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Every other real estate website seems to have a list of The Top 10 Cheapest State Live, so we figured we ought to have one, too.

Our list is better, though.  Here’s why.

Instead of just looking at one set of data, we’ve examined, cross-referenced and consolidated data from four different studies. Our goal was to create a more accurate and comprehensive list than the ones that currently exist and only look at data in isolation. Remember, it’s important to gather as much data as possible; from rent reports in cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to home prices in expensive cities all across the country, the more information … the better.

By identifying themes and consistencies across multiple studies, we were able to build a more precise and complete list. The states that appeared in the top 10 among all four studies received preference to rank higher on the list more so than just “living wage”. While living wage was a factor in the rankings, it was not the sole determining variable for state placement. For our purposes of this analysis, a “living wage” has been defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs (food, houses, clothing, etc).

With no further ado, here’s Transactly’s List of Top 10 Cheapest States to Live In:

#10 – Ohio

  • Living Wage: $52,013
  • Median Household Income: $52,407
  • Average Home Price: $169,900
  • Made the Top 10 in 2 of 4 studies
    • Specialty: Cheap Medical and Health Care

#9 – Missouri

  • Living Wage: $53,654
  • Median Household Income: $51,542
  • Average Home Price: $179,900
  • Made the Top 10 in 3 of 4 studies

#8 – Alabama

  • Living Wage: $50,585
  • Median Household Income: $46,472
  • Average Home Price: $204,900
  • Made the Top 10 in 3 of 4 studies

#7 – Tennessee

  • Living Wage: $50,152
  • Median Household Income: $48,708
  • Average Home Price: $244,900
  • Made the Top 10 in 3 of 4 studies
    • Specialty: Cheap Food & Necessities

#6 – Michigan

  • Living Wage: $53,281
  • Median Household Income: $52,688
  • Average Home Price: $185,000
  • Made the Top 5 in 3 of 4 studies

#5 – Oklahoma

  • Living Wage: $52, 805
  • Median Household Income: $49,767
  • Average Home Price: $183,421
  • Made the Top 6 in 3 of 4 studies

#4 – Indiana

  • Living Wage: $52, 207
  • Median Household Income: $52,182
  • Average Home Price: $184,900
  • Made the Top 10 in 4 of 4 studies
    • Specialty: Cheap Medicine

#3 – Kansas

  • Living Wage: $53,201
  • Median Household Income: $55,477
  • Average Home Price: $194,500
  • Made the Top 10 in 4 of 4 studies

#2 – Arkansas

  • Living Wage: $49,970
  • Median Household Income: $43,813
  • Average Home Price: $174,900
  • Made the Top 3 in 3 of 4 studies
    • Specialty: Cheapest Housing

#1 – Mississippi

  • Living Wage: $48,537
  • Median Household Income: $42,009
  • Average Home Price: $179,900
  • Ranked the #1 spot in 3 of 4 studies
    • Specialty: Cheap Food
    • Specialty: Cheap Childcare

By contrast, California ranks #50 / 50 in the cheapest states to live with a Living Wage of $68,190

References & Tools Used:

  • Studies Referenced: CNBC’s cheapest states to live in, CNBC’s money to get by in every state, MIT’s study of living wages, US News & World Report’s most affordable states, and the Council for Community and Economic Research’s cost of living data series.
  • Tools used: Average Home Price (Business Insider via Zillow), Median Household Income (US Census) Living Wage per state (via CNBC), Living Wage Calculations (via MIT), Consumer Price Index (via US Federal Government), & Cost of Living averages.
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