Best US Cities to Live Cheap

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A suburb 20 miles south of Oklahoma City is the best U.S. city to live in for the cheapest cost of living, according to a study completed by Money Examiners using research provided by the Council for Community and Economic Research. Norman, Oklahoma ranks as the most affordable city in the nation followed by Pueblo, Colorado.

The best US cities to live cheap in are based on the council’s research, but aren’t necessarily the perfect kind of low crime rate safe communities that most people searching for a new place to call home seek.

The Cost of Living index measures differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, but does not include taxes as part of its research on the 306 urban areas it includes in the study. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering nearly 60,000 items consumers purchase. The research is gathered three times a year by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and university economic centers in each city that participates in the study.

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 Rank  City   Rating
    1.   Norman, OK    82.4%
    2.   Pueblo, CO    82.5%
    3.   Harlingen, TX    83.4%
    4.   Memphis, TN    84.9%
    5.   Youngstown-Warren, OH    85.5%
    6.   Covington, KY    85.7%
    7.   Tupelo, MS    85.8%
    8.   Augusta, GA    85.9%
    9.   Birmingham, AL    85.9%
  10.   Sherman, TX    86.2%

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With a population of 115,562 in the 2012 Census, Norman ranks as the best U.S. city to reside in with a Cost of Living Index measuring 82.4. Pueblo, Colorado ranks a near second spot at just 82.5, one-tenth of one-percent off Norman. Harlingen, Texas with a smaller population of 65,679 in rural southern Texas not far from Brownsville close to the Mexico border ranked third at 83.4. The composite index is based on six major costs, housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods.

However, despite the cheapest cost of living in the 10 cheapest list, many suffer from high crime problems and are riddled with other issues, including Memphis, Tennessee which has seen violent crime take a major jump since the onset of the economic recession. Memphis ranks fourth on the list.

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Youngstown, Ohio placed fifth. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Youngstown is the only city to lose more than two percent of its population in two years. A Brookings Institute study also showed that out of the top 100 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Youngstown has the highest number of citizens living in poverty.

In fact, eight of the ten cities on the cheapest list are located in the southern part of the country, which has prospered less economically than other regions.