While the top 10 cheapest cities to live in offer a low cost of living, not all aspects of living are affordable. We’ve looked at housing, groceries, transportation, and other costs to see the full picture.
Austin, Texas, Jan. 16, 2018 — The top 10 cheapest cities to live in offer some of the lowest costs in the nation for groceries, housing, health care, and more. Knowing how much it costs to live where you live can help you adjust your budget accordingly.
“Where one expense category might have rock-bottom prices, others might be on par with the national average,” said Ben Luthi, lead researcher on the study. “So, it’s important to know how the cost of living in your area affects you and your budget accordingly.”
Based on data from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) analyzed by Student Loan Hero, the following are the cheapest cities to live in based on cost of living:
- McAllen, Texas: 24 percent below the the national average
- Conway, Arkansas: 22.2 percent below the national average
- Harlingen, Texas: 21.5 percent below the national average
- Richmond, Indiana: 21.3 percent below the national average
- Tupelo, Mississippi: 20.8 percent below the national average
- Wichita Falls, Texas: 19.5 percent below the national average
- Kalamazoo, Michigan: 19.5 percent below the national average
- Knoxville, Tennessee: 17.8 percent below the national average
- Martinsville-Henry County, Virginia: 17.6 percent below the national average
- Memphis, Tennessee: 17.2 percent below the national average
The most shocking statistic we found was that poverty levels in the cheapest cities to live in are mostly higher than the poverty rates in the most expensive cities. For example, while 31.3 percent of Harlingen residents live in poverty, the poverty rate in Honolulu is just 12.1 percent.
The study also looked at specific categories related to cost of living for city residents, such as groceries, housing, and health care, and highlighted the cheapest and most expensive cities to live in for each. The results show that you don’t have to live in one of the nation’s cheapest cities to see rock-bottom prices.
These rankings are based on data from the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) for 253 urban areas across the United States, including Puerto Rico.
For added context, we also included population, income, and poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau; housing cost data tabulated from C2ER in the second quarter of 2017; November 2017 unemployment rate data for available cities and December 2017 unemployment rate data for the national average from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; unemployment rate data from various sources for other cities; November 2017 median home listing prices for cities; national median home listing prices from Zillow; and median monthly rent costs from Trulia.
About Student Loan Hero
Student Loan Hero combines easy-to-use tools with financial education to help the millions of Americans living with student loan debt manage and pay off their loans. Student Loan Hero has helped more than 150,000 borrowers manage and eliminate over $3 billion in student loan debt since 2012 and assists over 3.5 million people in becoming more financially healthy every year.
Student Loan Hero offers both current and former students free loan calculators as well as unbiased, personalized advice and repayment plans through an easy-to-use online dashboard.
Founded in 2012 by CEO Andrew Josuweit, who himself had over $100,000 in student loans, Student Loan Hero operates on the belief that all loan help and recommendations should come with honesty and no hidden agenda.
For more information, visit https://studentloanhero.com.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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