The 10 Most Affordable Metropolitan Cities to Live In

by Chloe Muller on April 22, 2021

in Featured Content, Personal Finance, Travel

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It’s no secret that things are usually more expensive in metropolitan areas such as New York and Los Angeles. Big cities all over the United States tend to have better job opportunities (well, more job opportunities), often with accompanying great salaries. In my experience, most people choose to live in big, metropolitan cities for several reasons, including convenience, employment opportunity and overall lifestyle satisfaction. But it’s not necessarily so that living in a city means living above your means, without enjoying the finer things. In fact there are dozens of great metropolitan areas to choose from in the U.S. today.

In order to qualify as both “metropolitan” and “affordable”, each city had to meet the following criteria:

-There are at least 100,000 people living there.

-Transportation, health services, and the cost of every day needs such as groceries, as well as rent by the month must all be up to a modern and non-prohibitive standard

-The city must have a relatively low cost of living, and be in relatively stable economic circumstances.

-Each metropolitan area should exhibit prosperity amidst a solid job arena, with nothing too explosive or too dreadful as far as unemployment or job creation in the past few years.

Nashville Cityscape / Wikipedia Commons

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-None of the costs of daily life are too high so as to prevent a comfortable living. The opposite of this would be a city such as New York, where the costs of public transportation and food (in supermarkets) are relatively reasonable, but rents are so high as to make moving there impossible for some individuals or families. Some research into the most affordable metropolitan cities focused on housing over transportation or unemployment over cost of living. These 10 cities have the best qualifications over all.

Here is the list of the top 10 most affordable cities:

  1. Oklahoma City, OK
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Rochester, NY
  5. Nashville, TN
  6. San Antonio, TX
  7. Houston, TX
  8. Louisville, KY
  9. Birmingham, AL
  10. Austin, TX

Many of the most affordable cities are not only a dream to afford on an average salary, they are culture dens as well as state capitals, packed with university attendees and professors, arts centers, music and culinary innovations, as well as quality school districts. The job market in cities such as Austin is not only growing rapidly, it is also reflecting the technological advancement inherent in the job market today. So, not a bad place to go for IT or other related work.

If you like having all four season, cities like Rochester and Pittsburgh can offer pleasant summers and breathtaking autumns, with everything in between. These areas, though historically depressed, also somehow escaped all the ups and downs of the previous few decades, and are now slowly and steadily coming into their own.

There are even more cities on the list of most affordable metropolitan areas. They didn’t make the top ten, but they are still worthy of a look. These include cities like St. Louis, Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta, and Minneapolis.  To truly get the most for your salary in a metropolitan city, be sure that the cost of living is low enough to make your move worthwhile, but that you still have plenty of things to make your metro experience an exciting one.

The first time I left NYC to see the world, I saw the country first, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many metropolitan cities I could imagine myself moving too, without losing any of the conveniences or “hip” factor of New York, for a fraction of the living cost. Since then, I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out a few of these great cities as a new home when I get back to the States.

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