Top 10 Most And Least Affordable Cities

The National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo have put together an index of the most and least affordable metro areas. The index was created by calculating what percentage of a city’s residents making the median income can afford a house in that city.

Not too surprising — the Midwest offers a good value with Indianapolis topping the charts as the most affordable city in the US. New York, of course, is the least affordable, followed by San Francisco, which is no shock to anyone who has lived in, or even visited those two cities.

In order to qualify, each metro area had to have over 500,000 people.

Top 10 Least Affordable Cities

  1. New York City, NY
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Nassau/Suffolk Counties, NY
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Miami, FL
  6. Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine, CA
  7. El Paso, TX
  8. Newark, NJ
  9. Honolulu, HI
  10. Seattle, WA

Top 10 Most Affordable Cities

  1. Indianapolis, IN
  2. Warren, Troy, Farmington Hills, MI
  3. Youngstown, Warren, Boardman, OH-PA
  4. Detroit, MI
  5. Grand Rapids, MI
  6. Syracuse, NY
  7. Dayton, OH
  8. Akron, OH
  9. Cleveland, OH
  10. Scranton, PA

For more data to play with, visit the NAHB.

(Photo:Donna Cazadd)


Edit Your Comment

  1. zlionsfan says:

    w00t! Not at all surprised to see Indianapolis atop the list. My brother still wonders why I’m not interested in moving out to California …

    • IT-Chick says:


      I’m surprised Chicago is not on the least affordable list. I know people who work out this way and make the commute from Indiana because cost of living is cheaper and it’s not all THAT far of a drive.

      • Ubik2501 says:

        @IT-Chick: Chicago may not be cheap, but NYC trumps it by an enormous margin. I currently rent a spacious 1-bedroom apartment in Chicago for $850/month, whereas my cousin paid $1200/month for a decrepit basement studio in NYC several years ago.

    • jackspants says:

      why? i couldn’t wait to leave after high school. housing may be cheap, but if i can’t find a job, i don’t see the point in staying.

    • Ubik2501 says:

      @zlionsfan: Part of the reason Indy is so cheap is because there’s nothing to do there. It’s probably the most depressingly boring city I’ve ever visited, aside from maybe Dayton, Ohio. Plus there are gigantic areas of it that are pretty sketchy.

      • Steve Walker says:

        @Ubik2501: I’ve lived in Indiana for several years, and I travel all over the US for work. I’m always glad to come home, where it doesn’t cost an arm or a leg to live. What do you mean “nothing to do there”? As if there is something that New York and California have we don’t? What? Like beaches? I hardly think thats work increasing you cost of living 3 or 4 fold….And there are “gigantic area’s of it that are sketchy”…..seriously? We’re talking about New York…a place where there are areas even Taxi’s won’t go. Don’t be bitter your paying 500K for your 3 bedroom house, and I paid $150K for mine, by saying we have nothing to do here and our city is “sketchy”. I think random comments about the quality of someones city by someone who doesn’t mention where they are from is “sketchy”….

      • shifuimam says:

        @Ubik2501: So what exactly is it that you like to do? I’ll admit that I love visiting Chinatown whenever I travel to San Francisco, but that’s not enough of a reason to move there.

        Indianapolis boasts one of the best art museums in the country. They have a world-renowned professional full-time orchestra (no, it’s not on the same level as the Royal Philharmonic, but it’s fantastic nonetheless), we’re frequently host to the Big 10 NCAA basketball championship, there are plenty of sporting events to go to (and since our baseball team is minor league, tickets are dirt cheap and it’s still super fun to watch), our state parks are beautiful in the spring and fall (ever been to Brown County or Turkey Run?)…

        As far as employment goes, the state holds the corporate headquarters for multiple companies, including Cummins Engine, Steak ‘N Shake, and Lilly.

        There aren’t “huge areas that are sketchy” – the area around the airport is a white trash, and the near north and east sides are ghetto because of all the Section 8 housing. Compared to Chicago or New York, it’s plenty safe.

    • Joessandwich says:


      I live in LA and used to live in SF, numbers 4 and 2 most expensive respectively. Yet I agree with your brother, I can’t even begin to imagine living in Indianapolis. What on Earth do you do there?

      • zlionsfan says:

        @Ubik2501: @Joessandwich: I go to NBA and NFL games, Big Ten and NCAA tournament games, AAA baseball games, and the standard variety of city activities (movies, bars, zoo …). I’m not into museums or the symphony that much, so I don’t go, but some friends do.

        No, Indy isn’t a huge city, and it doesn’t have access to oceans or mountains, but it does have a lot of other things. It suits my lifestyle. It’s not for everybody, but then again, what city is?

    • aliasmisskat says:

      @zlionsfan: I love Indy. No mountains, no beach, boo hoo. Indy is small enough to navigate, but has plenty to do. Example: King Tut’ collection will be coming to Indianapolis Children’s Museum this summer. One of three stops outside Egypt. Being a resident, and having a membership, we get to go before the general public, at a discounted rate. Suck on that, Seattle.

      Is Indy a bit behind the coasts? Yes. So much so I would pay out the ass to move to LA or NY to be hip, but very poor? No way in hell.

      • Anonymous says:

        @aliasmisskat: I think a lot of you NOT from NY or CA are speaking with those stereotypes of these places. I moved from a nice city in Oklahoma to California, and let me tell you – California is a MUCH brighter place to live. Obviously people are happier in different places – what floats ones boat may not float anothers. But I don’t frequent beaches or mountains at all, yet I love California and would stand by the fact that it has way more to do.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        @aliasmisskat: Oooo, didn’t they have an exhibit of it before? I live in Indy as a kid and loved all the museums. There’s lots to do there, see races, go to museums, the zoo, sports games, parks, etc.

  2. JanetCarol says:

    Nothing in the DC Metro / Fairfax County VA made the least affordable?!?!?!? I’m shocked.

