If you’re considering a move to the cheapest places to live in Pennsylvania, you may be pleasantly surprised with what you find. Pennsylvania remains cheap and affordable in terms of the cost of living even with its rich American history, love for baseball, and indulgence in chocolate — especially from the US chocolate capital, Hershey.
Pennsylvania’s cheapest places to live include major metropolitan areas such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Compared to the skyrocketing real estate costs in many popular urban centers, you’ll find the home prices in Pennsylvania a welcome relief. The appeal of affordable housing combined with access to city life, such as attending Pirates games in Pittsburgh or tasting the famous Philly Cheese-Steaks in Philadelphia, may tip the balance in favor of these cities.
Still, for those living within stringent budgets or slogging under student debt, it is essential to scrutinize the cost of living in these cheaper places in Pennsylvania. Understanding the average rent and home prices lets you decide if the Keystone State is right for you. Pennsylvania balances affordability and quality of life if you know where to look.
To discover the cheapest places to live in Pennsylvania, you’d need to understand and compare housing costs, the cost of living, and the overall quality of life. These key aspects will ensure you find affordable living conditions aligning with your lifestyle and financial capabilities. From small towns to major metropolises, Pennsylvania’s wide range of options makes affordable and lower-cost living a reality.
The 10 most affordable places to live in Pennsylvania
What is the cheapest place to live in Pennsylvania? The cheapest place to live in Pennsylvania is Greenville.
Interested to see how we crunched the cost of living and affordability metrics? Read on to learn more about our methodology and why it’s easy to find a cheap place to live in Pennsylvania.
Check out some more reading about Pennsylvania and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 cheapest places to live in Pennsylvania for 2023
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 2023.
This little Hershey Kiss is eighth 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.
Monessen, located in southwestern pa, is an excellent option for those looking for an affordable place to live. With a median home value of $75,700 and a median rent of $561, Monessen’s overall cost of living is lower than the national average.
The city has a rich history in steel-making, which has helped shape its identity and community. Today, Monessen is a diverse and tight-knit community that values its heritage while embracing new growth opportunities. Monessen offers a small-town feel with big-city amenities within reach in larger cities like Pittsburgh nearby.
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 $88,000, and rent ranks as the 14th cheapest in the state at a median monthly cost of $635. The median household income in Franklin is $53,289 — 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.
With the economy doing so well, people are moving now more than ever. Might we suggest Pennsylvania’s fourth most affordable city for 2023: 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 2023. 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 2most affordable city for home price to income ratio.
We think for a city to be truly hip, it needs to be affordable. So it goes for our fifth most affordable city in Pennsylvania for 2023: Vandergrift. Located on the Kiskiminetas River in Westmoreland County, this city scored an 8.5/10 for affordability and an 6/10 for diversity. We think that makes Vandergrift pretty hip.
When Vandergrift’s residents aren’t busy preparing for their annual cool, super hip, Ethnic Days Festival, they can be found earning the dream with top employers like Pennsylvania State and the ACMH Hospital. Kudos Vandergrift! You keep up the good work on preserving your past and working towards your future.
We’re wrapping up our list of Pennsylvania’s most affordable places with Clearfield, a borough of 5,991 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 $89,700, while the median household income is $48,116. 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 $624.
Tamaqua is a great place to live in Pennsylvania, especially if you are looking for an affordable option. With a median home value of $65,300 and a median rent of $718, Tamaqua is one of the most affordable places to live in the state.
The borough has a population of 6,940 and is part of the Pottsville, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area. Tamaqua successfully developed affordable housing in historic buildings and implemtented the Main Street Program. The affordable housing project repurposed historic properties into modern apartments while preserving their original character, and the Main Street Program focused on improving the borough’s core intersection, enhancing walkability, and restoring the iconic Tamaqua Railroad Station.
With its small-town charm and access to nearby cities like Meadville and Erie, Titusville is an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable and high-quality standard of living in Pennsylvania. Titusville boasts a median home value of $66,400 and a median rent of $528, making it one of the most affordable places to live in the state.
Nanticoke is a great option for those looking to live in Pennsylvania without breaking the bank. With a median home value of $84,600 and a median rent of $699, it’s easy to see why this city ranks as one of the most affordable places to live in the state.
Nanticoke has a population of 10,588 and is home to the Luzerne County Community College, which occupies a 167-acre campus within the city limits. With its rich history as an active coal mining community, Nanticoke is a fascinating place to call home.
Median Income: $67,027
Median Home Price: $114,800
Median Rent: $843
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x
Rent To Income Ratio: 0.2x
More on Duryea: Data | Real Estate
Duryea is a great place to live in Pennsylvania, especially if you’re on a tight budget. The median income in Duryea is $67,027 and the median home value is $114,800 which means that residents can comfortably afford their homes.
Duryea stands in close proximity to major cities like Scranton and Wilkes-Barre giving residents easy access to job opportunities and entertainment options. Overall, Duryea is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable, welcoming community in Pennsylvania.
Cheapest places to live in Pennsylvania FAQs
The county in Pennsylvania with the lowest cost of living is Juniata County. The average living wage in Juniata County is $80,011 according to MIT data. Juniata County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Pennsylvania as a whole. Childcare costs $11,398 a year in Juniata County for two children compared to the Pennsylvania average of $17,440. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $8,688 per year in Juniata County compared to $12,350 on average in Pennsylvania.
The cost of living in Pennsylvania is 1.5% higher than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Pennsylvania is $91,069 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Pennsylvania household is $63,627.
The cheapest housing market in Pennsylvania is Johnstown. The average home value in Johnstown is $37,000, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Pennsylvania is $187,500, almost 5.1 times higher than Johnstown.
Methodology: How we determined the most affordable places to live in the Keystone State for 2023
Determining affordability for places in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania. 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 Pennsylvania to figure out which is the least expensive.
We aggregate those rankings into a “Cost of Living Index” for each city in Pennsylvania. The “Cost of Living Index” allows you to rank all of the 188 places in Pennsylvania that have more than 5,000 people from least expensive to most expensive.
The place in Pennsylvania with the lowest cost of living according to the data is Greenville.
We updated this article for 2023. This reports reflects our tenth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Affordabilility Summary
This is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Pennsylvania for 2023, if you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Pennsylvania.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Pennsylvania according to the data:
- State College
- West Chester
For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Pennsylvania
- Safest Places In Pennsylvania
- Worst Places To Live In Pennsylvania
Cheapest Places To Live In Pennsylvania
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