Best Places to Live in America That You Can Actually Afford

Whether you're a retiree looking to make a move to a place where you can stretch a fixed income, or a younger person hoping to buy your first home and start a family, today may be the day you discover your destination.

While affordability is key in choosing where you live, the cities on this list also rank high for a number of other lifestyle factors.

Livability.com, which creates data-driven rankings of U.S. cities and works with cities to attract residents and business, created their annual list of 100 best places to live with cost of living as a key criterion in 2019, thanks to their survey of 1,000 millennials across the country, who prioritized affordability in their responses.

Livability ranked more than 1,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 1 million, and assigned each city a score. Livability chose the top 100 cities with a median home value below $250,000, though some may now be slightly higher. The ranking is based on more than 40 data points grouped into eight categories: amenities, demographics, education, economy, health care, housing, social/civic capital, and transportation/infrastructure.

TheStreet added household income figures, rents, and house/condo prices which are 2016 estimates from CityData, unless otherwise noted.

Here are the top 30 places to live in the U.S.

Photo: Asheville, N.C. MilesbeforeIsleep / Shutterstock

1. Boise, Idaho
1. Boise, Idaho

1. Boise, Idaho

Population: 214,196

Median gross rent: $870

Est. median household income: $55,199

Est. median house or condo value: $219,200


Photo: Shutterstock

2. Raleigh, N.C.
2. Raleigh, N.C.

2. Raleigh, N.C.

Population: 432,520

Median gross rent: $1,027

Est. median household income: $64,456

Est. median house or condo value: $242,500

Above, a crowd of cosplayers below the statue of Walter Raleigh arrive for Animazement, an annual three-day anime convention in Raleigh.

Photo: Toro_the_Bull / Shutterstock

3. Madison, Wis.
3. Madison, Wis.

3. Madison, Wis.

Population: 243,122

Median gross rent: $1,008

Est. median household income: $61,284

Est. median house or condo value: $236,100

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Iowa City, Iowa
4. Iowa City, Iowa

4. Iowa City, Iowa

Population: 71,832

Median gross rent: $854

Est. median household income: $44,917

Est. median house or condo value: $222,500

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Rochester, Minn.
5. Rochester, Minn.

5. Rochester, Minn.

Population: 116,000

Median gross rent: $950

Est. median household income: $67,712

Est. median house or condo value: $177,300

The biggest employer in Rochester is the Mayo Clinic, where there is a major campus.

Photo: Shutterstock

6. Columbia, Mo.
6. Columbia, Mo.

6. Columbia, Mo.

Population: 115,391

Median gross rent: $820

Est. median household income: $50,044

Est. median house or condo value: $187,200

Photo: Shutterstock

7. Sioux Falls, S.D.
7. Sioux Falls, S.D.

7. Sioux Falls, S.D.

Population: 164,341

Median gross rent: $794

Est. median household income: $56,867

Est. median house or condo value: $173,400

Above, Christmas lights illuminate Falls Park in downtown Sioux Falls.

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Pittsburgh
8. Pittsburgh

8. Pittsburgh

Population: 305,928

Median gross rent: $874

Est. median household income: $44,707

Est. median house or condo value: $120,800

Photo: 323 Productions / Shutterstock

9. Lincoln, Neb.
9. Lincoln, Neb.

9. Lincoln, Neb.

Population: 269,726

Median gross rent: $773

Est. median household income: $55,792

Est. median house or condo value: $160,600

Photo: rthoma / Shutterstock

10. Greenville, S.C.
10. Greenville, S.C.

10. Greenville, S.C.

Population: 61,734

Median gross rent: $928

Est. median household income: $49,000

Zillow reports the median home sales price in Greenville as $201,200 as of Feb. 2019.

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Fargo, N.D.
11. Fargo, N.D.

11. Fargo, N.D.

Population: 113,464

Median gross rent: $771

Est. median household income: $52,699

Est. median house or condo value: $196,400

Photo: Guy RD / Shutterstock

12. Tampa, Fla.
12. Tampa, Fla.

12. Tampa, Fla.

Population: 355,603

Median gross rent: $1,067

Est. median household income: $50,405

Est. median house or condo value: $216,100

Photo: Jason Sponseller / Shutterstock

13. Minneapolis
13. Minneapolis

13. Minneapolis

Population: 399,950

Median gross rent: $932

Est. median household income: $56,255

Est. median house or condo value: $235,200

Photo: Shutterstock

14. Asheville, N.C.
14. Asheville, N.C.

14. Asheville, N.C.

Population: 86,789

Median gross rent: $923

Est. median household income: $45,814

According to Zillow, the median home sale price in Asheville through Feb. 2019 has crept up to $264,600. Above, buskers perform in downtown Asheville.

