Arkansas is known for its very affordable places to live, some pretty nice people, and, of course, fried catfish. In fact, the cheapest places to live in Arkansas rival the lowest cost of living in the United States.
How do you find the most affordable place to live in Arkansas? You must look at the data to find Arkansas’s most affordable places. And, lucky for you, we crunched the numbers from the US Census in terms of median housing costs, median income, and overall cost of living for cities with over 5,000 residents.
If you choose to live in one of the most affordable places in Arkansas, you will save money for the fun things this southern gem offers. For example, scoring tickets to the Hot Springs Music Festival or a day trip to Buffalo National Park.
Keep reading as we unravel Arkansas’ most affordable places to live.
The 10 most affordable places to live in Arkansas
What is the most affordable place to live in Arkansas for 2023? The most affordable place to live in Arkansas is Camden.
Are you surprised that some of Arkansas’ most affordable cities are also Arkansas’ top 50 biggest cities? Not at all. You can’t blame the good people of Arkansas for wanting to move to where the cost of living is the lowest.
To see how your city compares, take a look at the list below. And if you don’t see your favorite there, head to the bottom for a complete chart of Arkansas’s cheapest places to live.
Check out some more reading about Arkansas and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 cheapest places to live in Arkansas for 2023
Camden, located in the south-central part of arkansas, is a budget-friendly place to call home. With a median rent of $585, residents can enjoy affordable housing options without breaking the bank. Additionally, the overall cost of living in Camden is also below the national average, making it an appealing choice for those looking to save money.
Camden, with a population of over 10,644, serves as the county seat of Ouachita County. Residents can enjoy a peaceful small-town atmosphere while still having access to amenities such as shops, restaurants, and parks. With a median income of $42,348, locals are able to make a comfortable living while enjoying all that Camden has to offer.
If you’re already living in Walnut Ridge, kudos on your financial prowess, because you’re living in the second most affordable place in Arkansas for 2023. Walnut Ridge is located along “Rock n’ Roll” Highway 67, and honors its ties to the music’s history with the outdoor guitar walk park and the annual Beatles at the Ridge music festival.
So if you’re a Rock n’ Roll enthusiast who’s also into getting the best deal, Walnut Ridge might be the place for you. The city has the fourth best home price to income ratio in Arkansas.
You’ll have no trouble believing you’re living in one of the states with the lowest rent in America when you rent in De Queen. Not when you can snag a place for just $629/month. De Queen is about equally affordable for those looking to buy a home, with a median price tag of $93,100. You’ll also never lack for sweet fishing and hunting oppotunities with Pond Creek right in your backyard.
De Queen is located in southwestern Arkansas, near the Oklahoma border.
Mena, located in Polk County, Arkansas, is a wonderful option for those looking for an affordable place to live. With a median home value of $88,400 and a median rent of only $679, it’s easy to see why Mena ranks in the top ten for Arkansas.
In addition to its low housing costs, Mena has an overall cost of living index of only 81.0, making it an attractive option for those on a tight budget generally. Mena offers many amenities, including a historic downtown area and beautiful natural scenery. Whether you’re a retiree looking to stretch your savings or a young professional just starting, Mena has something for everyone seeking an affordable place to call home in Arkansas.
Warren is an affordable place to live in arkansas with a cost of living index of 76.0. The median home value is $77,300, and the median rent is $576. The income-to-rent ratio is 63.27, making it easy to find affordable housing options.
Aside from being affordable, Warren is a great place to live. It offers a small-town feel with only 5,485 people, making it perfect for those who prefer a quieter lifestyle. The city is also the county seat of Bradley County, which means residents have access to government services and amenities. Additionally, Warren boasts a low unemployment rate of 4.13, making it easier for residents to find work.
Blytheville stands in the northeast corner of Arkansas, close to the border with Tennessee. It was founded in the late 1800s, with forestry and cotton providing early economic boosts to the area. The town lies in a rural region close to the Mississippi River. As a result, Blytheville provides its 13,559 residents a rustic air and access to plenty of outdoor activities.
And Blythevillians can get these benefits at a low cost. The town represents one of the cheapest places to live in all of Arkansas.
The median income is relatively small, coming in at just $43,191. However, it’s easy to stretch a dollar in the area. The median home price comes in at $89,200. At the same time, rents in the area have a median value of $676. The general cost of living is less than 80% of the U.S. average.
Yes, Blytheville is an affordable place to raise a family. But there are challenges as well. Along with the economic troubles, the area suffers a high crime rate, more than 170% above the national standard.
