The best way to decide on which of the USA states to live in is by comparing the cost of living and quality of life in the different states.
By doing so, you get various insights on major expenses like housing, groceries, and insurance that affect your cost of living, which you can use to compare the affordability and make the decision that suits your pocket.
As a matter of fact, the right decision on where to live looking at your income and style of living can save you from struggling to keep your head above water, to living a financially comfortable life.
Generally, it happens to be seen that USA states with a higher cost of living have a higher quality of life and offer higher salary rates. However, this doesn’t erase the fact that there are still places with standard quality of life and lesser cost of living.
The Cost of Living in the United States
In the US, an average household spends $61,334 each year to cover its expenses. This is with an average household income of $67,571 a year. So, when deciding which state to call home or begin your career in, the cost of living is a major factor. Let’s look at a quick definition of cost of living and quality of life.
What is the Cost of Living?
Cost of living refers to the amount of money necessary to maintain a certain quality/standard of living in a certain location. It includes essential expenses like housing, utilities, food, clothing, health care, and taxes. Usually, a cost-of-living index is used to compare how expensive it is to live in one area versus another.
What is Quality of Life?
Quality of life is a measure of comfort, health, and happiness of a person or a group of people. It is determined by factors such as income and housing, health, education, and freedom.
How It’s Measured
Each year, US & World News releases its “Best States to Live in” report, which ranks states on the quality of life each state provides its residents. To determine rankings, US & World Report considers a wide range of factors like we mentioned earlier – healthcare, education, economy, infrastructure, opportunity, fiscal stability, crime and corrections, and natural environment.
States in the USA With the Lowest Cost of Living
Based on the information by The Council for Community and Economic Research, we have provided the USA states with the lowest cost of living below.
Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the United States. The state’s housing costs are the lowest in the nation. The disparity between the state’s needs and wages resulted in the state ranking as one of the worst states to live in. 20% of Mississippians live at or below the poverty level.
Cost of Living: 83.3
Kansas is the second state with the cheapest cost of living in the USA. Housing costs are 28% lower than the national average. Groceries and transportation costs are also lower than the national average. However, Kansas has a poverty rate slightly lower than the national average and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Cost of Living: 86.5
Alabama is the third state with the lowest cost of living in the country. And, has the second-lowest housing prices, after Mississippi. The typical single-family home in Alabama sells for $170,184, while a two-bedroom apartment costs $807 a month. Alabama’s health and transportation costs are among the lowest in the nation. Poverty rates in Alabama are high, with 15.6% of residents living at or below the poverty line.
Cost of Living: 87.9
Oklahoma is the fourth state with the cheapest cost of living in the United States. Housing prices in Oklahoma are the fifth lowest in the country. The typical single-family home costs $150,754, while the average two-bedroom apartment rents for $814 a month. Costs for groceries and healthcare are also some of the cheapest in the nation. However, while the cost of living in the state is low, so are salaries.
Cost of Living: 87.9
Georgia is the fifth state with the lowest costs of living in the United States. Georgia’s housing expenses are the fourth lowest in the country. Transportation costs in Georgia are also among the lowest in the country. Although, the minimum wage in Georgia is only $5.15 an hour, which is the lowest in the nation. But, salaries are generally sufficient to cover the costs of living in the state.
Cost of Living: 88.8
Tennessee is the sixth state with the lowest cost of living. Housing costs in Tennessee are 21% lower than the national average. A typical single-family home costs $231,682, while an average two-bedroom apartment cost $904 a month. The transportation and healthcare costs in Tennessee are one of the lowest in the country. The average income for a family of four in Tennessee is $85,923 a year.
Cost of Living: 89
Missouri is the seventh state with the lowest cost of living in the United States. Housing in Missouri costs 20% less than the national average. A typical single-family home in the state costs $194,226 while two-bedroom apartment rents for an average of $834. Missouri has one of the higher minimum wages in the country at $11.15 an hour.
Cost of Living: 89.8
Iowa is one of the USA States with the lowest cost of living. Housing in Iowa is the sixth cheapest in the nation, with an index of 76. The average price of a single-family home is $165,955. The unemployment rate is also lower in Iowa than in the nation.
