Top 10 LCOL areas to live in the US: they will fit your budget

If you live in a place that costs you more than you earn, you can get pretty stressed out. Check some LCOL areas to live in and make the most of your income to have a better quality of life.


by Julia Bermudez

Published on 08/18/2022

Choosing an LCOL area can help you save money and increase your life quality

Loving young African mom and her cute little daughter eating a healthy fruit snack together in their kitchen at home
Improve your quality of life by living in an LCOL area in the U.S. Source: Adobe Stock.

If you’re looking for LCOL areas to live in in the US, you have just found the perfect content. Save some time and read this post to find the 10 best areas to live at a lower cost of living. 

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While some people love the buzzing of a big city, others are looking for a quieter place. Or even looking for a better way to live in the big city without having to compromise all of their income just with basic housing expenses.

Paying for rent or mortgage, electricity, water, gas, food, and other basic things can be quite expensive. Especially if you live in an HCOL or High Cost of Living area.

So, if you’re tired of paying a lot of money to live in a small apartment and struggling to pay for your groceries, take a look at the top 10 places to live in an LCOL area with no need to leave the US to achieve it.

What is an LCOL area?

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Learn what an LCOL area is and check its benefits. Source: Adobe Stock.

If you’re not familiar with the term LCOL, we’ll clarify this for you. LCOL is an acronym and stands for Low Cost of Living.

The medium cost of living takes into consideration the basic expenses everybody needs for a living: a house with water, electricity, internet and gas, food, transport, health services, and products from drugstores, etc. 

There is an index that turns these costs into a number. The medium point is 100, which represents the MCOL (Medium Cost of Living). Any place above 100 is an HCOL (High Cost of Living) and any place below 100 is an LCOL (Low Cost of Living)

LCOL areas in the US: the 10 best places to achieve a lower cost of living

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Pick one of the 10 most affordable cities to live in the U.S. Source: Adobe Stock.

There are some pros and cons of living in an LCOL area. Generally, if you’re looking to decrease your cost of living, no matter the reason, you can pick one of the cities on this list. 

Pick a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle, but know that you are already looking at the 10 most affordable cities to live in an LCOL area.  

Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Cost of Living Index: 86.3

If you are looking for a quiet city but don’t give up rich art and cultural scene, the city of Forst Wayne is perfect for you.

This LCOL area, located in the northeastern state of Indiana in the US, has a cost of living that is 13.7% below average. The city’s strong point is affordable housing, an increasingly sought-after benefit.

El Paso, Texas

  • Cost of Living Index: 56.05

This is a case of a big city with a low cost of living. Anyone looking for a sunny place to live will be very happy here as the weather is predominantly sunny most of the year.

The job offer is good, and the city is located close to important parks and natural attractions.

Mobile, Alabama

  • Cost of Living Index: 85.5

The city of Mobile, Alabama, has more than 430,000 inhabitants and a very rich ethical and cultural heritage. It was a French colony, but it also housed several other ethnicities, both from enslaved peoples and immigrants who came of their own free will.

Its wide tree-lined avenues are a peaceful setting to enjoy an LCOL area with excellent quality of life.

Topeka, Kansas

  • Cost Of Living Index: 85.3

I bet you didn’t expect to see a state capital in this list of 10 cities with LCOL areas to live in the U.S.

But here is Topeka, a capital that has managed to develop without harming the cost of living for its inhabitants. Expect to find vast employment opportunities, excellent education, efficient health services, and high quality of life.

Wichita, Kansas

  • Cost of Living Index: 59.56

This gracefully named city and nearly 400,000 residents have one of the best costs of living in the US.

This number of inhabitants has increased in recent times, as many people are fleeing the high costs of living in the most popular cities. However, the city’s climate is arid and can be challenging for some people.

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Memphis, Tennessee

  • Cost of Living Index: 84.9

If you want to buy a home at the lowest possible price, Memphis is the city you are looking for. This LCOL area has homes and rentals well below the national average, with a tax policy friendly to its residents.

It’s not a small town. It has more than 1,300,000 inhabitants. So don’t expect a laid-back, small-town lifestyle, as things are busy here.

Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas

  • Cost of Living Index: 84.3

This is a curious city! It is actually two cities that share the same name because they are actually mixed. The state line that separates Texas from Arkansas crosses the city (or rather, the cities).

In the past, the city has suffered from a mysterious serial killer who has made life for its inhabitants hell. But that is in the past, and today the city is one of the best to live in if you are looking for an LCOL area in the US.

Joplin, Missouri

  • Cost of Living Index: 82.6

Legend has it that this town was home to the famous robber duo Bonnie and Clyde.

The city enters the list of LCOL areas in the US for having a housing price well below the national average. But keep in mind that this is a region known for its tornadoes.

Knoxville, Tennessee

  • Cost of Living Index: 82.3

With an unemployment rate of less than 3% and very affordable home prices, Knoxville is a gem if you’re looking to live in an LCOL area and lower your costs.

The lifestyle mixes the urban with the country, pleasing different types of people. The Tennessee River crosses the city, which has a university.

Kalamazoo, Michigan

  • Cost of Living Index: 75.7

The city of Kalamazoo enters the list of LCOL areas because it has a 24% lower cost of living than average, which is remarkable. However, the city is precarious, and many residents live in poverty.

But it’s a quiet town, close to nature and not far from Chicago in case you need something from the big city.

The less affordable cities in the world: these are definitely no LCOL areas

On the other side of the rule, we have the cities with the highest HCOL in the entire world. Living here can be pretty expensive, but it can also bring you new opportunities.

Check which cities are the most expensive in the world. Are you living nearby or in one of them?

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About the author  /  Julia Bermudez

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