    • Etoiles says:

      @janetcarol: In April 2008 I relocated to Arlington, VA after three years in New York City. Trust me, as disturbing as it sounds, DC is way cheaper.

      In NYC, I made a respectable income at a respectable job, I lived in the ghetto with roommates (literally, my roommate and I were the only white people in our building or on our street), I lived on $20 a week’s worth of bread, pasta, and peanut butter, I went over a year without buying new clothes or shoes, until mine finally cracked beyond repair, and I was still unable to save a cent. NYC is seriously endangering itself with regards to a middle class, because only the very bottom rung and top couple of rungs of society have a place to live in the city anymore. Harlem, Brooklyn, and Queens are all gentrifying into million-dollar condos.

      In Arlington, my fiancé and I do well enough together for a pair of late-20somethings. We can’t afford one of the $750,000 houses, to be sure, but my grocery bills are about 25% less than in NYC, consistently, on everything, and our electric and gas bills are less than 1/3 of what they were in NYC. So yeah, DC’s expensive, but… New York is just astronomical.

      • FightOnTrojans says:

        @Etoiles: So, a neighborhood whose residents are predominantly minority is automatically a “ghetto”? I have no doubt you probably lived in a rough neighborhood, but your qualifier of “we were the only white people there, that’s how ghetto it was” doesn’t sit well with me.

        • Etoiles says:

          @FightOnTrojans: Sorry, I should have specified. It was a ghetto in the more traditional sense: a pretty closed-off immigrant community, with a lot of tenement-style living, where little to no English was spoken, feeling separated from the rest of the city like an intentional (even though it wasn’t) enclave.

          It was an insufficiently explained poor choice of words on my part.

      • WorldHarmony says:

        I grew up in Cleveland as well, and Cleveland definitely has its economic (and political) problems. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s a cheaper place to live. My 2-bedroom apt in Las Vegas was almost $1,200 a month. I rented two sides of a whole HOUSE for about $900 (basement, attic, the works) in Cleveland. If I could make what I was making in Vegas (uh-before my layoff last Fall) but live in Cleveland, I could have saved quite a bit of money.

    • Steve Kinney says:

      @janetcarol: Apparently, you’ve never tried to rent a studio in the ass-end of Brooklyn (still at least $1400).

    • tedyc03 says:

      @janetcarol: Each area had to have 500,000 residents. DC barely clears that mark, and while there are 6M in the DC Metro area, I’m not sure any of the individual jurisdictions had that many.

      But Washington is still cheaper than NYC or SF.

      • floraposte says:

        @tedyc03: DC is about in the middle of their list–it’s 103 (starting with most affordable) out of 222. That’s described as “Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV.”

        • snowburnt says:

          @floraposte: They include WV in that? For the DC Metro Area I’d go as far west as leesburg, as far south as woodbridge, as far north as laurel. You get out to WV, you can buy a house for 5% of the cost of the same house in Alexandria, maybe less

          • Elvisisdead says:

            @snowburnt: And your ass gets an hour long + train ride every day.

            • snowburnt says:

              @Elvisisdead: You get an hour long train ride if you live in Fairfax and work on K street. I knew some guys who lived in Martinsburg and drove in to Arlington every day. Took them 2 hours, I think they started in at 4 and left at 3 to avoid the rush, but I don’t think it’s worth it. One guy was the head of accounting, I think he was probably making 6xs what he could make in WV so that made sense.

              I knew another guy who worked in Tysons and lived in Warrenton. Everytime I saw him he looked like he was working on an hour of sleep. He didn’t make nearly as much as the accountant…The accountant seemed like he was on amphetamines, he was always wired.

    • edwardso says:

      @janetcarol: I moved to Alexandria from Denver and while my rent is exactly double, my car insurance and electric and local sales tax are half what they used to be. But, if I was making minimum wage, or anywhere near it, I would find the area to be prohibitively expensive

      • floraposte says:

        @edwardso: I suspect the point may be that comparatively few people there are making minimum wage, since the index is based on correlating income to housing.

    • kissinggames says:

      @janetcarol: I can still buy cigarettes for around $3.60 a pack in NoVa (at least before that damnable tax kicks in), so I consider it affordable

    • lars2112 says:

      @janetcarol: Having lived in 5 of the top 10 (SF, LA, Honululu, Santa Ana, NY) and also DC, I agree with DC not making this list. Trust me you can find ways to blow your cash just as fast in DC but I found affordable housing in good areas right outside the DC line (Bethesda and Arlington).

      Did they also look at the job markets for each city?

    • AwesomeJerkface says:

      If you’re shocked, then you clearly haven’t lived in those cities. DC is nowhere near comparable to those towns.

    • snowburnt says:

      @janetcarol: The ratings are based on percentage of people on median incomes being able to afford a house in the area. Housing prices have taken a pretty big hit, but I think the median income of the DC area is pretty high, so most people can afford to buy a place… Plus most of the employment is government or government contractors and I don’t think those sectors have been hit hard with layoffs yet. My company is actually hiring very steadily.

    • Magspie says:

      @janetcarol: Because it’s not the most expensive cities, it’s the most affordable compared to median income. The median income is high there.

    • Jake Muha says:

      @janetcarol: It’s also more affordable if you have two incomes. While I’m making a decent wage at my current job, there’s a lot of stuff that I find rather prohibitive in terms of housing. Anywhere you go in the immediate DC vicinity (MD or VA) is going to have an insanely high tax base. While you can find a decent place up the I-270 or out the I-66 corridors (one of the blessings of the crappy housing market), the property taxes are absolute killers. I’d say it’s about a 3:1 ratio compared to outside Baltimore.

    • MsCongeniality says:


      I grew up and went to college in Suffolk County, NY but I live inside the DC beltway and work out in Fairfax. Why? Because I can afford to live here. DC just doesn’t compare.

