The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Pennsylvania For 2021


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

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Since living in large urban centers it the new “to do,” cities that used to be affordable ten years ago are not putting significant strains on wallets that used to have little issues

So what are you to do? If you just graduated college or are looking to change careers, have a lot of school debt, and don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck, what are your options? The obvious method is to lower the cost of living while increasing your salary. And what could be more affordable than Pennsylvania. The state may not be the first that comes to mind when you think cheap, but hey, there are a few gems!

Pennsylvania is a state full of American history, baseball, and chocolate. Yes, you read that right: chocolate. The chocolate capital of the United States, Hershey, is located in Pennsylvania and you can probably imagine what is manufactured in millions there. Millions upon millions of kisses, chocolate Hershey’s kisses, to be exact. Pennsylvania is also home to major metro areas like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Who can resist a Philly Cheese-Steak or a good Pirates game?

So if you’ve ever wondered if you could pay mere pennies to live in Pennsylvania, this article is perfect for you.

What is the cheapest place to live in Pennsylvania? After taking several key factors into account, including home and rent prices compared to income, one city reigned cheapest over the rest: Greenville, PA.

What is so great about Greenville, other than its affordability? Greenville not only stays affordable (it also ranked first last year) but also is a small suburb of Pittsburgh. So you can live it up in the big city, but not spend all your money to live there.

Pottsville, a close neighbor of Schuylkill Haven, also ranks highly on our list and boasts the D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewing Complex. Does the name sound familiar? Yup, you can live for cheap in this town and get a great pint of Yuengling on draft.

Interested to see how we crunched the numbers? Read on to learn more about our methodology and why Pennsylvania is such a great state for affordable living.

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

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Pennsylvania For 2021

Greenville, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,459
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.6x (107th cheapest)
More On Greenville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Is it really super crazy green in Greenville? We’re not 100 percent sure, but one thing we’re sure about is that Greenville is our most affordable city in Pennsylvania for 2021.

This little Hershey Kiss is tenth when it comes to home price to income ratio. We’re not surprised it’s so affordable. And we definitely think it’s because they have such a strong economy as a result of step ladders. Yes, step ladders. Greenville is home to the largest manufacturers of step ladders. Now if step ladder manufacturing isn’t your shtick, but living in the oh so affordable Greenville is, we heard “‘The Jewel of the Shenango River” is alway looking for river guides.

Oil City, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,846
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.3x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.0x (159th cheapest)
More On Oil City: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

You don’t have to live on ramen noodles and cereal to live in our second most affordable city in Pennsylvania for 2021: Oil City. Yes, Oil City’s name says it all. Known for the start of the petroleum boom, this city is our fourth most affordable city in terms of home price to income ratio.

This city in Venango County, on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border, also scored an 8/10 for safety and an 8/10 for education. So if you are looking for an affordable Pennsylvania city with safe, small town charm and smart people, hurry on over to Oil City.

Sugarcreek, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,014
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (2most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.4x (113th cheapest)
More On Sugarcreek: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Sugarcreek is a borough of 5,014 that ranks as the third most affordable place to call home in Pennsylvania for 2021.

You’ll never have an excuse to be late in Sugarcreek because it’s home to the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. Additionally, you’ll always have a spot to find great deals on hidden treasures at the Walnut Creek Amish Flea Market.

Another thing to note about Sugarcreek is you won’t have to trade away your sense of security for affordability. That’s because Sugarcreek’s overall crime rate is 75% below the national average.

The overall cost of living in Sugarcreek is 15% lower than your typical American city, but in terms of housing, things are about half as expensive in Sugarcreek. The median home value here is $76,700 and the median rent is $601 — both quite cheap considering that the median household income sits at $42,315.

Brentwood, PA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,386
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.3x (9th cheapest)
More On Brentwood: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Just southeast of Pittsburgh, is our fourth most affordable Pennsylvania city for 2021: Brentwood. Brentwood, PA is nothing like Brentwood, CA. Brentwood, PA has great affordable neighborhoods, nice people, and it’s safe.

