While its economy is built on space exploration, missile defense and biotechnology, residents in Huntsville find living expenses far from out of this world. Spending levels in nearly all the categories we measured were below the national average in Huntsville, and the city offers a soaring economy and an array of things to do, putting it on a trajectory to become No. 1 on our list of the best affordable cities in 2016.
Despite a series of ups and downs, Huntsville remains the center for rocket-propulsion research in NASA and the Army, providing many high-tech jobs to engineers and rocket scientists. Those types of jobs help boost the median household income in Huntsville to more than $50,000. And that amount of money allows residents to enjoy many of the amenities this city has to offer. We found that Huntsville residents spend the lowest percentage of their income on housing (22 percent) when compared to the other cities on this list.
While Huntsville’s top employers include the Army’s Redstone Arsenal, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Cummings Research Park, the city is also home to more than 70 Fortune 500 companies. The economy in Huntsville has continued to climb, keeping residents here gainfully employed and drawing in new people. The University of Alabama - Huntsville provides opportunities to achieve higher levels of education and training.
Living in Huntsville puts you near cultural attractions like the EarlyWorks Children’s Museum, a botanical garden, the Sci-Quest Science Center and Huntsville Museum of Art. Sports fans find great deals on tickets to see Huntsville’s minor league hockey team, the Huntsville Havoc; the nearby arena football team, the Alabama Hammers; and a variety of events at Alabama A&M University, located just a few miles away. A regional assortment of more than 600 restaurants, coffee shops, food trucks and bakeries gives diners plenty of options when it comes to eating out. Some of the most popular restaurants in Huntsville serve diverse ethnic meals from Germany, Asia and the Mediterranean. Approximately 60 parks, which cover more than 3,000 acres, provide residents with a range of spaces for soccer games, flying kites, morning jogs and sunny strolls.