      • varro says:

        @MsCongeniality: @gertymac: There’s a quiet populism there – a lot of people there are “I don’t care what you do or believe, so long as it doesn’t hurt me personally” rather than “Look at MEEEEEEE! I’m so liberal and accepting! It’s a mark of my taste!”

        Compare Pittsburgh to Boston – my dad went to high school in the mid-50s in Pittsburgh and had black players on his basketball team (and of course, in his school). Compare this to Boston, where desegregation went Very Badly in the 70s…

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @janetcarol: I have a equation in my head that determines what figure of affordability is worth the commute and amenities (or lack thereof). It’s basically, “how much could you pay me not to live in the NYC area?”

      I visited a friend in Arlington recently (in a “not so nice” neighborhood), and was surprised at what she was paying in rent. Immediately I thought, “for only x number of dollars more a month, she could be living in x neighborhood in NYC…”

  3. EM says:

    Youngstown, Warren, Boardman, OH-PA

    How is that PA? Also, I can attest to how incredibly cheap it is to live there. Too bad there are so few jobs that pay well.

    • pb5000 says:

      @EM: It’s broken out by metro area and that’s basically Youngstown, OH and surrounding area’s that identify being “part” of Youngstown. Warren, Troy, Farmington Hills, MI are all suburbs of Detroit as well so it’s likely they are referring to Detroit metro and the list of Detroit as well is referring to Detroit city.

      Just my understanding on it.

    • harlock_JDS says:

      @EM: But the jobs pay well enough to buy a house and live in the area. You may make 20-30K more living in NYC but that may still give you a worst standard of living.

      • EM says:

        @harlock_JDS: Agreed. I was referring to the number of jobs available. I went to school there for engineering and had to move to Pittsburgh to find a job.

        What a difference an hour drive makes in terms of job market and cost of living.

  4. shoelace414 says:

    Seems like a lot of the most affordable cities are places losing lots of jobs.

    I wonder if that’s related somehow… hmmm…

    • cabjf says:

      @shoelace414: It’s affordable because no one wants to live there. I wonder what would happen if instead of most affordable, they made it most affordable with relatively stable job markets (given the national job market situation anyhow).

    • I_am_Awesome says:

      The thing about median income is, an income of $1 less than the median has the same effect on the median as no income at all.

  5. gertymac says:

    As my roomates often say, “The middle of the country is cheap, man, dirt cheap”.

    • narq says:

      @gertymac: I grew up in northern Iowa. My 2 bedroom nice apartment that I lived in back around 2005 was $450 a month. A pound of beef was $2.50 and gas was around $1.20 from what I remember. That was just 3 years ago. Unfortunately the city was a bit run down and old much like everything in Iowa. It was quaint and boring so I left.

      • gertymac says:

        I have to admit, and it’s awful, but my preconceived notion of the mid-west as overly conservative is really what scares me away from there.

        • YasashikuAstypalaea says:

          @gertymac: Try Austin — there’s a reason we’re called “Left Texas”.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @gertymac: Come visit. Not for nothin’ is the Big Ten a conglomeration of some of the finest public universities in the entire world. Chances are Farmer Joe in his plaid and overalls got his B. Ag. and Champaign-Urbana and took more Shakespeare classes than you. :)

          I know there’s a real stereotype of the backwards, conservative midwest on the coasts, but that’s really all it is — a stereotype. (And, yes, I have a few pretty backwards neighbors, but I had those when I lived in coastal cities as well, in more or less the same proportion.) But it does surprise me that the midwest is considered so uneducated and provincial when we do have such a massively strong PUBLIC university system and so much of the cultural emphasis in the midwest is on making a better life for your children — which means college.

          One of the things I like best about midwesterners is that as long as you fit a pretty short list of criteria, your quirks are charming and lovable. I live in a “mixed-collar” neighborhood that’s mostly working class, and we were the first couple to move in with different last names who were all granola and organic. They basically want to know, “Do they take good care of their children/pets? Do they maintain their house to a reasonable standard for the neighborhood? Do they confine their loud parties to a couple times a year?”

          If you those three things, your neighbors will like and accept you, and while at first they kind-of thought we were overeducated hippies, we now give organic yard and food advice to half the neighborhood and they all send their kids to us for college application advice. And we overhear them proudly telling friends who are grousing about, say, the green movement, “Oh, there’s a couple down the block from us with an organic yard, it’s really lovely, and they’re very normal.”

          When we first arrived, most of my neighbors were against gay marriage. Then a gay couple moved in down the street. Did they take good care of their dogs? Yep. Did they maintain their house? Yep, brought the most run-down house on the block up to scratch. When they throw loud parties, do they invite the rest of us? Yep. This election cycle, when the anti-gay-marriage petition people went through the neighborhood, they did not get a SINGLE signature. Because now everyone knows a gay couple, they live up to community standards, and so everything thinks, “Hey, their homosexuality is just a lovable quirk!” (In fact, most of my neighbors are now in favor of gay marriage, because, “Look, they’re not hurting anyway.” And as long as you’re not hurting anyway, most midwesterners don’t really care what you’re doing on your off time.)

          All that tolerance, and we’ll feed you to show our love!

          (Plus, politically, we’re really not all that right-wing in the midwest. Look at the red-blue-purple maps. :) )

          • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

            @Eyebrows McGee: *anyway=anyone

          • TWinter says:

            @Eyebrows McGee: I’ll second Eyebrows on the non-scariness of the Midwest, particularly the upper-Midwest, i.e. Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota.

            It’s a very live and let live mentality just as long as you mow your lawn on a regular basis.

            • gertymac says:

              @TWinter: But it’s so cold in all of those places!

              My only trip to the mid-west was Chicago. And it was February. And I was miserable. :(

          • gopher646 says:

            @Eyebrows McGee: I agree with Eyebrows too.

            The upper Midwest (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illiois) is very laid back. If you look at the red/blue state map, you’ll see the blue states are coastal states and the upper Midwest.

