Indiana cities and towns are rich in history and culture and known for being some of the cheapest places to live. Affordable housing, reasonable cost of living, and availability of well-paying jobs contribute to Indiana’s appeal. Certain places in Indiana have rents and home prices particularly low, and daily living offers a cheap alternative to other high-priced locations.
How did we determine the most affordable places to live in Indiana for 2023? We consulted the latest Indiana Census data on cost of living, home prices, incomes, and rents.
In addition to a cheap cost of living, Indiana offers a strong economy and plenty of things to do. Companies, including Subaru, Angie’s List, and Vera Bradley, offer many job opportunities. And Indiana’s higher education institutions, like Purdue and the University of Indiana, for producing intelligent, hard-working individuals who want to make Indiana available and affordable for all.
Good jobs increase median incomes, which translates to most people being able to live in the most affordable Indiana places. Affordable places in Indidian include millennial cities like Indianapolis, fantastic college cities like West Lafayette, and cities like Hillsboro where you can escape life.
Read on as we uncover Indiana’s most affordable places to live for 2023.
The 10 most affordable places to live in Indiana
What’s the cheapest place to live in Indiana? The cheapest place to live in Indiana is Alexandria. They definitely have affordable living figured out.
The less you have to spend on bills, the more you will have to spend on things like your home, good food, and overall good Indiana fun.
If you care about home values, cost of living, and great jobs, take a look at the list below to find the most affordable places in Indiana.
Check out some more reading about Indiana and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 cheapest places to live in Indiana for 2023
Median Income: $53,990
Median Home Price: $78,900
Median Rent: $759
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.5x
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.17x
More on Alexandria: Real Estate
When it comes to living on a budget, it’s hard to find somewhere better in Indiana than Alexandria. With a median home price of $78,900 and a median income of $53,990, Alexandria has the best home price to income ratio in the state. You can literally pay off your mortgage in Alexandria before the new paint dries. As for renters, Alexandria’s affordability diminishes a bit. While Alexandria has the highest median rent on this list at $759/month, it’s still about 40% less than the average rent in Indiana.
Winchester is a great place to call home if you’re looking for affordable living in Indiana. With a population of 5,016, the town’s median home value is just $79,400 and its median rent isf $740. This makes it one of the most budget-friendly options in the state.
Its overall cost of living is nan, which means that everything from groceries to healthcare expenses are more manageable for residents.
Located just 20 miles west of Huntington, Wabash comes in as the third cheapest city in Indiana. The median income in Wabash is $47,132 and the median home price is $89,700, so paying of the mortgage here takes no time at all.
Once the renovations are complete on Eagles Theatre, a 114-year old historic theatre complete with two balconies and a ball room, you’ll be able to have a seriously lavish night out on the town in Wabash. You’ll have the money for it after the bills are paid anyway.
For starters, Rushville has an incredibly low overall cost of living; about 15% below Indiana and 25% below the national average. A lot of that is down to the cheap housing options Rushville has.
The median home price in Rushville is $96,100. The unemployment rate is low, and Rushville’s median household income of $54,122 has been steadily growing recently. If that trend continues, it’ll only become more affordable to live in Rushville.
If you just want to try Rushville out, rent won’t set you back too much either — the median price here is $757. For fun and cheap things to do, check out the Riverside Park Amphitheater, where shows are constantly going on.
Kendallville is a great option for those looking for an affordable place to live in Indiana. With a median home value of $103,200 and median rent of $603, Kendallville offers a cost of living that is lower than the state average.
Kendallville offers access to many amenities and attractions. The small city has a population of around 9,926 people and is located in Noble County. Residents can enjoy local parks, restaurants, and shops, as well as easy access to nearby larger cities. With its low home price to income ratio and high income to rent ratio, Kendallville is definitely worth considering for those looking for an affordable and comfortable place to call home.
Thanks to a combination of cheap homes and high earners, Huntington ranks as the sixth least expensive city in Indiana. But don’t let the low price fool you; when you’re appreciating the ritzy 19th century architecture in Drover Town Historic District, Huntington certainly won’t LOOK cheap. The median home price in Huntington is $84,100 and the median income is $47,232, putting the city in the top ten statewide for best home price to income ratio.
