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You don't have to launder drug money in the Ozarks to be able to live in most cities in Missouri: The Show Me State is affordable.
Yes, learning the value of the dollar is important, but you don't want to stress about it daily when looking for a safe, affordable Missouri neighborhood to call home, a great deal on a St.Louis-style pizza, or monthly living costs that won't break the bank. Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the country. And it is no surprise considering they have amazing jobs in agriculture, aerospace, tech, and beer. Yes, folks, Missouri is home to Anheuser-Busch. And i f you play your cards right, maybe your next mortgage payment can come from a great job with the King Of Beers.
Regardless, Missouri knows how to make the dolla' holla'. The median income for the state is up above $35,000. With all that income, you can make most Missouri cities doable. More importantly, you can spend the extra coin in your pocket on the fun things that Missouri offers: like a weekend in the Ozarks, season tickets to the Cardinals, and/or a riverboat cruise down the mighty Mississippi River.
You don't have to look any further in terms of affordability if you choose a down home Missouri city to call home. But you do have to read below to see what city on our top ten most affordable cities in Missouri for 2020 list best suits you.
So, grab a Busch Light and some Kansas City BBQ, and read on.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Missouri
Missouri's strong economy, gold star housing prices, and average cost of living make its cities very desirable. So, one can imagine how difficult it was for us to narrow down the places in this Midwest flyover state where you can make ends meet.
The cheapest place to live in Missouri? That would be Bonne Terre based on the cost of housing adjusted for incomes and cost of living. Bonne Terre is our most affordable city in Missouri for 2020.
So, if you care about home values, cost of living, and high quality of life, take a look at the list below to find the most affordable places in Missouri, where your salary will let you live like Kansas City Royal-ty.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Missouri and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Missouri For 2020
Don't let the name fool you; you won't need to learn French to move to the cheapest city in Missouri. A small city an hour south of St. Louis, Bonne Terre knocked it out of the park in terms of affordability this year, with both renters and home-buyers rejoicing over the low cost of housing. Buying a home in Bonne Terre will set you back about $88,300, which is super cheap when you consider that the median income in Bonne Terre is $51,175. In fact, Bonne Terre residents spend the third lowest proportion of their income on their mortgage in Missouri.
The median household income in Bonne Terre comes in at $51,175 and the median home value is $88,300 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.7%.
When it comes to buying a home, there's few places cheaper than Missouri's second most affordable city, Bowling Green. The median home price in Bowling Green is a measly $84,600, and with residents earning a median income of $39,469, mortgages get paid off faster than the new paint can dry. Since last year, Bowling Green has jumped up from the bottom of this list to the #2 rank, so it's only getting cheaper. I guess the city is just trying to fit in better in one of the the cheapest states in America.
Bowling Green is located in the northeastern part of the state.
The median household income in Bowling Green comes in at $39,469 and the median home value is $84,600 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.6%.
Located an hour north of Columbia, Macon clocks in as our third least expensive city in Missouri. Macon makes the cut by being an absolute godsend for renters. Macon has the lowest median rent you'll see on this list, at $478/month. That's less than half of the average rent in Missouri. And with residents earning a median income of $38,613, Maconites have one of the best rent to income ratios in the state. On the flip side, Macon's median home price of $93,600 puts Macon as the least affordable place to buy a home on this list.
The median household income in Macon comes in at $38,613 and the median home value is $93,600 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 6.5%.
Ranking as our fourth most affordable city in Missouri is Trenton, a city in the north-central part of the state. For those looking to further their education, Trenton is home to North Central Missouri College, where in-state tuition is under $5,000. That's not the only sweet deal in Trenton, though. The median home price in Trenton is $87,300 and the median rent is $600, so housing of all sorts is available for cheap. Given the city's median income of $39,871, Trenton has a better home price to income ratio than rent to income ratio, but it's not a game-breaking difference.
The median household income in Trenton comes in at $39,871 and the median home value is $87,300 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 2.9%.
For those on a budget, Chillicothe is the greatest thing since sliced bread, which, it just so happens, was invented in Chillicothe. The city also has the more modern distinction of being the fifth cheapest city in Missouri. The median home price in Chillicothe is $87,300 and the median income is $41,614, making it slightly more affordable for those buying a home than Trenton. However, Chillicothe got beat out by Trenton in terms of rent prices. Chillicothe is another north-central Missouri city.
The median household income in Chillicothe comes in at $41,614 and the median home value is $87,300 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 2.8%.
Located about 30 miles south of St. Louis, Pevely ranks as the sixth most affordable place in Missouri, which is a big feat when you consider that it wasn't even in the top 40 last year. At a median income of $57,897, Pevely is the richest city on this list. That more than makes up for Peveling having the most expensive homes on this list, with a median price tag of $126,100. And with a median rent of $697, it's actually slightly more economical to rent than buy in Pevely. And for those into archeology, paleontology, or just plain nature hikes, Mastodon State Historic Site is a good idea for a cheap day out.
The median household income in Pevely comes in at $57,897 and the median home value is $126,100 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 2.6%.
Richmond comes in as the seventh cheapest city in Missouri thanks to being an equally affordable place for renters and home-buyers. When you're in Richmond, you'll know you're in the state with the lowest rent in America, because the median rent is a mere $591. The median income in Richmond is $41,737 and the median home price is $93,900, making the city one of the least affordable places for buyers on this list. In any case, you'll never run short of fun things to do for free in Richmond, which has over 60 acres of parks. Not too shabby for a city of only 5606 people.
Richmond is located 40 miles east of Kansas City.
The median household income in Richmond comes in at $41,737 and the median home value is $93,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 3.4%.
A St. Louis suburb, St. Ann ranks as the eighth most affordable city in Missouri. St. Ann's median rent of $797 is a bit pricey, and keeps the city from achieving a higher rank on this list. However, with a median income of $47,825 and a median home price of $87,800, St. Ann has the sixth best home price to income ratio in the state. As a bonus, St. Ann is one of the best cities for singles in Missouri, so you can find the love of your life without breaking the bank here.
The median household income in St. Ann comes in at $47,825 and the median home value is $87,800 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 7.6%.
Homes in Webb City are the second most expensive you'll see on this list, but that doesn't stop the city from being ninth cheapest overall in Missouri. A home in Webb City goes for about $102,400 and the median income is $48,480, so it's no sweat paying off the mortgage here. We recommend you use your pockets full of extra cash at the local farmer's market for the freshest food in town.
Webb City is located in the southwestern part of the state, near the borders of Kansas and Oklahoma.
The median household income in Webb City comes in at $48,480 and the median home value is $102,400 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.9%.
Located 35 miles southwest of Springfield, Aurora rounds out our list of cheapest cities in Missouri. At a median price of $80,500, Aurora has the ninth least expensive homes in Missouri, and the cheapest you'll see on this list. Coupled with a median income of $38,601, Aurora has the third best home price to income ratio on this list.
On the flip side, Aurora's affordability drops off precipitously for renters. In any case, thanks to the Sunset Drive-In Theatre, you'll never have to worry about a cheap option for date night in Aurora.
The median household income in Aurora comes in at $38,601 and the median home value is $80,500 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 10.0%.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Show Me State For 2020
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 2014-2018 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 Missouri 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 128 places in Missouri that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Missouri according to the data is Bonne Terre. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Missouri Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Missouri, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Missouri for 2020.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Missouri according to the data:
- Weldon Spring
- Sunset Hills
- University City
For more Missouri reading, check out:
- Most Dangerous Cities in Missouri
- Best Places To Live In Missouri
- Best Places To Buy A House In Missouri
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Missouri
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