            I’ve lived in NYC/Boston/DC for the past 8 years or so… but the upper Midwest is just as nice of a place to live, in my opinion.

          • gertymac says:

            @Eyebrows McGee: Oh, at no point did I mean to indicate that I thought mid-westerners were uneducated. Uneducated and conservative are not at all the same thing in my mind.

            I fully acknowledge that my perception of the mid-west is probably not accurate. Even though I think what you are describing is more acceptance than tolerance, I really am not into the “tolerance” mantra. I tolerate the zits that pop up on my chin. Do I want them there? No, but I tolerate them. I wouldn’t rule out moving to the mid-west simply based on location, but I’m not going to go looking for work there either.

            I am currently spoiled by living in the Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina area which is heavily skewed to the ridiculously liberal and the under 40 crowd.

            Non-scariness argument accpeted, but still wary. :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have no confidence in that report. They left out Chicago but used sales and property taxes in the calculations. Chicago has high property taxes, high rents and the highest sales tax in the country.

  7. heybtbm says:

    I think the main conclusion I’ve drawn from this article is this…

    There’s something wrong with Ohio.

    • Thaddeus says:

      @heybtbm: Having grown up in Cleveland I can confirm that yes, there is something wrong with Ohio… I feel like the whole state is slowly dying. But not as fast as Michigan.

    • Cogito Ergo Bibo says:

      @heybtbm: And I simply LOVE that my corporate overlords have their main hub just outside Dayton. Our pay scale is based upon what the pay scale is there. Unfortunately, it results in an effective 20% pay cut when you try to live on that salary almost anywhere else.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @heybtbm: Dude, there’s nothing wrong with Ohio … except the snow and the rain. And I really like Drew Carey …

    • Beerad says:

      @heybtbm: I’m originally from “the Cleve” and we like to perpetuate the idea that there’s something wrong with Ohio so that everyone else doesn’t invade us. It’s like an Iceland/Greenland thing. Ohio is the best. Even the snow (sorry, Eyebrows).

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @Beerad: Man, nobody gets Bowling for Soup references. :D

        Actually, my major complaint about Ohio is the tollway. I really don’t feel *I* should pay *you* $10 to have to drive all the way across your freakin’ wide state. But maybe I’m just bitter from 22 years of driving from Chicago to DC in a cramped car with parents with a strict bathroom-stop schedule. :)

    • BlondeGrlz says:

      @heybtbm: Yes, my in-laws live there.

  8. HogwartsAlum says:

    Figures…all the cheaper places have wintry weather.

    So much for leaving the Midwest! *sobs, unpacks*

    • cuchanu says:

      @HogwartsAlum: I can testify that you’ll be shocked at the difference if you moved to one of the more expensive cities. I live in Seattle in government subsidized housing in where some might consider “the ghetto” and pay $1130/mo. for a two bedroom place. And it’s about 10 minutes outside of downtown. A 0 bedroom studio in downtown will run you $1500+ no matter what the condition. And don’t get me started about the price of groceries… there is a 30-50% premium. Thank God for Winco and Trader Joe’s.

    • smackswell says:

      @HogwartsAlum: Don’t bother moving to a coast. You’ll find that it’s overcrowded, loud, dirty, and expensive. I got out of the midwest, now I’m moving back. Only thing I’m gonna miss is shopping in the city.

      • HogwartsAlum says:


        Oh, I lived on CA’s Central Coast for four years. It was expensive but I freaking loved it. I miss it so much, especially after all the crazy weather here in MO.

        Looking at housing prices out there online makes me realize that the only way I could move back is to win the damn Publishers Clearinghouse or write a bestseller. I’m working on both! ;)

  9. tptcat says:

    El Paso is on the LEAST affordable? I wonder why.

  10. sassenach says:

    The methodology appears sloppy, with the mixing of counties and cities. [e.g., Does “New York City” mean the 5 boroughs; does “Los Angeles” include both city and county, etc?]

    • floraposte says:

      @sassenach: If you look at the actual data, it’s pretty clear. They’re either Metropolitan Statistical Areas or Metropolitan Divisions, and New York includes the 5 boroughs and the surrounding area including White Plains, NY and Wayne, NJ. Los Angeles includes Long Beach and Glendale–whatever else will depend on whatever the Metropolitan Division includes.

      • nevets68 says:


        I “live” in Wayne.
        Well, actually I barely make ends meet in Wayne NJ.

        The cost of living here is utterly insane.
        Have you ever seen the prices for some of these dumpy apartments here (off Valley Road)?

        And all the McMansions…..


    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @sassenach: I suspect they’re using the census’s metropolitan statistical areas?

    • KillTheAcademy says:

      @sassenach: judging by the fact that i went from paying 450 a month in rent in new orleans to paying 1075 in rent in Van Nuys, Ca I’m thinking it’s LA county, not the city proper.

  11. ARP says:

    Affordable yes, but who’d want to live in any of those places? [ducks].

    • cuchanu says:

      @ARP: You figured out why they are affordable.

    • howtragic says:


      Yup, I was gonna say. I have friends who always want to know “how” I can live in LA. Rather pay $1000 for a studio and have loads of fun shit to do, sunshine all the time, great schools to go to, and great beaches than live in any of the shitty “affordable” cities they pick any day.

      Plus, I earn a shitload more money than any of them. Why? Because I live in a place where there is some actual opportunity.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        @howtragic: 1000$ studio sounds like the efficiencies in Florida .Yes there is something about being in a warm weather enviorment all year long .

        Believe or not alot of South Floridians don’t appreciate that-the transplants do but the long timers and new citizens want to go to places like New York ,they want that big time career job .Most could care less about the beach or rarely use it .

    • Mike_Hawk says:

      @ARP: Not me.

      Oh shit I already do.

      Let me just say stay out of Michigan.

