Rio Grande Valley next to sister city Brownsville and a stretch of sand full of beach resorts known as South Padre Island — is also known for its Air Force base and a launch facility for Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX.

“The Rio Grande Valley in general is very affordable,” Craig Grove, a broker and owner of Brownsville brokerage GRT Realty, told Insider. “We’ve seen a lot of job growth in the last few years because of SpaceX, and there’s a new medical school.”

Grove confirmed that the lower cost of living around Harlingen is attractive.

“People have said, ‘I don’t want to be in these big cities,'” he added. “It got too unaffordable, so they moved to the Valley, and it’s made Harlingen more attractive. It’s very old-school in a nice way — people are very friendly, it still feels like a small town, and the houses are affordable.”

The other affordable cities on Kiplinger’s list are largely in the South and Midwest. Read on to see them all – and see if one might be right for you in 2023.

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