The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama For 2021


We used data and science to determine which places in Alabama go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the cheapest places to live in Alabama.

Alabama is home to Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, the USS Alabama in Mobile, and the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, but did you know that the Heart of Dixie is also home to some of the most affordable places in the country?

The experts say that the cost of living is on the rise, so HomeSnacks thought it would be a great idea to give Alabamans one of the best life hacks: we compiled a list of the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2021.

How did we determine the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2021? We consulted the latest Census data on cost of living.

It simple economics, folks. The folks in our most affordable Alabama places know that the less they spend on their cost of living, the more they have to spend on the fun things that Alabama has to offer. Like, swamp boat tours in Spanish Fort, the Birmingham Zoo, or Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure in Bessemer. you know, great, affordable Alabama staycations. Do we think it's a coincidence that several of our top ten best places in Alabama to retire are also on our most affordable list? Absolutely not. The good 'ol Alabamans that live in these places know the value of the Alabama dollar.

So, want to know where you can find a safe, affordable Alabama home? Keep reading.

The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Alabama

  1. Attalla
  2. Russellville
  3. Roanoke
  4. Lincoln
  5. Pinson
  6. Valley
  7. Clay
  8. Southside
  9. Daleville
  10. Hamilton

To produce a comprehensive list of the most affordable places in Alabama for 2021, we took a look at the things that matter: low cost of living, blue ribbon schools, and an above average employment rate to name a few.

The cheapest place to live in Alabama? Drum roll... the number one most affordable place to live in Alabama is Attalla.

If you're already in one of the most affordable Alabama places we're about to highlight, odds are you don't want to go anywhere. You should, however, scroll on down and see how your city compared.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Alabama and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama For 2021

Attalla, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,836
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.4x (27th cheapest)
More On Attalla: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Alabama's most affordable place to live for 2021 is Attalla. Also, fun fact, Attalla is one of the city's that made this list that is located closest to an airport.

Why is that a fun fact? Because when you save a bunch of money on your home purchase, you can use that money to purchase a private jet and leave it at the The Northeast Alabama Regional Airport.

Attalla is the cheapest place to buy a home relative to its median income in the state and offers an oveall cost of living well below the national, and state, average.

Russellville, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,781
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.4x (15th cheapest)
More On Russellville: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Where Alabama's HWY 43 crosses HWY 24 is the second cheapest place to live in The Yellowhammer State. The beauty of Russellville is that it is the ninth most affordable place to buy a home or rent based on the median income at $43,358 for this area. So, if you're not sure if buying a home, let alone living, in this little city in Franklin County, you can try it out with a rental.

Roanoke, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,926
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.9x (39th cheapest)
More On Roanoke: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Our affordability index says that the third most affordable place in Alabama, Roanoke, knows how to balance affordability with fun. Located in the Piedmont region of eastern Alabama, Roanoke is the sixth cheapest place to buy a home based on median income. So, what do the good people in Roanoke do with all the money they save on their home purchase? They enjoy the best of Roanoke. And that, folks, can be a day spent tasting wine at Roanoke's very own Trillium Vineyard.

Lincoln, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,681
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.8x (74th cheapest)
More On Lincoln: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

You won't have to sacrifice class for affordability if you choose to live in Alabama's fourth most affordable place, Lincoln. Matter of fact, you won't have to sacrifice anything. Lincoln is the fifth best place to buy a home based on home price to income ratio; and economically speaking, the less you have to spend on your home, the more money you will for the fun things to do in the place that wants you to "Come Grow With Them." Like, catching a NASCAR race at the famous Talladega SuperSpeedway.

Pinson, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,109
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.9x (14th cheapest)
More On Pinson: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Located slightly northeast of Birmingham is Alabama's fifth least expensive place to live. This little gem from Jefferson County earned its ranking because it is the fourth cheapest place in terms of home price to income ratio. But, you're going to have to make at least $69,764/year if you want to buy a home here.

So, if you're looking for that one of a kind Alabama place that won't break your bank, Pinson is it.

Valley, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,286
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 11)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.8x (23rd cheapest)
More On Valley: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

As an official town, Valley has only existed for a relatively short period of time. It was first incorporated in 1980, a merger of a set of smaller communities. The area has gained a major distinction in its short time: it ranks as the number 6 most affordable city in the state.

Valley sits along the Chattahoochee River, right at the border with Georgia. This gives residents access to loads of scenic outdoors activities around nearby West Point Lake. With a population of 9,286 residents, Valley exists in a relatively rural part of the state. It takes more than an hour to get either to the state capital of Montgomery or to Atlanta, the nearest major metropolis.

This small-town, outdoorsy charm helps to keep expenses in the community under control. The median income in the area only comes in at $47,747. But those dollars go a long way. The median home value is an affordable $88,700, while the median rent hovers at $799 per month. Meanwhile, the overall cost of living is only about 80% of the national average.