  12. Skankingmike says:

    Is Newark on there because the drug lords, pimps, or gangs may steal all of your stuff kill you and then sell your shit back to your family for a profit?

    Seriously in NJ the rest of the state (minus the other cities that are on this plan) pay their property taxes, so what exactly about that city is expensive? other than it’s in NJ :P

    • Excited_Utterance says:


      I just recently moved away from Newark after living there for a few years, and I’m not surprised to see it on this list. It’s all very recent developments, like the new waterfront, the new Devils stadium, the corporate HQs that are downtown, and overpriced condos that are pushing some of the rabble further up the hill. Pair that with a 10 minute PATH ride into WTC and a salivatingly high concentration of Brazilians Down Neck, and Newark’s not a bad place to be! Occasional drug dealers, sure, but there isn’t much by way of gangs and downtown’s not unsafe even at night.

      That’s all downtown though; the West Ward is still a mess, and the problems from the tax base that come out of Essex County are more from towns further up the hill like Irvington, which is a hot mess.

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      @Skankingmike: Quote: The index was created by calculating what percentage of a city’s residents making the median income can afford a house in that city.
      It’s based upon how affordable housing is to the resdients of the area. Metro-Newark is a poor area, thus putting most housing out of reach for residents. I suspect that’s why El Paso makes this list too.

      • Skankingmike says:

        @Quake ‘n’ Shake: I know Newark, I have a friend who works at the court house there and she has to be escorted daily to and from the parking garage.

        @Excited_Utterance: Occasional Drug dealers? Are you serious? I lived in NJ my whole life and every time I had to be in Newark I thought i was gonna get shot being Downtown.

        One of my Employee’s lives in a bad part of Newark. they have cab drivers who aren’t cab drivers they basically pull up to you you get in, and they lock in you in the cab and hold you hostage until you pay them money.

        I had a neighbor who decided that he wanted to have sex with a prostitute so he went into Newark the Pimp came busting in and shot him, killing him instantly.

        And Spike TV is doing their second season of DEA in Newark siting it as the worst city for being one of the worst cities in the country for drug transport.

        I’m sorry that list is bunk

        • Cattivella says:

          @Skankingmike: Newark is a shithole. One of my best friends lives on the border of Bad and Really Bad in Newark and I crashed at their apartment one night when they were out of town. I had the very, very bad experience of getting lost trying to find my way there, driving through some really sketchy neighborhoods and not arriving until after dark. That place is no good, no matter who tries to say otherwise. My friend doesn’t leave her apartment after dark unless her husband is with her.

          • Skankingmike says:

            @Cattivella: I know it. I cringed when my wife had to go to court there. I’d rather Trenton any day of the week, than for her to go to Newark even during the day.

            That city should be burned to the ground.. oh wait they tried that.

      • snowburnt says:

        @Quake ‘n’ Shake: Probably explains why DC and surroundings aren’t on that list. Houses are pretty expensive still but the median is probably a lot higher than the rest of the country. I don’t feel like we have gotten hit yet with a lot of the layoffs since most of the jobs here are government contracts.

    • TheFuzz53 says:


      And that is why NJ government is so expensive. We have cities full of people that are absolutely useless that only entity that can employee them is the government.

      NJ State, County and Local Governments, employing the unemployable.

  13. thatblackgirl says:

    Yep. they’re affordable. Are they places I’d want to live? Nope.

    • J. Gov says:


      Just what I was about to say about Warren and Detroit. *snerk* Or at least, most of Detroit – there are some nice parts, I’ll admit.

      Troy is comparatively nice – by which I mean it’s a neighborhood I’d like to live in, if I were going to choose someplace in Michigan. Weather’s still awful, though, obviously.

  14. Steve Kinney says:

    NYC is dropping though. Apartments are much cheaper than they were 18 months ago.

  15. Saboth says:

    “I come from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and that’s as hard-scrabble a place as you’re going to find. I’ll show you around sometime and you’ll see — it’s a hell hole. An absolute jerkwater of a town. You couldn’t stand to spend a weekend there. It’s just an awful, awful sad place, filled with sad, desperate people with no ambition. Nobody, I mean nobody, but me, has ever come out of that place. It’s a genetic cesspool. So don’t be telling me that I’m part of the Washington elite, because I come from the absolute worst place on earth — Scranton, Pennsylvania. And Wilmington, Delaware, is not much better.”

    • Quake 'n' Shake says:

      @Saboth: Is that why everyone there clings to their guns and bibles?

    • I_have_something_to_say says:


      Everytime I hear Scranton, PA I wonder how Dunder Mifflin is doing these days :-P

    • snowburnt says:

      @Saboth: I could see Wilmington getting hit hard in this credit crunch.

      I wonder if Scranton had to do any pushing to be featured on the Office. It doesn’t paint a glorious picture of the town, but it’s the first thing I think of when I hear Scranton. (aside from the penguins)

    • docrice says:

      As a guy that lives 20 minutes from Scranton, I’ll say this. I’m not fond of a lot of the people around here, but last year my wife and I (23 years old at the time) were able to buy a respectable house that is within our means, and there’s lots of living, whether in the city, burbs, or in the sticks that’s affordable on a modest salary. Our neighbors are nice, and we stay out of town for the most part, so it’s not a bad place to live. Farm team sports, casinos, shopping, skiing, and lots of other things to do, plus a regional airport right outside of town. Not a bad way to live – most of the same amenities we saw outside of Seattle, and about half the price…

      • Saboth says:


        heh, actually my quote is taken from the VP debate skit on SNL between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, when Palin(Fey) suggests he is a Washington insider.

    • pb5000 says:

      @Saboth: So because VP Biden says it, it must be true right?

