Due to inflation, it is becoming more and more expensive to live in the United States, points out Business Insider : “Americans spent $500 [499 euros] more in June than they would have paid out in 2018 or 2019.”
Consumer purchasing power is diminished, explains George Ratiu, head of economics at Realtor.com:
“Due to soaring inflation and the fact that people’s weekly wages and incomes are not growing at the same rate, we are left with less discretionary funds to spend each month.”
Under the circumstances, Kiplinger, a company specializing in personal finance, set to work to find the most economical cities to live in. Kiplinger used data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to calculate current expenditures for 267 urban areas of at least 50,000 people.
After studying prices for housing, groceries, transportation, health care, and goods and services, Kiplinger, whose newsletter, notes Yahoo Newsis “one of the nation’s most widely read publications on financial and economic forecasting for more than a century,” has identified the 10 most economical cities in the country.
Kalamazoo in the front row
Kalamazoo, Michigan, with a population of 264,000, takes first place. According to Kiplinger’s report, the cost of living there is 24.3% lower than the national average, the unemployment rate is 4.6% and the city “ranks among the best places to retire”.
In second place Harlingen, Texas. The median price of a house is 171,000 euros cheaper than the national average, and the median monthly rent for an apartment is around 173 euros, or 41% less than the national average. But beware, says the research: just like Kalamazoo, a quarter of the inhabitants of Harlingen live below the poverty line. This is also the case of another Texas city, McAllen, ranked third in this list.
In fourth place, we find Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, “a surprisingly eclectic city that attracts Civil War buffs, blues buffs and even ballet lovers”. Retirees benefit from the abundance of medical staff and geriatric facilities.
“People are leaving the big cities”
Amarillo (Texas) stands out in fifth place, with house prices 40% below the national average and an unemployment rate of 3.1%. That said, sales and property taxes are high there. Anniston (Alabama), Knoxville (Tennessee), Joplin (Missouri), the Augusta-Aiken metropolitan area (Georgia and South Carolina) and Kokomo (Indiana) close the march of the top 10.
Reacting to the study, Anniston Mayor Jack Draper told the daily Anniston Star that his city offers very affordable housing options and is full of quaint, walkable neighborhoods. He adds :
“Recent trends show people moving out of big cities, whether because of the cost of living or a desire to live in smaller, more walkable, outdoor communities.”