Photo: Shutterstock

15. Bismarck, N.D.
15. Bismarck, N.D.

15. Bismarck, N.D.

Population: 66,980

Median gross rent: $923

Est. median household income: $45,814

Livability reports Bismarck's median home price as $183,100.

Photo: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock

16. Manhattan, Kan.
16. Manhattan, Kan.

16. Manhattan, Kan.

Population: 55,769

Median gross rent: $874

Est. median household income: $50,065

Est. median house or condo value: $199,375

"The Little Apple" is home to Kansas State University. Above, the opening day of the Kicker Country Stampede Music festival in Manhattan, Kansas.

Photo: mark reinstein / Shutterstock

17. Orlando, Fla.
17. Orlando, Fla.

17. Orlando, Fla.

Population: 256,738

Median gross rent: $1,114

Est. median household income: $46,761

Est. median house or condo value: $224,600

Photo: Shutterstock

18. Tempe, Ariz.
18. Tempe, Ariz.

18. Tempe, Ariz.

Population: 169,816

Median gross rent: $1,092

Est. median household income: $56,365

Zillow reports Tempe's median home sale price as $232,800 as of Feb. 2019. Tempe is home to Arizona State University.

Photo: Shutterstock

19. Bloomington, Ind.
19. Bloomington, Ind.

19. Bloomington, Ind.

Population: 82,813

Median gross rent: $865

Est. median household income: $32,136

Est. median house or condo value: $185,900

Bloomington is home to Indiana University.

Photo: Shutterstock

20. Omaha, Neb.
20. Omaha, Neb.

20. Omaha, Neb.

Population: 440,034

Median gross rent: $860

Est. median household income: $52,672

Est. median house or condo value: $149,900

Photo: Shutterstock

21. Charlotte, N.C.
21. Charlotte, N.C.

21. Charlotte, N.C.

Population: 792,137

Median gross rent: $1,052

Est. median household income: $61,017

Est. median house or condo value: $201,500

Pictured is Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte.

Photo: Kevin M. McCarthy / Shutterstock

22. Laramie, Wyo.
22. Laramie, Wyo.

22. Laramie, Wyo.

Population: 31,879

Median gross rent: $762

Est. median household income: $40,743

Est. median house or condo value: $216,627

Pictured is Mirror Lake in the Snowy Range of southeastern Wyoming, near Laramie.

Photo: Shutterstock

23. Durham, N.C.
23. Durham, N.C.

23. Durham, N.C.

Population: 246,084

Median gross rent: $949

Est. median household income: $52,208

Est. median house or condo value: $196,100

Durham is the home of Duke University.

Photo: zimmytws / Shutterstock

24. Billings, Mont.
24. Billings, Mont.

24. Billings, Mont.

Population: 108,134

Median gross rent: $848

Est. median household income: $54,222

Est. median house or condo value: $215,500

Photo: Shutterstock

25. Cincinnati
25. Cincinnati

25. Cincinnati

Population: 297,397

Median gross rent: $684

Est. median household income: $38,539

Est. median house or condo value: $134,100

Photo: Shutterstock

26. Lawrence, Kan.
26. Lawrence, Kan.

26. Lawrence, Kan.

Population: 91,305

Median gross rent: $870

Est. median household income: $54,243

Est. median house or condo value: $191,500

Lawrence is home to the University of Kansas and the DeBruce Center, above, which houses James Naismith's Original Rules of basketball.

Photo: Janis Schwartz / Shutterstock

27. Helena, Mont.
27. Helena, Mont.

27. Helena, Mont.

Population: 29,600

Median gross rent: $784

Est. median household income: $56,092

Est. median house or condo value: $218,861

Photo: Shutterstock

28. Louisville, Ky.
28. Louisville, Ky.

28. Louisville, Ky.

Population: 608,732

Est. median household income: $38,005

Est. median house or condo value: $133,656

Photo: f11photo / Shutterstock

29. Albany, N.Y.
29. Albany, N.Y.

29. Albany, N.Y.

Population: 98,468

Median gross rent: $895

Est. median household income: $42,302

Est. median house or condo value: $183,200

Photo: Shutterstock

30. Richland, Wash.
30. Richland, Wash.

30. Richland, Wash.

Population: 52,291

Median gross rent: $953

Est. median household income: $71,387

Est. median house or condo value: $233,587

Learn more about these cities and see the full ranking of all 100 cities at Livability.com.

Photo: Shutterstock

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