  16. katieoh says:

    i am surprised pittsburgh didn’t make this list. it’s my favorite major metropolitan area due to the fact that i could rent, like, a 3-br house for what i pay for one bedroom in an apartment in the former ghetto in brooklyn, ny. D:

    also, lol at half the cities being in michigan/ohio. egad, poor auto industry…

    • snowburnt says:

      @katieoh: Yeah, Pittsburgh is dirt cheap, but no one lives in the city, it seems like east of the city is starting to get much more populated and the people that lived east are moving west. The big problem with Pittsburgh is it’s major industries don’t pay much in taxes: health care and education.

    • varro says:

      @katieoh: My dad’s house in middle-class suburban Pittsburgh (Bethel Park) is worth less than my bungalow in the gentrifying ghetto of Portland. It’s a much larger house and lot.

      Most of the new construction seems to be west and north of the city, and people fleeing Allegheny County taxes into Peters to build their McMansions.

  17. Notsewfast says:

    There should be some weighting based on quality of life, poverty levels, etc.

    Some places (like Detroit) are cheap because they are crime ridden and have massive unemployment, so you can buy homes for a dollar. taking the median income doesn’t really paint the full picture because if there are no jobs then there is no demand for housing, and people with very low income can afford to live in the squalor that is available.

    It would make the difference between showing where there is cheap housing in crumbling cities versus showing where people have jobs and live comfortably. I would imagine the lists would show less rust belt and more Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas.

    • Geoffrey Sperl says:

      @Secret Agent Man: We’re crime-ridden, huh? Trust me, there are a lot of other places on the list that I would feel less safe in than in Detroit.

      But if you just want to believe what the MSM spoon-feeds you then who am I to talk to you from actual experience?

      • Notsewfast says:

        @Geoffrey Sperl:

        I’ve never lived in detroit, but you can’t honestly say that its a beacon of hope for American cities can you? Nothing against the people of the city, but since the auto industry left in the late 60’s and early 70’s, crime has risen and unemployment has skyrocketed.

        Again, nothing against you or other citizens of Detroit, but i don’t know of too many other cities that have a blog dedicated to their poverty and exploring their abandoned skyscrapers.

        Hardly the mainstream media, more of a man on the street account.

        • mythago says:

          @Secret Agent Man: You think that Detroit is the only city that has a “we really suck” blog about it?

          There are lots of reasons I would never more back to Detroit, but OMG BLACK PEOPLE N CRIME is not among them.

          • Notsewfast says:


            Didn’t say a word about black people. Crime is crime, regardless of who commits it.

            Regardless, you’re arguing and agreeing with me at the same time. Detroit is not a place that anyone wants to live, the reasons are many… I cited a couple of obvious examples.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Secret Agent Man: @Secret Agent Man:
      Excellent point. I’m from Indy and it’s not bad, but we rank extremely low on public transportation and health. Other affordable cities on the list lack much to do, have been hit badly by factory closings and unemployment, have terrible crime rates, etc. I do think quality of life and employment levels should be balanced into this. We’d probably see more of the plains and west included.

  18. Baccus83 says:

    Not sure why Chicago and our 10.5% sales tax isn’t included on the list.

    • mk says:

      @Gene Gemperline: I agree, i really expected to see our city on the least affordable list. Maybe we’re number 11.

    • sn0zc0r3 says:

      @Gene Gemperline: Totally agree. Damn us for just missing the cusp.

      Fancy seein’ you here Gene. :-p

    • floraposte says:

      @Gene Gemperline: Chicagoland comes in at 164th most affordable out of 222. Sales tax isn’t enough to bump it into the level of SF or NY, and it’s got enough people with money to make the income/housing ratio not too steep for a top ten city.

      • cozynite says:

        @floraposte: That’s really surprising. I would think our sales tax and other increased taxes would be a large factor in affordability. OTOH, rent for the most part is pretty affordable. So maybe that’s why?

    • veronykah says:

      @Gene Gemperline: LA has a sales tax of 8.25% and NYC 8.375%, you think having a 2% higher sales tax pushes the cost of living in Chicago to the level of NYC and LA?
      How much is gas there? A gallon of milk? A one bedroom apt? Electricity?
      I live in LA and moved here from NYC, they are both AMAZINGLY expensive, I don’t think you realize how much more EVERYTHING in each of these cities costs.
      Although after living in both I don’t see why LA isn’t at the top, I find it to be more expensive to live here than in NYC.
      Maybe Chicago is #11…

  19. econobiker says:


    How about “livable” cities…

    Newark, NJ only benefits because it looks cheap against NYC…unless it has had a renewal of some sorts. Last I heard the Newark city gov’t was cracking down on the outlawed razor wire topped fences to try to make the city more presentable. Problem was that the businesses without razor wire topped fences were getting hit more often… For those who don’t know razor wire is bad-ass sheet metal coils with spikes on it, it makes standard barbed wire look like nursey school level…

    • Geoffrey Sperl says:

      @econobiker: How about actually coming here instead to taking cheap pot-shots about if we are a “livable” city?

      Like I told Secret Agent Man above: stop believing everything the MSM tells you to believe.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        @Geoffrey Sperl: I think it’s funny that you seem to believe one can only dislike Detroit if they haven’t been there. Are you planning to reply to every comment about the city? Because if you are, that would be even funnier.

      • ShortBus says:

        @Geoffrey Sperl: I live closer to Ann Arbor now, but up until a year or so ago, I worked in downtown Detroit. Right across the street from Comerica Park, actually. I can authoritatively say that the city is, in fact, a cesspool.

        Sure there are a couple nice areas (Indian Village, Boston-Edison), but the overwhelming majority of it is horrible. And if the street thugs don’t rob you, City Hall will. Outrageously high property and income taxes help fuel a corrupt government.

        It’s funny how many of the people with “Detroit Pride” don’t actually live or work in the city. They just like to identify with the hard scrabble image. The true residents don’t give two shits about the place and it shows. Many of the suburbanites even attend the regular community clean-up events that happen in the city… while its residents just watch from their dilapidated porches. Screw Detroit. Seriously.