As you probably guessed from its name, Stuttgart, Arkansas, has a connection to Germany. Its founder was a German immigrant who named the town in the late 1800s. The town got a boost soon after from the railroad. These days, it’s more than a stopover for the train. It ranks as the number 7 most affordable place to live in Arkansas.
Positioned in the east-central part of the state, Stuttgart is about an hour outside of Little Rock, the state’s largest city and its capital. The town, with its population of 8,363 residents, is also home to the World Championship Duck Calling Contest.
It’s easy to afford a home in Stuttgart. The median income in town is $58,062 and the median home value sits at $125,200. That gives the area the number 14.0 home price-to-income ratio in Arkansas.
Even if you’re not looking to buy, you can find deals. The median rent in the area comes in at $695 per month. The overall cost of living comes in at about 15% below the national average.
You may have heard of Hope, Arkansas. For such a small town, it has had a big historical impact. It served as the birthplace of President Bill Clinton. These days, it has another distinction: it’s the number 8 spot in Arkansas in terms of affordability.
Bill Clinton had a famously hardscrabble childhood growing up in Hope, a town located in a rural area in the southwestern part of the state. Economic times in the community aren’t much better today. Residents have to make due with a median income of $42,122 and deal with an unemployment rate of 3.95%.
Still, the people of Hope at least get a lot for their money. The median home value sits at $83,200. That’s the seventh lowest figure in all of Arkansas. Rents are similarly low, with the median value coming in at $716 per month. The general cost of living is less than 80% the U.S. standard.
The schools in Hope are solid. Safety is an issue though, with a crime rate almost twice the national average.
While the top two cities on this list have the affordability-edge for home-buyers, bronze-medalist Berryville stands out as one of the premium places to rent in Arkansas. At a median rent of $583/month, rent in Berryville is roughly half as expensive as the average rent in Arkansas. It’s also the lowest price on rent you’ll see on this list. Combined with a median income of $44,984, and Berryville has the tenth best rent to income ratio in Arkansas. Berryville is also home to Cosmic Cavern, one of the must-see natural sights of northwestern Arkansas.
With a median home price of $170,300 and a median rent of $907, White Hall has the most expensive housing on this list. So why’s it here? Well, White Hall is also among the richest places in Arkansas, with residents earning a median income of $82,275. Regardless of if you’re buying or renting, White Hall is in the top ten statewide in terms of housing to income ratio. And don’t worry that you’re paying high prices for nothing; White Hall scored an 8.5/10 on our overall Snackability score and was named one of the best places to live in Arkansas.
White Hall is about a half hour south of Little Rock.
Cheapest places to live in Arkansas FAQs
The county in Arkansas with the lowest cost of living is Monroe County. The average living wage in Monroe County is $75,058 according to MIT data. Monroe County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Arkansas as a whole. Childcare costs $8,062 a year in Monroe County for two children compared to the Arkansas average of $13,717. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $7,848 per year in Monroe County compared to $9,037 on average in Arkansas.
The cost of living in Arkansas is 7.7% lower than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Arkansas is $82,857 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Arkansas household is $49,475.
The cheapest housing market in Arkansas is Forrest City. The average home value in Forrest City is $67,500, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Arkansas is $133,600, almost 2.0 times higher than Forrest City.
Methodology: How we determined the most affordable places to live in the Natural State for 2023
Determining affordability for places in Arkansas boils down to two factors:
- How much money do I make?
- How much does it cost to live here?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make to determine affordability. For example, imagine a place in Arkansas where median incomes are $100,000 and housing costs $200,000 to buy. That’s more affordable than living in a place with a median income of $50,000 where houses cost $101,000. The ratio of income to home prices is higher in the first example.
With that logic in mind, we derived several cost of living statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2017-2021 for Arkansas. The cost of living statistics are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (higher is better)
- Median Home Price
You can include median home price as a stand alone variable because high home prices generally correlate with higher costs for all goods and services (heating, electricity, food, etc). You then compare these cost of living metrics for each place in Arkansas to figure out which is the least expensive.
We aggregate those rankings into a “Cost of Living Index” for each city in Arkansas. The “Cost of Living Index” allows you to rank all of the 64 places in Arkansas that have more than 5,000 people from least expensive to most expensive.
The place in Arkansas with the lowest cost of living according to the data is Camden. You can download the entre cost of living data set for Arkansas here.
Arkansas affordabilility summary
This is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Arkansas for 2023, if you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Arkansas.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Arkansas according to the data:
- North Little Rock
For more Arkansas reading, check out:
- Best Places To Buy A House In Arkansas
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Arkansas
- Worst Places To Live In Arkansas
The cheapest places to live in Arkansas
|Rank||City||Cost of Living Index|
|62||North Little Rock||50.67|