This hub of Eastern PA is home to the greatest percentage of young folks concentrated into one city on our list. And if we’ve learned anything about Millenials, they know a good deal. Brentwood has a lot of great amenities like the Brentwood Arboretum, the Brentwood Park, and lots of great biking trails. Brentwood is a staycation waiting to happen.

West Mifflin, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 19,834
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (26th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 82.3x (12cheapest)
More On West Mifflin: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

With the economy doing so well, people are moving now more than ever. Might we suggest Pennsylvania’s fifth most affordable city for 2021: West Mifflin?

This city in Allegheny County, scored an eight on our snackability scale: one of the highest for any city in the top ten. According to our data, they should be Pennsylvania’s poster city for affordability, housing, and safety.

This Pitttsburgh-burb also made our best cities to retire in Pennsylvania for 2021. West Mifflin’s residents ‘got it goin’ on’. And you know what else West Mifflin’s residents know? Apparently a good deal when they see it, because they are the 26th most affordable city for home price to income ratio.

Warren, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 9,191
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (27th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.9x (77th cheapest)
More On Warren: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Located along the Allegheny River in northwestern Pennsylvania, Warren clocks in as the sixth least expensive place to live statewide. Compared to the national average cost of living score of 100, the overall cost of living score in Warren is 85.

Things like healthcare, groceries, and utilities are all cheaper in Warren, but what really sets it apart is its super affordable housing options. Homes in Warren sell for a median price of $81,300, and a median rent of $597 ranks as one of the cheapest in Pennsylvania. Folks in Warren earn a median household income of $42,939, so it’s no trouble at all making ends meet here.

Outdoorsmen and women can rejoice about living in Warren because it’s where the headquarters for the Allegheny National Forest is located.

That means you’ll have plenty of free and awesome hikes around — we recommend Rimrock Overlook, a local favorite that affords an incredible vista of the Allegheny Reservoir and the surrounding hillsides.

Franklin, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,148
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (34th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.2x (117th cheapest)
More On Franklin: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Up next on our list of super-affordable spots in Pennsylvania is Franklin, a neighbor of Sugarcreek.

Franklin is known for hosting the Franklin Applefest each year, a celebration with classic cars, art vendors, live music, and, of course, loads of apple-based treats. On a more typical day, you might find yourself meandering down the gorgeous Allegheny River Trail or checking out some old instruments at DeBence Antique Music World.

It’s important to note that Franklin’s high quality of life extends beyond affordability — the streets here are also super safe. That’s part of why Liberty Street was named one of the best streets in America recently. The other reason is that Franklin’s downtown area is just plain visually pleasing.

Homes in Franklin have a median price of only $85,800, and rent ranks as the 11th cheapest in the state at a median monthly cost of $599. The median household income in Franklin is $43,828 — an 8% jump from last year, which was a significant factor in Franklin becoming more affordable for most residents. And with a low unemployment rate, everyone can get in on the good deals in Franklin.

Schuylkill Haven, PA

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,178
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 10)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (3most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.0x (170th cheapest)
More On Schuylkill Haven: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

I’d rather be known for Pennsylvania’s eighth most affordable city than a PA city name like Intercourse, Provocative, Virginville or not? Either way, Schuylkill Haven is super affordable, and we think that’s just great.

This “Little Town That Could,” is 31st when it comes to home price to income ratio. We’re not surprised it’s so affordable. And we definitely think it’s because they have such a strong economy. Schuylkill Haven scored a 7/10 for jobs on our snackability scale. And since money makes people happy, and obviously motivated, we’re pretty sure you’ll want to call the affordable Schuylkill Haven home.

Pottsville, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 13,648
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (15th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.9x (16cheapest)
More On Pottsville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Pottsville isn’t going to ‘pot,’ it’s actually quite nice and quite affordable. More importantly, it’s our ninth most affordable city in the The Keystone State for 2021. This city in Schuylkill County is the 15th most affordable city in terms of home to income ratio and 73rd cheapest for rent to income ratio. Up seven spots from last year, we’re pretty sure the residents in Pottsville know a good deal. And we think those numbers scream buy, don’t rent.