Clay, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,888
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 87.7x (7th cheapest)
More On Clay: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Alabama's seventh most affordable city, Clay, is a great place to live for those working with a tight budget. This city in Jefferson County might be tiny with only 9,888 residents, but it's a pretty big deal on this list: it is currently the seventh cheapest place in terms of home price to income ratio. Clay has some pretty good deals for rentals, also, as it is the fifth best place to rent a place based on income.

Basically, Clay has made it super easy and super affordable to live in their corner of Alabama.

Southside, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,811
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 77.2x (10th cheapest)
More On Southside: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Southside, Alabama, actually sits in the northeast part of the state. Kind of strange huh? Rather than its position within the Heart of Dixie, the community gets its name from its location on the south side of Coosa River. Maybe it's time for a less confusing name. How about "Affordable, Alabama?"

The town earns this name thanks to its distinction as the number 8 most reasonable places in Alabama to put down roots. Rents and home prices are actually kind of high for the state. The median rent stands at $942 per month and the median home value comes in at $153,100.

However, residents in the community also enjoy relatively strong earning power, with the median income coming in at a lofty $72,687. In context, then, Southside has one of the best home price-to-income ratios in Alabama...meaning you can afford a lot for the paycheck you receive.

Overall, the cost of living in Southside comes in at 90% of the U.S. standard. The town has other selling points as well. Crime is more than 60% below the national average. Meanwhile, the quality of life is high, with above-average schools and gorgeous views of the Coosa River.

Daleville, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,123
Rank Last Year: 25 (Up 16)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (13th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.7x (87th cheapest)
More On Daleville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Daleville has a long history with the military. It was originally founded in the 1820s by veterans of the Creek Indian War. Nowadays, it provides an inexpensive place to live in the shadow of Fort Rucker, the primary training site for U.S. Army aviators.

Those pilots will get excellent value living in Daleville. The median home value sits at $92,600, while the median rent comes in at a scanty $660 per month. The general cost of living in the community comes in about 15% below the national average.

Daleville, located in the southeast corner of the state, hosts a population of 5,123 residents. This puts it in a rural area, with Fort Rucker as the major economic force in the area. The crime rate is more than 50% below the national average. The unemployment rate sits at 9.09%.

Hamilton, AL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,682
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (50th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.4x (60th cheapest)
More On Hamilton: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

For many, Hamilton's claim to fame is that they are the home to the former Minnesota Vikings lineman Bookie Bolin; but, for HomeSnacks, this city of 6,682 in Marion County is the tenth best place in Alabama if you are looking for affordable living.

Yes, the median income in Hamilton is $39,357 and the median home price is $106,700; so, for all of the economically savvy out there, we're pretty sure we can agree that this a Hamilton win.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Heart of Dixie For 2021

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2015-2019 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Alabama to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 104 places in Alabama that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Alabama according to the data is Attalla. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Alabama Cheapskate

If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Alabama, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2021.

Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Alabama according to the data:

  1. Gulf Shores
  2. Auburn
  3. Foley

For more Alabama reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In Alabama

