2015 Best Affordable Places to Live
In our annual overall Best Places to Live list, many of the cities are a little on the pricey side. We get it. Not everyone can afford to live in a place like Palo Alto or Berkeley. They're great places but not for everyone. Therefore, we felt it was important to look at places that are more affordable. What follows isn’t merely a list of the cheapest places to live in America. We didn’t set out to find cities where you can live on the bare minimum. Instead, these 10 cities are less expensive than most but still great places to live by all of our usual metrics.
To find these cities, we looked at cost of living across a number of categories such health care, food, housing, and transportation using data from C2ER and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. We also examined the tax climate in the state. Then we factored in our own unique LivScore. We selected one city per state to give us some geographic balance because much of the cost-of-living data is calculated at the county level.
Sure, there are some cheaper places to live. But these are cities where most people can afford to live and would still want to live.
A high concentration of public libraries, museums, parks and college graduates, below-average cost of living, and a healthy economy make Cedar Rapids, IA one of the Best Affordable Places to Live. Inexpensive housing is a big selling point for Cedar Rapids. The median home value in Cedar Rapids is $133,900, which is nearly $44,000 below the national median. Grocery, transportation and utility prices are also lower than they are in most cities.
And just wait until you see why retirees love living in Cedar Rapids.
Things to Do in Cedar Rapids
The second-largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids is considered the cultural center of the eastern portion of the state. Its downtown is filled with restaurants, shops, performing arts venues and historic attractions. Paramount Theatre hosts a variety of live performances including concerts and musicals. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses the world's largest collection of work by artist Grant Wood. The museum offers free admission from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday, and children 18 and under are always free. Families have no trouble finding cheap and often free things to do in Cedar Rapids. The city manages over 96 parks and trails, which provide more than 3,430 acres of land for recreational use.
While corn and grain processing roots the economy in Cedar Rapids, Rockwell Collins, a leading aircraft parts manufacturer, is the city’s top employer. The city’s low unemployment rate (3.9 percent at the end of 2014) is a testament to the many job opportunities Cedar Rapids offers.