Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. are commonly referred to as “superstar cities” — innovation hubs that are home to major companies in industries like defense, finance, and technology. Companies in these cities pay top dollar to attract talent from across the country and around the world, thus contributing to skyrocketing living costs that are often well above what the typical American can afford.
The overall cost of living ranges from 18% to 28% higher than average in these cities. Housing can be particularly unaffordable, with rents costing at least 50% more on average. These are the cities where the middle class can no longer afford housing.
Living in a major city, and benefitting from the concentration of jobs, amenities, and culture, does not have to break the bank, however. There are dozens of cities nationwide with a lower than average cost of living and with relatively affordable housing markets — and many of them are growing rapidly.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 most affordable metropolitan areas Americans are moving to. In each of the metro areas on this list, the overall cost of living is lower than the national average, and typical housing costs are more in line with area incomes than average across all cities. Additionally, between 2010 and 2018, far more people have moved to these cities than have left.
Not only are people moving to these cities, but many are also choosing to start families in these areas. About half of the cities on this list also reported higher than average natural population growth — meaning there were more births than deaths between 2010 and 2018. Not surprisingly, many of these cities are among the fastest growing in the United States. Here is a closer look at America’s 25 fastest growing cities.