        • econobiker says:


          “Many of the suburbanites even attend the regular community clean-up events that happen in the city… while its residents just watch from their dilapidated porches.”

          I wonder who is the actual dummy in that situation????

    • failurate says:

      @econobiker: Barbed wire is to slow you down/stop you. Razor wire is to punish you for trying.

      • lockdog says:

        @failurate: Driving on I-64 I saw what I thought was prison near Huntington, WV. There was a high fence topped with razor wire surrounding a low block building built in that government style. I used to live near there and was surprised to see it. It was only as I rounded the bend that I realized it was their new high school.

  20. TheFuzz53 says:

    Who in their right mind is willingly paying to live in the hell hole known as Newark? I guess when the rest of the state’s taxpayer’s are picking up the tab for your schools and inept government, you can afford to be expensive.

  21. Dillon Barfield says:


    Boston isn’t on the list? Really?

    • Etoiles says:

      @Dillon Barfield: Metro Boston and Metro DC are at almost the exact same price point. (I grew up in Boston, then went to New York, then to DC — money-wise, living in DC feels like “back home” in Boston. And both are piles cheaper than NYC.)

    • Skankingmike says:

      @Dillon Barfield: Boston is SUPER expensive. Me and my wife want to move back there but the prices are just so damn expensive to live in the north end or any of the nice parts of Boston.

    • ScarletsWalk says:

      @Dillon Barfield:

      I was thinking the same thing. Sure, Boston isn’t NYC in prices, but when you look at real estate listings and a “deal” is a $350k 1 BR with no parking and an insane amount of taxes on the state and local levels, it adds up.

    • AtomicPlayboy says:

      @Dillon Barfield: Yeah, I was surprised to see that my old city, Boston, wasn’t on the list, nor was my new city, San Diego. Both are insanely expensive, both in real estate expenditure and general cost of living (absent from this measurement). At least MA doesn’t tax you to death like CA.

  22. balthisar says:

    While I personally would never live in the Detroit city limits, there truly are nice areas. Sure, there are a lot more not-so-nice areas, and the city council is elected in a general election rather than based on districts, they have horrible millage rates, and an income tax to boot, but there truly are decent places there.

  23. semanticantics says:

    Did they take into account the costs of flak jackets and bullets for Detroit?

  24. plyhard13 says:

    So the moral of the story is everyone wants to live near the ocean, and no one wants to live in the Midwest. Hmm, seems a little obvious to me.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @plyhard13: Yeah, I think the common thread for many (but not all) of the affordable places is that nobody wants to live there.

      I lived in Scranton, PA for many years. When I moved back to the DC area where I grew up, my rent tripled — for a slightly smaller place. And then when I bought a house, again in the DC area, that monthly payment almost doubled!

      But it’s also a much better place to live. There’s very little opportunity for a college graduate in Northeastern PA.

      • varro says:

        @Shadowman615: Yeah, but Miami is a huge shithole with horrible weather 9 months of the year (heat, humidity, violent thunderstorms out of nowhere, and occasional hurricanes).

        Add to that expensive housing, crime out the wazoo, and a government that rules the city like Batista did…

  25. MrDo says:

    Surprise, shitholes are affordable. Did someone in the press really think this was “news” to anyone?

    • hills says:

      @MrDo: Indy is NOT a shithole! It’s a nice city!

      • Shadowman615 says:

        @hillsrovey: The rest of them are, though.

        • Anonymous says:

          @Shadowman615: Thank you! I’m embarassed to see Indy included with these crappy places. We’re not terribly “rust belt”, while the rest of these places exemplify it. Don’t get me wrong, Indy ranks low in some things (good luck navigating the underfunded bus system) and I don’t plan to stay here forever, but it has great restaurants, a pretty fun nightlife, tons of good museums, and it’s a sports mecca. There are many nice shopping and entertainment areas in the city, too; you don’t have to flee to the suburbs. The other affordable places on this list that I’ve been to… not so much.

    • Youthier says:

      @MrDo: @Shadowman615: I disagree. Grand Rapids is pretty nice. Small though. And pretty conservative. But plenty of nice homes, decent schools, etc.

      People seem to think that Michigan = pictures of Detroit you see on TV. Detroit is Detroit. My Michigan city is way below the national average of foreclosures and unemployment.

    • fuzzmanmatt says:

      @MrDo: Not shitholes. Well, okay, most of them. Farmington Hills wasn’t bad until recently.

      @Youthier: Pretty conservative? How about super-conservative. I drove down Michigan street today and passed seven churches in a mile long stretch of road. The per capita church rate is higher than ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD! Yeah. I think pretty conservative doesn’t quite cut it.

      And the area, despite being horridly conservative, is nice. We have our share of million dollar homes (East Grand Rapids), and our share of slums (Wyoming, the south east side of Grand Rapids), and a ton of mexicans (Not being racist, they really are mexican, not just hispanic) on the south side. But really, we’re like a small town with a million people in it.

  26. JGKojak says:

    El Paso????

    I’m sure its due to the poverty rates there, but I’m guessing a house in El Paso is pretty cheap relatively.

    They needed a “point of diminishing returns” cutoff on income (high and low) to correct for outliers.

    • MrEvil says:

      @JGKojak: I agree, being a pretty busy border crossing with Mexico there’s a large population of migrant workers in El Paso. Lots of em are probably making less than minimum wage.

    • Burgandy says:

      @JGKojak: FWIW, we just closed on a new 1700 sq ft house on the nice side of town for $137k. Housing is affordable here if you have more skills than various phone jobs or waiting tables and running a cash register.

