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The Cheapest States To Live in 2023 Are you hoping for a change of scenery? This article discusses the cheapest states to live in and what each has to offer.

By Dan Bova Edited by Brittany Robins

Sean Pavone | Shutterstock

Are you looking for a great place to live on a budget? The good news is that you have your fair share of options, even in an economy like this.

Only some states are like New York or California, where housing costs can sometimes match or exceed the overall cost of living in the cheapest places. There are plenty of inviting metropolitan areas in states with lower costs of living.

All the states on the list below offer plenty of opportunities and a low cost of living, making them perfect for anyone looking to save money without compromising on quality of life.

Perhaps you're looking for a new home, preparing to start a business or want to know where you can afford to retire. Whatever the case, this list of the cheapest states to live in will get you off to a strong start.

What factors determine the affordability of a state?

Several factors go into determining the affordability of a state. The cost of living is one of the most important, as it includes the prices of necessities like food, shelter and transportation.

Median income is also a key factor because it determines how much residents can afford to spend on these necessities. You must remember how crucial a state's unemployment rate is; it largely dictates how easy it is to find a job and earn a livable wage.

The 10 cheapest states to live in

So, what are the least expensive states to live in? Here are the cheapest states and what they have to offer to residents:

1. Mississippi

Mississippi is the cheapest state to live in, offering plenty of benefits to its residents. The cost of living is relatively low, and the median income is high enough that residents can afford to live comfortably. The unemployment rate is also low, making it easy to find a job.

Related: 8 U.S. Cities and Towns That Will Pay You To Move There and Work Remote in 2021

With its warm climate and affordable housing, Mississippi is an excellent place for retirees to live on a budget.

2. Arkansas

Arkansas has one of the lowest cost of living metrics in America. Home prices are much more affordable than in other states, and the average rent is generally lower. Arkansas is a superb place for people on a budget, and you might be surprised by how many business owners live here.

Another benefit of living in Arkansas is its natural beauty. The state has rolling hills, forests and rivers, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. There are also plenty of cultural attractions and events in Arkansas, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

3. West Virginia

West Virginia is affordable, with a low cost of living and reasonably priced housing. The state also has a high median income of $48,037, so residents can afford to live comfortably. In addition, West Virginia offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. It also has the history, culture and scenery to rival any state.

4. Ohio

Ohio's cost of living is much lower than in other states, and the job market is healthy. Most residents can easily find a well-paying job and afford a comfortable lifestyle. And if you're an entrepreneur, few states are better suited for growing a business.

Related: 3 Reasons Why You Might Want to Relocate Your Startup to Ohio

Ohio's location is another major perk. The state is centrally located within the U.S., so getting anywhere you need to go is easy. It's also home to several large cities, including Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. In other words, it's not lacking in opportunities for entertainment and recreation.

If you're looking for a state that offers a high quality of life at an affordable price, Ohio is the perfect place. From its low cost of living to its central location, Ohio has a lot to offer residents. Your chances of landing a great job and enjoying a fulfilled life are high in the Buckeye State.

5. Indiana

One of Indiana's most appealing characteristics is the cost of living, which is considerably lower than in many other states. It also has mild and temperate weather, so it's comfortable to live there year-round.

Indiana is underrated for what it offers nature lovers. The Hoosier State has a diverse landscape with a wealth of opportunities for outdoor recreation. If you're looking for a strong economy and a low unemployment rate, Indiana has you covered. Overall, it's a desirable place to live and work.

6. Kansas

Kansas is one of the most affordable states in the U.S. The cost of living is well below the national average, and the unemployment rate is consistently lower than the national average. This makes Kansas a top place to live if you're looking for good value.

In addition to being affordable, Kansas has a wide variety of recreational and cultural opportunities. There are plenty of museums, theaters and other Midwest attractions, and the state offers plenty of outdoor activities. Kansas has something to offer everyone, whether you're looking for a city or a small town.

Related: This Is the Living Wage You Need in All 50 States

7. Kentucky

Kentucky is a viable place to live and work because it's affordable (and the people are friendly). Kentucky's cost of living is among the lowest in the nation, and the state has no personal income tax. This makes it an excellent place for people looking to save money.

The Bluegrass State also has a low unemployment rate, making it ideal for job-seekers. And if you're into museums and historical sites, you'll love exploring the state's rich history and culture.

Further, Kentucky also has a great outdoor scene, with plenty of waterfalls, lakes and hiking and camping trails.

Remember that the state is home to some of the highest-quality spirits available, including its world-famous bourbon. Kentucky is worth considering if you're looking for a fantastic place to live and work.

8. Michigan

Michigan is one of the most affordable states in the country. The cost of living is significantly lower than in other states, and the median household income is also fairly appealing at $59,234. If you're living on a budget and want to get the most from your work and personal life, this might be the state for you.

In addition to being affordable, the Great Lakes State offers many benefits to its residents. It has a booming economy, many jobs and unique business opportunities.

It also has a beautiful natural landscape with parks and recreational areas galore. Plus, it's a comfortable place to live year-round (as long as you prepare for winter weather).

9. Oklahoma

Oklahoma is a top-notch place to live for various reasons, but one of the most important is its affordability. The cost of living in Oklahoma is lower than the national average, and housing prices are significantly below the national average. In addition, Oklahoma has a low state income tax, offering significant savings for residents.

Related: 4 Reasons Small Cities Are Better for Business

The Sooner State offers a variety of affordable entertainment options, from museums and art galleries to hiking trails and lakes.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, there are plenty of parks and camping sites to explore. All in all, Oklahoma is a great place to call home, thanks to its affordability and its many attractions.

10. Alabama

The cost of living in Alabama is relatively affordable. Compared to other states in the U.S., the cost of housing, food, and healthcare are all very reasonable. This makes the state ideal for anyone who wants to thrive on a budget.

Alabama is also home to a slew of attractions. It's filled with beautiful parks, nature trails and many excellent museums and historical sites.

And, of course, let's not forget about the incredible food scene in Alabama. From traditional Southern dishes to more modern fare, there's something for everyone to enjoy — especially when visiting Birmingham and other larger cities.

Alabama is worth considering if you're looking for a place to live that won't break the bank. Just be prepared for a bit of heat and humidity in the summer.

Honorable Mentions

The 10 states above might be our favorites in balancing the cost of living with quality of life, but there are many other US states to consider in your search. Here are some states that offer reasonable grocery costs, home value, property tax rates, health care costs and transportation costs:

  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Iowa
  • Georgia
  • Tennessee
  • Alaska
  • New Mexico

Choosing a state to live in

You must consider various factors when choosing a state or area to live in. One of the most important is what kind of lifestyle you want to lead. Do you want to be in a big city or a smaller town? Do you want to be close to family and friends, or do you want to be on your own?

Another critical factor is where your desired state falls in the cost of living index. How much can you spend on monthly rent, groceries and other expenses that factor into the average cost of living? Will you have good job opportunities, or can you grow your business in the area?

Moreover, think about the climate. If you don't like snow, you might not want to live in a place with a lot of snow. If you're used to hot weather, you might want to avoid living in a cold climate.

The U.S. is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world. With so many states and areas, taking your time and considering all your options is essential. Once you find the right place, you'll be happy you took the time to find it.

Looking for more business content? Check out Entrepreneur's catalog of articles, webinars, podcasts and books covering everything you need to know.

Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim, and Spy magazine. His latest books for kids include This Day in History, Car and Driver's Trivia ZoneRoad & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff, and Wendell the Werewolf

Read his humor column This Should Be Fun if you want to feel better about yourself.

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