Best Places to Live

2018 Best Affordable Places to Live

Our annual list highlights the best places to live that won't break the bank.

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With housing prices and day-to-day living costs skyrocketing, finding a great place to live that fits your budget can seem like an impossible task. Do great cities with affordable housing, strong job markets and entertainment options still exist?

Yes. You just have to know where to look.

And luckily for you, we did all the looking for you to assemble our 2018 Best Affordable Places to Live list, an ode to the best small to mid-size cities that offer a high quality of life and a low cost of living.  

We started by looking at over 2,000 cities across the country and comparing them across a variety of categories, including how much average households spent on necessities (like housing, transportation, food, and healthcare) and entertainment. We then carefully balance these points against each city’s median income per household to make sure these costs are realistic for everyone.

Finally, we mixed in our proprietary LivScore. Following the criteria we use to assemble our annual Top 100 Best Places to Live list, we analyze each place’s strengths in terms of its economy, healthcare, demographics, amenities and more. In order to be a Best Affordable Place to Live, a city must have a LivScore in the upper 40% of all cities.

Combining these two ideas — affordability and livability — gives us a unique roster of fantastic cities that are financially accessible to people on many different budgets. It also proves that the good life can still be had at a great price — and that's something worth celebrating.

Read on to see which cities earned a coveted spot this year.

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Ranking Criteria

Median Household Income
Median Home Price
Consumer Spending
Income Equality