Cost of Living: 89.8
9. West Virginia
West Virginia is the ninth state with the lowest cost of living in the United States. Housing costs are among the lowest in the nation. The typical single-family home costs $117,768. A two-bedroom apartment cost an average of $727 a month. Transportation and healthcare costs are some of the lowest in the nation. However, West Virginia is ranked one of the worst states to live in due to low economic opportunities, poor educational outcomes, and infrastructure in need of repair.
Cost of Living: 90.5
The cost of living in Indiana is the tenth lowest in the United States. The state expenses are 10% cheaper than the national average. Indiana’s housing costs are the eighth cheapest in the nation. The average single-family home costs $185,805. A two-bedroom apartment cost $840 a month. Also, Indiana’s healthcare and transportation costs are among the lowest in the nation.
Cost of Living: 90.6
USA States With the Best Quality of Life
Washington state has the highest quality of life of all states in the USA. Their residents enjoy one of the nation’s longest life expectancies with no income tax, a thriving job market, great international business opportunities, a strong healthcare system, and lifestyle habits. The state is also a leader in renewable energy, with half of the state’s power supply coming from sustainable sources, primarily hydroelectric and wind.
Minnesota ranks second state with the best quality of life in the United States. Residents enjoy the fourth-longest life expectancy in the nation. The state also has one of the lowest levels of poverty in the nation, with 91% of residents living above the poverty level. WalletHub ranks Minnesota the fourth-best state to raise a family, due in part to high average family income and low levels of separation and divorce in the state. Crime rates are low, the air is clean, and the population is healthy!
Utah has the third-best quality of life in the United States. Utah’s economy is thriving and has the lowest rate of unemployment in the nation. Job growth is so high because of the state’s fiscal stability. Utah are also among the healthiest people in the country, with the lowest levels of alcohol and tobacco consumption and physical inactivity. Rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure are also among the lowest in the nation!
4. New Hampshire
New Hampshire has the fourth-highest quality of life in the U.S. The state has the lowest economic hardship, lowest levels of poverty, lowest food insecurity, and lowest levels of crime and incarceration in the nation. The state enjoys great air quality and has one of the highest rates of renewable energy just like Washington.
Idaho is the fifth highest state for quality of life in the USA. The state has the fastest-growing economy in the country and ranks second in 5-year GDP growth. Unemployment is among the lowest in the state. Also, residents enjoy high levels of homeownership, food security, and income equality with good air quality.
Nebraska ranks sixth for the highest quality of life. The state ties with Utah for the lowest unemployment rate. Life expectancy is also higher than the national average and residents are generally healthy, active, and well-rested.
Virginia has the seventh-best quality of life in the United States. Virginia’s economy is one of the tops in the nation, with CNBC ranking Virginia the best state for business. The state has very low levels of poverty and food insecurity with a high employment rate.
Wisconsin has the eighth-highest quality of living in the United States. The state’s schools are among the best in the nation and lead the country in high school graduation rates. The cost of living is lower than the national average with also a low poverty level. However, Wisconsin also leads the nation in excessive drinking.
Massachusetts has the ninth-best quality of living in the country. The state offers some of the best education in the USA. It has some of the world’s most prestigious universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, and Boston College. Also, residents are among the most educated in the nation. The state’s average household income is one of the highest in the nation, at $86,000. Massachusetts also has some of the best healthcare in the nation and ranks first for access to care and insurance coverage.
Florida has the tenth state with the best quality of living in the US. Florida’s economy is one of the strongest in the nation, with a GDP of over $1.1 trillion. If Florida was a country, it would be the fifteenth richest nation in the world. The economy also continues to grow, with over 200,000 jobs added each year.
Conclusion: The USA States with The Lowest Cost of Living and Highest Quality of Life
This list of USA States with the lowest cost of living and highest quality of life has been computed based on the information from the Council for Community and Economic Research. With it, you can decide which of the states in the United States of America meets your choice.