KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – While Americans continue to feel the sting of inflation, three Tennessee cities are among the cheapest U.S. cities to live in by business and personal finance site Kiplinger.
Using calculations of living expenses in 267 urban areas from the Council for Community and Economic Research, Kiplinger compiled a list of the least costly 25 U.S. cities with at least 50,000 residents in their metro area to live in. The council’s cost of living index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous goods and services like going to the movies.
No state income tax and relatively low property taxes make cities across Tennessee appealing to middle-class families and retirees. Here are the Tennessee cities which are considered the cheapest to live in.
The largest city in East Tennessee landed at No. 7 on Kiplinger’s list of cheapest American cities to live in. According to the cost of living calculations, the average cost of living in Knoxville is 17.7% below the U.S. average, headlined by low housing costs which are 30% below the U.S. average.
Apartment rents are about a third less expensive and the typical Knoxville home price is more than $100,000 below the national average.
“The city is notable for its across-the-board affordability for everything from food to transportation, according to the Cost of Living Index,” Kiplinger said.
The median household income in Knoxville is $56,857 with the median home value listed at $180,700. Knoxville’s resident-friendly environment recently landed it on Forbes list of best places to retire in 2022.
Forbes writeup on Knoxville also cited the city’s abundant doctors per capita, good air quality, comfortable climate and strong economy among the enticing factors for retirees.
Housing costs could be on the rise with Knoxville and many cities in its metro area among the list of fastest-growing home prices in Tennessee. Knoxville’s population was 190,740 according to the 2020 U.S. Census.
Jackson, Tenn., ranked 11th on Kiplinger’s list thanks to a cost of living more than 16% below the national average. Housing costs, including mortgages, rents and insurance, are 29% lower than the U.S. average.
Lower healthcare costs also contributed to Jackson’s appeal.
“Folks looking to buy will be happy to hear the average house price stands at $280,867, a savings of $118,000 when compared to the national average. Average apartment rent is $889 vs. $1,218 for the U.S. as a whole,” Kiplinger wrote.
The city is home to major employers like Kellogg and Stanley Black & Decker. Jackson is home to the Ned R. McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center, the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex and the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame Museum.
Memphis came in at No. 18 on Kiplinger’s list of cheapest cities to live in with costs of living roughly 15% below the national average. Like its Volunteer State counterparts, lower-than-average housing costs make Bluff City more appealing compared to other cities.
“Average home prices come to $305,002 – an amount that would elicit screams from people who live in the most expensive U.S. cities. (The national average stands at $398,690, per C2ER.) Renters benefit, too. A typical apartment in Memphis rents for about $200 a month less than the U.S. average.”Kiplinger
The city’s status as a premier inland port makes the city a hub for shipping and transportation jobs. Memphis is home to FedEx, International Paper and AutoZone.
There is no shortage of entertainment options like the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, the iconic Beale Street and Elvis Presley’s famed estate ‘Graceland.’