But who wouldn’t want to buy a home where coal, logistics, and Yuengling, are keeping the median income around $42,083? Just think of all the beer you can buy with that cheddar!

Clearfield, PA

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,921
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (28th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.6x (112th cheapest)
More On Clearfield: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

We’re wrapping up our list of Pennsylvania’s most affordable places with Clearfield, a borough of 5,921 in the central part of the state. Just because Clearfield is cheap doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to enjoy the finer things in life here.

For instance, you can attend events and sip on lovely local wine at Bee Kind Winery. If that’s not your jam, then maybe getting a gander at all the classic vehicles at the Grice Antique Car Museum is more your speed.

The overall cost of living in Clearfield is about 14% lower than the national average, but in terms of housing, Clearfield is less than half as expensive as your typical American city.

The median home value in Clearfield is $84,800, while the median household income is $44,563. Income has been rising at a faster pace than property value, contributing to Clearfield’s inclusion on our list this year. If you just want to get your toes wet and see how you like living in Clearfield, rent is also very affordable, with a median price of $640.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Keystone State For 2021

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Pennsylvania
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 Pennsylvania 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 186 places in Pennsylvania that have more than 5,000 people.

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

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Pennsylvania Cheapskate

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

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Pennsylvania according to the data:

  1. State College
  2. West Chester
  3. Doyle

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In Pennsylvania

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Greenville 19.67 5,459 1.6x 74.6x
2 Oil City 26.0 9,846 1.3x 65.0x
3 Sugarcreek 29.0 5,014 1.8x 70.4x
4 Brentwood 29.33 9,386 1.7x 76.3x
5 West Mifflin 30.67 19,834 1.9x 82.3x
6 Warren 31.17 9,191 1.9x 71.9x
7 Franklin 33.33 6,148 2.0x 73.2x
8 Schuylkill Haven 33.33 5,178 1.9x 76.0x
9 Pottsville 34.5 13,648 1.7x 63.9x
10 Clearfield 35.33 5,921 1.9x 69.6x
11 Monessen 37.0 7,344 1.7x 65.0x
12 Bradford 37.33 8,355 1.5x 59.5x
13 White Oak 37.33 7,540 1.8x 73.7x
14 Palmerton 38.0 5,313 1.8x 76.9x
15 Turtle Creek 38.67 5,197 1.7x 60.3x
16 Titusville 38.83 5,264 2.0x 66.8x
17 Munhall 41.0 11,121 1.9x 68.8x
18 Nanticoke 42.0 10,304 1.9x 64.1x
19 Plymouth 43.17 5,820 1.7x 59.4x
20 Dubois 43.33 7,462 2.0x 69.0x
21 Ambridge 44.17 6,707 1.7x 59.4x
