The cost of living in America varies greatly from city to city. Factors such as median housing price, average utility costs, infrastructure and taxes combine to make a city more or less affordable. With thousands of cities to choose from, there are a number of places throughout the United States that boast an economical lifestyle.
Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
The metropolitan area of Manchester-Nashua is situated along the Merrimack River in New England. Home to a little more than 400,000 people, Forbes named Manchester-Nashua their top pick of “America’s Best Cheap Cities.” New Hampshire does not have sales or income taxes, and affordable housing, low living costs and low crime make this metropolitan area a haven for people who want their dollar to stretch as far as possible. The city also began an initiative in 2007 to make their neighborhoods both livable and vibrant.
In the northern heart of the Midwest, Columbus is a city that provides an economical lifestyle. The quality of life in this capital city is enhanced by Ohio State University as well as its welcoming business climate. As of 2010, the state of Ohio was ranked under the national average for cost of living. A lower cost of living means that housing and grocery dollars go much farther, allowing the populace to enjoy Columbus' renowned zoo, a national hockey team, the historic districts or the conservatory.
Located in the southeast corner of the state just west of the Smoky Mountains, Chattanooga is a city known for its beauty, given its proximity to the Smoky Mountains and Appalachian Trail. With median home prices at a little more than $100,000 and with no state income tax, living a comfortable and yet economical life is more achievable in Chattanooga. Citizens can use their savings to spend their time pursuing intellectual pursuits, historical treks or jaunts along the city’s extensive greenway system. The city also boasts one of the most affordable housing programs in the nation.
In addition to affordable housing prices and low tax bases, safety, public amenities and services should be a consideration when choosing an economical place to live. Located about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, Ogden has very low crime and unemployment rates, in addition to a low median home price. It also has a public transportation system that serves commuters and city-dwellers. An outdoor enthusiast’s and skier’s paradise, Ogden sits between the Great Salt Lake and three ski mountains, providing plenty of outdoor adventure for the holidays and weekends.
Kristie Brown is a publisher, writer and editor. She has contributed to magazines, textbooks and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.