The 12 Least Expensive States Residents Are Running to Amid the Cost of Living Crisis

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Jul 02, 2024

Many people around the country are looking at the least expensive states differently these days. What was once seen as small towns and rural America are now embraced by residents who find their lives lacking in cramped, big cities.

The city with the top spot on the affordability list is Kentucky. Although many people might think of this state as being too small a town or not having enough amenities, the quiet cities and affordable living more than makeup for it. Kentucky has consistently lower gas prices than any other state and some of the lowest electric charges. Many people who have moved to the state say that their quality of life has gone up wit the extra dispensible income.

South Dakota

South Dakota is one of the great states that doesn’t have a personal or corporate income tax. This means that residents and business owners can keep more of their income.

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As well, natural gas and electricity prices are extremely low here. On top of the natural beauty of the state, many residents get to enjoy a simple life while keeping more of what they earn.

South Carolina

According to a home analysis, the average cost for a house in South Carolina was $239,500 in 2022. That’s about half the national average of almost half a million dollars.

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South Carolina also collects fewer tax dollars per resident than 42 other states. Lower taxes and house prices mean that many residents get to keep more of their money to spend it on things that matter.

New Mexico

Even though New Mexico experiences some of the hottest temperatures on average, it still experiences some of the lowest monthly energy bills in the country.

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As well, the cost of food in New Mexico is 5.4% below the national average recorded in 2021, which helps the cost of living stay down.


This stunning state is home to LSU, New Orleans, and many fascinating cultural and religious experiences. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, the cost of housing in this state is 13% lower than in the rest of the country on average.

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Thankfully, Louisiana has a lot of oil-refining, which means that oil and gas do not need to travel very far to get to customers, making the prices much lower than the national average.


More than 1.5 million residents live in or near Chicago, making it the third-most populous city in the United States. However, residents can still enjoy big-city amenities without paying the cost of living downtown.

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Many people say they experience all the wonderful parts of Chicago while living in a nearby town or a suburb. The cost of living and home prices are 20% lower on average, making it a wonderful place for a young professional to live.



Wyoming is another state with no personal or corporate income tax, which leaves residents with more of their money at the end of a paycheck.

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Also, Wyoming’s tax system is ranked #1 in the country by the Tax Foundation. This means that the taxes are the most business-friendly in the country and the perfect place to move a thriving business to.



It’s true what they say; everything is bigger and more affordable in Texas. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, highly educated tech workers have been moving in droves to the Lone Star State. Although this influx of residents has increased housing costs in bigger cities like Austin, the rest of the state is still highly affordable.

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Over the entire state, housing costs are still 15% lower than the national average. As well, Texas does not have a state income tax, allowing residents to do what they want with their money.



If you don’t mind putting on snow tires each winter, then Michigan might be the perfect place to live a more affordable life.

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Housing costs are 20% cheaper on average. The two biggest cities, Grand Rapids and Detroit, also rank in the top 20 most affordable housing markets. Although Detroit experienced an economic downturn after several prominent car manufacturers took their business overseas, the city has been experiencing a resurgence lately.



Nebraska is another underrated state. According to the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, it’s the only state that uses electricity generated solely from publically owned power systems.

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Because of this energy fact, residents pay 25.6% less than the national average. As well, with so many farms, locals often rely on nearby sources for healthy and inexpensive foods.



Affordable housing keeps living costs low in the great state of Ohio. In recent years, many people from bigger cities on the East Coast have migrated here to enjoy larger homes with big yards at a fraction of the cost.

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The two largest cities, Columbus and Cleveland both offer the big city feel without the expenses associated with other Midwestern cities like Chicago.



The housing costs in Arkansas are 22% lower than the national average, making this state one of the least expensive places to live.

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As well, transportation costs are much lower here, making it both easier to live and get around. Combined with the natural beauty, Kentucky makes a great place to live for those experiencing the pinch from the cost of living crisis.