Kiplinger has done it again. They've compiled data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to assess the cost of living in over 300 urban areas. The index includes housing prices, cost of groceries, utilities, health care and transportation, along with other costs that all add up to determine just how much you have to spend to live in a particular area. Cities with a population that was less than 50,000 were excluded from the analysis.
And what did they find?
Check out the list to see which made the top 10 cheapest places to live In the US for 2013.
Idaho Falls, with a metro population of just over 50,000, it's known for it's easy-access to outdoor recreation, strong economy and high quality of life. Along with housing prices that are well below the US average (just over 29% below, in fact) and rental prices that are also affordable, this small city often makes best places to live
With a population of 58,908, Conway is known as the 'The City of Colleges' because of its three post-secondary institutions, including the University of Central Arkansas. Conway is also a cultural meccas for Arkansas with the only professional Shakespeare company in the state in addition to a symphony orchestra, an art association and annual festivals. Located in central Arkansas, Conway is a good place to live - and live cheap - at number 9.
Even though Springfield is the capital of Illinois, it still makes the top 10 cheapest places to live. Springfield's population is just over 116,000 and with the acclaimed history of being the once-residence of Abraham Lincoln, the city has a lot to offer both in terms of arts and historical sites.
With a mild, semi-desert climate, Pueblo is the destination for movers who'd like to make Colorado home, but prefer less snowy conditions than some of the other larger metropolitan areas. Just over 102,000 people make Pueblo home and with the city hosting the state fair, it might be a good place for a family to settle.
With a population of over 102,000, the City of Wichita Falls boasts lots of things to do for both locals and visitors alike. Wichita Falls lists on its site a wide variety of activities and sites, including museums, concerts, live theater, the symphony, festivals, fairs, sporting events, parks, a 14 mile trail system, nightlife, shopping, movies, auto racing, fishing, hunting, boating and so much more. Hard to beat that!
As the home of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is a city that hums with activity and interest, including the Walton Arts Center which is the center for arts, performances and entertainment in Arkansas. With over 70 parks, the city also prides itself on sports and recreational activities and because Forbes once named it the area to recover fastest from the recent economic decline, the city is a great spot for families to work and live.
As the birthplace of Elvis, Memphis stems from a history rich with music, art and culture. Over 655,000 people call the city home along with three Fortune 500 companies. According to CBS news
, metropolitan areas across the country with a population over a million, Memphis has the highest unemployment rate at 9.5 percent. So while it might be a cheap place to live, employment may be more difficult to find.
Another college town, Norman is the home of the University of Oklahoma. According to their website, Norman Norman was recognized as one of the most progressive cities in the state. And with the top school system in the state, it's a good choice for families and students alike. Just be aware that Norman is also the home of the National Weather Center and is situated in Tornado Alley with storms appearing a little more often than in other areas of the state.
Located on the Rio Grande, McAllen boasts a population of 130,831. It is also known as one of the best places to see birds where you can spot over 500 bird species according to the World Birding Center
which is also located in McAllen, Texas. Being on the migratory path between North and South America, McAllen is the perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast.
According to their city website, with almost 65,000 people calling Harlingen home, the city rests in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The city covers more than 34 square miles, and is the second largest city in Cameron County and the sixth largest in the Rio Grande Valley. Another site of the World Birding Center is located here in Harlingen along with being the cheapest place to live in the US - a good reason to check out this mid-sized city.