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Attalla 10.67 5,836 1.8x 72.4x
2 Russellville 15.33 9,781 2.1x 74.4x
3 Roanoke 16.0 5,926 2.0x 69.9x
4 Lincoln 21.67 6,681 2.0x 75.8x
5 Pinson 21.67 7,109 2.0x 78.9x
6 Valley 26.67 9,286 1.9x 59.8x
7 Clay 27.33 9,888 2.1x 87.7x
8 Southside 29.67 8,811 2.1x 77.2x
9 Daleville 29.67 5,123 2.2x 62.7x
10 Hamilton 30.0 6,682 2.7x 76.4x
11 Hartselle 31.67 14,428 2.5x 87.7x
12 Opp 32.33 6,455 2.4x 60.6x
13 Muscle Shoals 34.67 14,103 2.4x 73.0x
14 Gadsden 35.5 35,486 2.3x 50.6x
15 Glencoe 35.67 5,077 2.6x 108.4x
16 Midfield 35.83 5,085 1.9x 42.5x
17 Boaz 36.33 9,277 2.6x 65.6x
18 Brewton 36.67 5,240 2.6x 67.2x
19 Gardendale 37.33 14,016 2.4x 79.6x
20 Tuscumbia 37.33 8,444 2.5x 63.5x
21 Alabaster 38.0 33,176 2.2x 73.6x
22 Albertville 38.33 21,541 2.6x 68.4x
23 Hueytown 38.67 15,540 2.3x 58.9x
24 Scottsboro 39.67 14,526 2.8x 71.2x
25 Prichard 40.33 21,773 2.3x 40.5x
26 Satsuma 40.33 6,159 2.4x 72.7x
27 Decatur 40.67 54,478 2.8x 73.9x
28 Oxford 40.67 21,323 2.5x 69.0x
29 Center Point 41.33 16,353 2.2x 50.5x
30 Saraland 41.67 14,391 2.5x 69.4x
31 Fairfield 43.0 10,720 2.4x 53.9x
32 Fultondale 43.33 9,179 2.4x 63.3x
33 Moody 43.67 12,840 2.6x 74.8x
34 Madison 44.33 49,327 2.6x 104.8x
35 Pelham 45.33 23,428 2.3x 71.9x
36 Ozark 45.33 14,413 2.8x 64.6x
37 Birmingham 46.33 212,297 2.4x 44.7x
38 Cullman 46.67 15,729 2.9x 72.6x
39 Arab 47.0 8,293 3.2x 81.3x
40 Semmes 47.0 5,284 3.1x 78.8x
41 Millbrook 47.33 15,645 2.5x 66.1x
42 Sheffield 47.33 8,986 2.6x 53.0x
43 Alexander City 47.33 14,508 2.7x 57.5x
44 Jasper 47.33 13,649 3.1x 78.7x
45 Pleasant Grove 48.67 9,651 2.2x 62.2x
46 Tarrant 49.0 6,174 2.6x 41.0x
47 Montgomery 49.0 199,783 2.5x 54.5x
48 Helena 49.67 18,463 2.2x 65.5x
49 Fort Payne 49.67 14,115 3.1x 67.7x
50 Athens 50.0 25,922 3.0x 80.1x
51 Anniston 50.0 21,688 2.7x 53.6x
52 Calera 50.67 13,856 2.4x 57.7x
53 Tuskegee 51.0 8,486 2.7x 46.1x
54 Chickasaw 51.33 5,817 2.6x 35.1x
55 Chelsea 51.33 13,098 2.4x 67.5x
56 Leeds 51.33 12,600 2.6x 69.4x
57 Clanton 51.67 8,700 2.9x 65.4x
58 Bessemer 52.33 26,680 2.7x 43.5x
59 Bay Minette 53.67 9,169 3.2x 66.8x
60 Enterprise 54.67 27,947 2.7x 71.1x
61 Irondale 54.67 12,637 2.5x 54.2x
62 Andalusia 55.0 8,772 3.0x 58.3x
63 Pike Road 55.33 9,320 2.9x 82.9x
64 Greenville 56.0 7,589 3.1x 59.8x
65 Talladega 57.33 15,522 3.1x 50.6x
66 Northport 57.67 25,874 3.0x 72.6x
67 Trussville 58.67 21,876 2.6x 68.8x
68 Rainsville 59.33 5,041 3.3x 58.5x
69 Spanish Fort 60.33 8,601 2.9x 71.6x
70 Opelika 62.67 30,232 3.1x 64.4x
71 Mobile 62.67 190,432 2.9x 49.4x
72 Hoover 63.0 85,175 3.3x 79.7x
73 Selma 63.33 18,276 3.2x 44.2x
74 Robertsdale 63.67 6,473 3.1x 55.0x
75 Lanett 64.33 6,271 3.1x 47.3x
76 Vestavia Hills 64.33 34,307 3.4x 89.9x
77 Florence 64.67 40,309 3.5x 63.0x
78 Jacksonville 65.33 12,651 3.6x 64.1x
79 Prattville 65.33 35,925 2.7x 58.4x
80 Montevallo 66.0 6,693 3.2x 66.8x
81 Dothan 66.0 67,894 3.2x 62.7x
82 Monroeville 66.33 5,898 4.0x 60.2x
83 Smiths Station 67.33 5,364 3.0x 57.0x
84 Phenix City 67.33 36,516 3.1x 50.5x
85 Sylacauga 67.67 12,226 3.6x 59.2x
86 Atmore 68.0 9,495 3.6x 44.8x
87 Wetumpka 68.33 8,243 3.2x 54.1x
88 Mountain Brook 68.33 20,436 4.1x 97.6x
89 Eufaula 69.33 12,065 3.9x 57.2x
90 Daphne 70.0 25,901 2.8x 59.9x
91 Orange Beach 70.67 6,019 3.6x 73.3x
92 Huntsville 71.0 196,219 3.3x 66.9x
93 Guntersville 71.0 8,468 4.2x 73.3x
94 Rainbow City 72.33 9,589 3.3x 63.4x
95 Homewood 73.0 25,534 4.1x 75.7x
96 Demopolis 73.67 6,807 4.3x 50.8x
97 Pell City 75.0 13,781 3.4x 63.7x
98 Oneonta 77.33 6,568 3.9x 59.6x
99 Fairhope 84.33 21,083 4.0x 62.9x
100 Tuscaloosa 87.33 99,390 4.0x 53.6x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

0 thoughts on “The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama For 2021

  1. Are there any small affordable safe and quaint little towns in a 60 mile radius of Tuscaloosa

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