Arkansas is known for its great BBQ, fried catfish, some pretty nice people, and super great, super affordable places to live.
What does the most affordable place to live in Arkansas look like? Well, after crunching data from the US Census in terms of median housing costs, median income, and overall cost of living for cities with over 5,000 residents, HomeSnacks has uncovered the top ten most affordable places in Arkansas for 2019.
Word on the street is that Arkansans don’t know what unemployment is. Arkansas is below the national unemployment rate at 3.7%. They have six Fortune 500 companies that help keep the Natural State employed and affordable. For instance, Bentonville is home to Walmart and we can thank Springdale for Tyson Chicken Nuggets. And if you know anything about economics, good jobs increase median incomes which translates to most people being able to live in most of Arkansas’ cities. That’s a good thing because Arkansas has a lot to offer. They have hip millennial cities like Bentonville and cool college cities like Fayetteville.
More importantly, if you choose to live in one of Arkansas’ most affordable places, you will save money for the fun things that this southern gem has to offer. Like, scoring tickets to Fayetteville’s Bikes, Brews and BBQ Festival or a day trip to Hot Springs Garvan Woodland Gardens.
Want to know more? Keep reading as we unravel Arkansas’ most affordable places to live.
Are we surprised that some of Arkansas most affordable cities are also Arkansas’ top 50 biggest cities? Not at all. We don’t blame the good people of Arkansas for wanting to move to where their dollar goes the furthest.
So, where’s the most affordable place to live in Arkansas for 2022? That would be Walnut Ridge.
To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below. And if you don’t see you’re favorite there, head to the bottom.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Arkansas and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Arkansas For 2022
If you’re already living in Walnut Ridge, kudos on your financial prowess, because you’re living in the most affordable place in Arkansas for 2022. 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 second 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 $604/month. De Queen is about equally affordable for those looking to buy a home, with a median price tag of $91,300. 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.
It turns out that Pocahontas is more than just my favorite Disney princess; it’s also the third most affordable place to live in Arkansas. Pocahontas has the fourth cheapest homes for sale in the state, with a median price of $78,400. Rent is also quite affordable at $658, but it’s still a bit more affordable if you’re buying instead. And whether you’re a fan of history or just getting outdoors; at Davidsonville Historic State Park you can learn about the region’s first settlers or just go fishing on the Black River.
Camden is a city in and the county seat of Ouachita County in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arkansas.
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 5 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 8,617 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 $49,736 and the median home value sits at $101,100. That gives the area the number 8.0 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 $678 per month. The overall cost of living comes in at about 15% below the national average.
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 13,735 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 $40,329. However, it’s easy to stretch a dollar in the area. The median home price comes in at $81,900. At the same time, rents in the area have a median value of $665. 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.
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 $486/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 $42,156, and Berryville has the sixth best rent to income ratio in Arkansas. Berryville is also home to Cosmic Cavern, one of the must-see natural sights of northwestern Arkansas.
Warren is a city in and the county seat of Bradley County, Arkansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,003.
Located off US Hwy 67/167 in the northwestern part of Lonoke County is the ninth cheapest city in arkansas for 2022 — Ward. The town of some 6,000+ people has seen incredibly growth over the past decade due in no small part to its affordability.
This mostly residential town scores well on the cost of living index due to its affordable housing costs. The median home price sits at $121,800, the 27th lowest mark in the state. Rents are equally cheap. You can score a rental for a median price of $983 per month.
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 10 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 $39,793 and deal with an unemployment rate of 5.13%.
Still, the people of Hope at least get a lot for their money. The median home value sits at $83,700. That’s the eighth lowest figure in all of Arkansas. Rents are similarly low, with the median value coming in at $685 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.
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 2022
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- 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 2016-2020 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 Arkansas 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 63 places in Arkansas that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Arkansas according to the data is Walnut Ridge. You can download the data here.
Summary: There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Arkansas Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Arkansas, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Arkansas for 2022.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Arkansas according to the data:
For more Arkansas reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Arkansas
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