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4 of the Cheapest States To Live In Right Now

Kiara Taylor
Head to Mississippi if you're searching for the most affordable state in the nation.
Head to Mississippi if you're searching for the most affordable state in the nation. / Jeremy Woodhouse / DigitalVision Collection / Getty Images
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With inflation and the consumer price index both on the rise, times are tough for countless Americans right now. The high price of living in expensive areas has prompted many to consider other options, especially amid growing concerns about the recession and overall job market security.  

But it isn’t all bad news: Freelance and remote work opportunities (the latter of which became more popular across the U.S. as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) have opened new pathways for everyday people to use their skill sets to gain additional sources of income.

And then there’s the fact that some states, believe it or not, have a reasonable cost of living. A recent report sheds light on this fact: Focusing on the composite cost of living index (which reveals the overall cost of living in an area relative to other states), Financer compiled a list of the cheapest states to live in, with those states averaging a score of less than 100 being considered under the national average. The numbers are also based on two adults working in a household of four people, while the monthly rents cited in the report reflect the average rent in each state for a two-bedroom apartment. 

The world changed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its continued volatility is concerning. Luckily, some areas around the U.S. still retain their charm and accessibility. Whether you cannot afford to live in your current state, want to get ahead of the recession, or need a change of scenery, the nation’s cheapest states are increasingly attractive to many Americans. Below are four of the most affordable.

1. Mississippi

Mississippi is far and away the cheapest state to live in. Based on Financer’s report, it has a cost-of-living index score of 86.1, which is strikingly low (it’s a weighted score with a baseline set at 100). For reference, compare it to Hawaii’s score of 192.9, the highest in the nation. As states go, Mississippi is a forested haven for outdoorsmen and those looking for a true escape from city life, in addition to its cheaper cost of living.

2. Kansas

Kansas currently has a composite cost-of-living index score of 86.9, which makes it close to Mississippi’s overall ranking in terms of affordability. The state gets its name from the Kanza tribe, which dominated the area before colonization. Today, Kansas retains its pastoral plains and boasts a vibrant urban life in cities like Wichita and Kansas City.

3. Arkansas

Arkansas has a composite cost-of-living index score of 86.9, according to Financer’s report. It also has the fifth-lowest average annual food costs for a family of four in the nation, which makes the state very attractive for larger families with multiple mouths to feed. The state is geographically diverse, with six distinct regions, including mountains, swamps, and dense forests. Arkansas has the surroundings to satisfy any discerning family looking to provide a gorgeous and varied backdrop to raise children.

4. Oklahoma

Oklahoma boasts affordable housing prices and according to Financer’s report, has a cost-of-living index score of 87. The rent of Oklahoma’s one-bedroom apartments averages less than $1000 monthly, meaning housing prices play a big role in the state’s affordability. This could make make Oklahoma an excellent destination for those among the 28 percent of American workers earning less than $25,000 per year.

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