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Least Expensive States

Least Expensive States
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Introduction

A low cost of living can significantly impact quality of life and financial well-being. In the United States, the southern and central regions provide the most cost-effective lifestyle, with a lower than average Cost of Living Index. This index measures the relative cost of living across the states, considering variables like housing, transportation, healthcare, food, childcare, and taxes. The national average for each index is 100, so an index value lesser than 100 means the costs are lower than the national average.

  • Mississippi takes the top spot as the least expensive state in the U.S., with a Cost of Living Index value of 85. This means prices are 15% lower than the national average. This is closely followed by Oklahoma and Kansas with index values of 85.8 and 87.5 respectively.
  • The southern states dominate the top of the list with Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee among the top ten least expensive states. These states benefit from lower housing and food costs.
  • In contrast, states with high urbanization, like Massachusetts, New York, and California, appear towards the bottom of the list, noted for their higher living costs, especially in housing.
  • The most expensive state, according to the Cost of Living Index, is Hawaii with a staggering index value of 184, indicating prices are 84% higher than the national average.
  • While cost-effectiveness seems concentrated primarily within southern and central regions, North Dakota, as an exception, ranks relatively high in the list with an index value of 97.1, despite being a northern state.

10 Least Expensive States

Topping the list for the least expensive states in regards to cost-of-living is Mississippi with an index of 85, reflecting that prices are 15% lower than the national average. Following closely is Oklahoma with an index of 85.8.

Third on the list you’ll find Kansas, with a cost-of-living index of 87.5,  emphasizing that mid-western charm can also come with a cost-effective lifestyle. Meanwhile, Alabama ranks at number four with an index of 88.1, exhibiting that southern hospitality doesn’t necessarily come with a steep price tag.

Georgia, another southern state, ranks fifth with an index of 88.6, reflecting the region's lower housing and food costs. Missouri follows suit with an index of 89.1, which showcases its affordability in costs for necessities. Midwest state Iowa is next with a cost of living index of 89.2. This is followed by Indiana, another Midwest state, with an index of 89.9. 

West Virginia claims ninth spot with an index of 90, indicating that this eastern state can also offer a cost-effective style of living. Lastly, Southern State Tennessee rounds out our list of the 10 least expensive states, with an index of 90.2, keeping stride with its other southern neighbors in providing a lower cost lifestyle.

Ten least expensive states are:

  1. Mississippi - Index 85
  2. Oklahoma - Index 85.8
  3. Kansas - Index 87.5
  4. Alabama - Index 88.1
  5. Georgia - Index 88.6
  6. Missouri - Index 89.1
  7. Iowa - Index 89.2
  8. Indiana - Index 89.9
  9. West Virginia - Index 90
  10. Tennessee - Index 90.2

Full Data Set

Frequently Asked Questions

Methodology