Huntington is about 25 miles southwest of Fort Wayne.
We’re heading an hour north of Indianapolis to reach Indiana’s seventh cheapest place to live. Elwood has safe streets and good employment numbers, but it really shines in terms of affordability.
Homes in Elwood have a median price of $70,900, the sixth cheapest in Indiana. And the median income in Elwood jumped by 10% from last year to $46,709, so you’d better believe things are looking up here.
Having fun on a budget is pretty easy in Elwood, too. There are plenty of great parks to choose from, no matter if you’re going for a picnic or playing softball. The city also hosts the annual Elwood Glass Festival, complete with crafts, local food stands, and carnival rides.
If you’re not sold, don’t worry — you can try out Elwood without much commitment or cash on hand, considering that the median price of rent is a measly $748.
Bluffton is a great option for those looking for an affordable place to live. With a median rent of just $620, residents are able to save money while still enjoying all the benefits of living in a city.
The city has a strong sense of community and a variety of amenities, including parks, restaurants, and fun things to do. Plus, with a median income of $53,221, residents are able to comfortably afford the median home value of $107,100.
Up next on our review of Indiana’s most affordable cities is North Vernon, located in the southeastern part of the state. While most elements of North Vernon’s cost of living are on par with the rest of the state, housing is about 28% cheaper here.
Homes in North Vernon go for a median price of $91,100, while a typical rental will only cost you about $767.
Another thing to note about
North Vernon is its rock-solid economy — the unemployment rate here sits at an extremely low 5.61%, and the median household income is $51,303.
If you’re looking for a way to pass the time without spending a dime, then Muscatatuck Park might just be the answer. There are campgrounds, hiking trails, and even a playground with a splash pad. If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, you can catch a show at the local Park Theatre Civic Center.
Situated about 60 miles southwest of Fort Wayne, Peru ranks as the tenth most affordable place to call home in Indiana.
Peru was once the winter headquarters for several famous circuses, like the Ringling Brothers and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It’s maintained that heritage into the 21st century with the annual Peru Circus City Festival and Parade, amateur circus performances, and the Circus Hall of Fame.
That’s not the only outside-the-box entertainment option in Peru, though; there’s also the Grissom Air Museum for folks interested in learning more about military aircraft. For more standard activities, there’s always fishing or kayaking on Mississinewa Lake.
Homes in Peru are the third cheapest in Indiana at $68,500, which is a big contributor to the city’s low cost of living. The median income in Peru is $41,905 and the media rent is $683.
Cheapest places to live in Indiana FAQs
The county in Indiana with the lowest cost of living is Randolph County. The average living wage in Randolph County is $75,145 according to MIT data. Randolph County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Indiana as a whole. Childcare costs $8,340 a year in Randolph County for two children compared to the Indiana average of $12,286. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $8,784 per year in Randolph County compared to $10,258 on average in Indiana.
The cost of living in Indiana is 9.4% lower than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Indiana is $81,321 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Indiana household is $58,235.
The cheapest housing market in Indiana is Hartford City. The average home value in Hartford City is $61,500, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Indiana is $148,900, almost 2.4 times higher than Hartford City.
Methodology: How we determined the most affordable places to live in the Hoosier State for 2023
Determining affordability for places in Indiana 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 Indiana 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 Indiana. The cost of living statistics are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Rent / Median Income (lower 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 Indiana to figure out which is the least expensive.
We aggregate those rankings into a “Cost of Living Index” for each city in Indiana. The “Cost of Living Index” allows you to rank all of the 124 places in Indiana that have more than 5,000 people from least expensive to most expensive.
The place in Indiana with the lowest cost of living according to the data is Alexandria.
We updated this article for 2023. This reports reflects our tenth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Indiana.
Indiana Affordabilility Summary
This is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Indiana for 2023, if you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Indiana.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Indiana according to the data:
- West Lafayette
For more Indiana reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Indiana
- Most Dangerous Cities In Indiana
- Best Places To Live In Indiana
Cheapest Places To Live In Indiana
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