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2017 Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living Ranking Methodology

The 2017 Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the affordability of an area at the city level. This grade takes into account key factors, including a location's housing, food, and fuel costs, as well as the median tax rates, in an attempt to measure the overall affordability and relative cost of living of an area. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

FactorDescriptionSourceWeight
Home Value to Income RatioThe ratio of the median home value to the median family income, where lower is considered better.U.S. Census15.0%
Median Effective Property TaxThe percent of the median property taxes paid on homes over the median home value.U.S. Census15.0%
Median Home ValueThe median home value for the area, where least expensive is considered better.U.S. Census15.0%
Median RentThe median rent for an area, where least expensive is considered better.U.S. Census15.0%
Monthly Housing Cost to Income RatioThe ratio of the median monthly housing cost for homeowners to the median monthly household income, where lower is better.U.S. Census15.0%
CPI Gas IndexConsumer Price Index of regular grade, unleaded gas compared to the national average in 2015 (lower is better).Bureau of Labor Statistics10.0%
CPI Grocery IndexConsumer Price Index of various grocery items compared to the national average in 2015 (lower is better).Bureau of Labor Statistics10.0%
Rent to Income RatioThe ratio of the median monthly rent to the median monthly individual income, where lower is better.U.S. Census5.0%

This ranking assesses 228 cities in the U.S. The same methodology is used to produce the Cost of Living Grade for each ranked city as well as additional places. Statistics are primarily obtained from the U.S. Census and represent the most recent data available.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.

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