22 Forest Hills 45.67 6,377 1.8x 76.9x
23 Mount Carmel 47.67 5,667 1.3x 52.9x
24 Collingdale 49.33 8,791 1.7x 63.7x
25 Tamaqua 49.67 6,731 1.6x 54.4x
26 Ellwood City 49.67 7,679 2.1x 68.5x
27 St. Marys 51.0 12,429 2.3x 91.6x
28 Tyrone 52.33 5,217 2.2x 68.6x
29 Baldwin 52.67 19,752 2.1x 82.5x
30 Red Lion 53.33 6,322 2.1x 70.3x
31 Castle Shannon 53.83 8,213 2.0x 72.4x
32 Shamokin 54.0 7,051 1.3x 48.6x
33 New Brighton 54.0 5,780 2.0x 57.7x
34 Plum 54.33 27,195 2.0x 83.0x
35 Duquesne 54.33 5,543 1.4x 49.0x
36 Sharon 57.0 13,227 2.0x 55.5x
37 Johnstown 57.0 19,569 1.6x 47.0x
38 Clairton 58.0 6,619 1.2x 44.9x
39 Corry 58.33 6,332 2.2x 61.7x
40 Lower Burrell 58.33 11,229 2.2x 86.0x
41 Swoyersville 58.83 5,017 2.3x 77.5x
42 West View 61.0 6,601 2.2x 73.1x
43 Mckeesport 61.33 19,225 1.6x 45.9x
44 Grove City 61.33 7,945 2.3x 75.6x
45 New Castle 61.33 21,991 1.8x 50.5x
46 Altoona 61.67 43,987 2.1x 59.4x
47 Coraopolis 61.67 5,488 2.2x 61.6x
48 New Kensington 62.33 12,468 2.5x 69.7x
49 Wilson 63.0 7,797 1.9x 65.9x
50 Lewi 64.67 8,194 2.1x 54.8x
51 Exeter 66.67 5,549 2.3x 66.9x
52 Darby 66.67 10,695 1.6x 46.9x
53 Carnegie 67.0 7,883 2.4x 69.4x
54 Dormont 67.33 8,373 2.3x 75.2x
55 Jeannette 67.33 9,216 2.1x 57.2x
56 Norwood 68.0 5,893 2.1x 79.8x
57 Beaver Falls 68.33 8,464 2.1x 52.1x
58 Economy 70.67 9,182 2.2x 117.1x
59 Pleasant Hills 70.67 8,113 2.2x 76.9x
60 Wilkes-Barre 71.33 40,867 2.0x 49.5x
61 Swissvale 71.33 8,760 2.2x 60.1x
62 Washington 72.33 13,532 2.4x 61.0x
63 Connellsville 72.33 7,411 2.9x 70.5x
64 Whitehall 74.33 13,517 2.4x 85.3x
65 Carbondale 74.67 8,471 2.3x 56.4x
66 Mckees Rocks 75.67 5,919 2.0x 37.8x
67 Huntingdon 75.67 6,977 2.6x 68.9x
68 Shillington 76.33 5,300 2.2x 66.0x
69 Harrisburg 78.67 49,209 2.0x 46.4x
70 Sunbury 79.17 9,480 2.3x 53.3x
71 Somerset 79.33 5,942 3.0x 70.4x
72 Milton 80.67 6,697 2.7x 72.1x
73 Folcroft 81.33 6,627 1.8x 50.7x
74 Ridley Park 82.0 7,048 2.4x 84.8x
75 New Cumberland 82.67 7,309 2.6x 80.3x
76 Erie 83.0 97,263 2.4x 53.4x
77 Aliquippa 84.33 9,004 2.4x 49.7x
78 Berwick 85.33 10,073 2.6x 60.4x
79 Uniontown 86.0 9,837 2.4x 52.1x
80 Old Forge 86.67 7,965 2.6x 68.9x
81 Birdsboro 87.0 5,131 2.5x 71.9x
82 Jefferson Hills 87.33 11,200 2.5x 83.2x
83 Dunmore 87.5 13,111 2.7x 75.5x
84 Camp Hill 87.67 7,911 2.4x 79.1x
85 Chester 87.67 33,982 2.2x 37.7x
86 Kingston 88.33 12,873 2.5x 63.3x
87 Reading 89.0 88,232 2.3x 39.7x
88 Dickson City 89.0 5,802 2.7x 68.2x
89 York 89.33 44,022 2.2x 40.1x
90 Hermitage 89.33 15,693 2.7x 69.3x
91 Middl 91.0 9,315 2.3x 55.0x
92 Steelton 92.33 5,953 2.3x 44.5x
93 Punxsutawney 93.0 5,770 2.6x 51.2x
94 Bellevue 93.17 8,146 2.6x 59.6x
95 Monaca 93.5 5,521 3.1x 66.5x
96 Sharon Hill 93.67 5,684 2.1x 48.4x
97 Pittston 93.67 7,765 2.5x 50.6x
98 Catasauqua 94.0 6,568 2.5x 62.8x
99 Hazleton 94.67 24,857 2.4x 49.8x
100 Canonsburg 95.33 8,844 2.7x 63.1x

How Is The Area In ?

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

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.