Small Budget? Here Are America’s 10 Most Affordable Big Cities

Photo (cc) by David W. Siu

Memphis’ home values are 46 percent below the national median. Its poverty rate, however, is 21 percent above the national average.

These stats are part of why the Tennessee city made Kiplinger’s recent listing of the most affordable big cities in the U.S.:

Big cities offer more employment opportunities, more things to do and more people to meet than smaller towns. But they also have drawbacks, from congestion and crime to high costs. That’s why a big city with a small price tag is uniquely appealing …

Kiplinger chose the following cities based on their populations (more than 250,000 people) and costs of living (among the lowest in the country, based on the Council for Community and Economic Research’s Cost of Living Index).

The top three cities are:

Memphis, Tennessee

  • Population: 653,450
  • Cost of living: 14.6 percent below national average
  • Median household income: $36,817 (compared to national median of $53,046)
  • Median home value: $98,300
  • Unemployment rate: 9.9 percent
  • Average commute to work: 21.5 minutes

Columbus, Ohio

  • Population: 822,553
  • Cost of living: 12.8 percent below national average
  • Median household income: $43,992
  • Median home value: $134,900
  • Unemployment rate: 4.4 percent
  • Average commute to work: 21.2 minutes

Omaha, Nebraska

  • Population: 434,353
  • Cost of living: 12.8 percent below national average
  • Median household income: $46,978
  • Median home value: $132,900
  • Unemployment rate: 3.9 percent
  • Average commute to work: 18 minutes

The cities that round out the top 10 are:

  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • San Antonio
  • Lexington, Kentucky
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Oklahoma City
  • Louisville, Kentucky

On the downside, half of the cities that made the most affordable list — Memphis, Columbus, Nashville, San Antonio and Louisville — also recently made the list of the “30 Cities With the Longest Workweeks.”

And five of the top 10 most affordable cities — Memphis, Nashville, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Louisville — also were named for the wrong reason among “The Most — and Least — Healthy Cities in the Nation.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Items Every First-Aid Kit Should Have
10 Items Every First-Aid Kit Should Have

Take control of your health and safety by customizing your own first-aid kit with these Amazon purchases.

12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

These items will help put your vehicular mess to rest — and each is available for less than $20 on Amazon.

14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask
14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask

With these companies, it might be easier than you think to negotiate your monthly bill down.

10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed
10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed

Here’s what to watch for to make sure you don’t fall prey to some of the biggest rip-offs targeting seniors.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021
7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021

These projects will take a bigger bite out of your budget than in the recent past.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.