  27. captainpicard says:

    I love indy, downtown is really nice and the subarbs are as well, and indiana is the crossroads of america !!! (I live in indiana, though it is closer to cincy, oh than indy )

    • Anonymous says:

      @captainpicard: I moved to Indy from Southern California (San Diego) three years ago and have never been happier. Yes the weather isn’t what I had in San Diego, but I am also not dispensing all of my paycheck towards rent, utilities, and other services like I did there. Amazingly my quality of life is much better here than it ever was when I lived in LA, Anaheim, Seattle, or the Bay area.

      Why spend 650k on the same house in So Cal when i can spend 125k here in Indy. It’s not Rocket science.

    • suburbancowboy says:


      Been to Indianapolis twice. I saw the skyline, then I walked two blocks and I was on the other side of it.

      The “downtown” looked like it was put up by some city planners overnight…Hmmm. let’s put an Irish bar here, and a jazz club here, and a Jillian’s here.
      The place had no character or feeling of history like I get when I walk around NYC.

      If you live in New York City, Indianapolis is a very bizarre almost movie facade “city” to visit.

      • xip says:


        If you’re comparing Indianapolis to NYC, what do you expect? Downtown Indy is small enough that if you want to put an Irish bar and a Blues bar there, they are pretty much guaranteed to be within a few blocks of each other. And there isn’t that much history because the city didn’t naturally spring up as a settlement. It was founded in the 1820’s for the specific purpose of being the state capital because of its geographic location in the state.

        But Indy has it’s good points, and this article mentions one of them. I can get a new 2 bedroom apartment in a nice area for $750 a month if I want. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment that’s a bit older but still in a nice area for $560.

  28. Froggmann says:

    Greaaaaat I live and work in two of the least affordable cities. No wonder my paycheck doesn’t go far.

    • floraposte says:

      @Froggmann: That’s not the measure, though (so maybe “affordable” is a misleading word). It’s not how much stuff costs there, it’s how much it costs compared to what the average salary is. So theoretically the top city isn’t necessarily the most expensive (though I’d bet it is).

      • veronykah says:

        @floraposte: So why isn’t LA at the top. Everyone I know who has lived in NYC and moved here took huge pay cuts and its really NOT cheaper to live here. You get paid less and you pay more to live.
        I’d say bartending here I make 50% of what I would make in NYC. Photo assisting? 50-100 less on a day rate.
        Sunshine tax indeed.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        @floraposte: That’s what happend in south Florida over the last decade .It used to be tourist town/southern living away from the beach until the developers came in followed by contractors,realtors,speculators and just flat out greedy nasty people .

        The boom did stimulate the economy to a point but with the competition from new citizens sfor new or the most basic job the local wages were kept artifically low .

        During the peak of boom major manufacturers in south Florida started pulling out including Motorola and NT .There was construction were per say but most of the highly skilled labor was imported .The only major industry is tourism which is a very fickle and not a great paying industry .

        Long story short a saturated job pool allowed many a company to keep their wages like 20 years behind the times .

        And before the boom highway driving was a breeze .During the boom there were stretches of 6 lane highway that took you 1/2 hour-45 minutes to travel 3 miles .Point being that many employers expect you to travel 30-100 miles one way for jobs under 20$ per hour which can limit your job choice even more .

        Scary part is that I’ve heard Californians say driving there is worse .Along with the cost of living .

  29. Geoffrey Sperl says:

    I’m just going to say this:

    It’s only a matter of time before companies decide that they have had it with places like California. That they want to be in a place with better costs-of-living for their employees and the commute doesn’t take two hours one way.

    When that occurs (and it will) it will be the Midwest that sees the benefits. It’s insane to think California can continue to keep up this pace – especially when you consider their unemployment rate.

    Plus, don’t forget that we have all the fresh water you folks out on the West Coast are going to need in the coming years once the Colorado River really starts to have problems.

    • veronykah says:

      @Geoffrey Sperl: People are already doing what you say. I’ve seen numerous stories of Angelinos moving to Colorado.
      Will I? Absolutely not. I lived in the midwest, never again.
      If I left SoCal it would be back to NYC, they have plenty of fresh water too.

  30. Plates says:

    Newark? Have they ever been to Newark? I really don’t think Corey Booker has turned the city around or ever will.

  31. Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:

    These lists are silly and don’t take into account so much that they’re barely worth discussing, other than pointless This City vs. That City nonsense. It all boils down to more desirable=more expensive.

  32. theblackdog says:

    These lists really are the “Which areas have we screwed up with McMansions and Which areas can we exploit with McMansions?” lists.

  33. Remix69 says:

    yay! #6

  34. amuro98 says:

    Detroit is an affordable place to live?!?

    Let’s see:
    * Bad city services (only certain areas get street lights anymore)
    * High city taxes.
    * Horribly corrupt city government. They finally sent the self-proclaimed “hip-hop mayor” to prison.
    * High crime rates – and forget about calling the police.
    * All big shopping chains moved out of the city years ago.
    * Horrendous school system. Even the magnet school I attended is struggling to produce kids who can actually pass the state’s assessment tests.

    Even the suburbs around Detroit are suffering. Foreclosures and abandoned houses are commonplace. Unemployment is very high, large companies are moving OUT of the state (or at least, out of the Detroit Metro area.)

    So even if houses are cheap – very cheap – you’re looking at a 20 minute drive on some of the nation’s worst maintained roads to even go to the grocery store, your kids will have to be shipped out to private schools at least an hour’s drive each way (bus service? what? lol!) good luck finding a job, and, oh yeah, enjoy paying Detroit City taxes alongside your 1040 and State Income Tax forms every April 15th.

  35. u1itn0w2day says:

    I noticed alot of tourist areas are the most expensive which isn’t surprising .

    It’s ashame though,in cities like Miami it used to be cheap as soon as you got a way from the beach but the flippers and developers took care of that .Genderfication took hold in many neighborhoods and condo buildings .Even retirees are struggling .

    When I say it got cheaper away from the beach I mean literally .If you rented a unit a block away from the beach it got cheaper .You moved inland away from the barrier islands it got even cheaper .The influx of developers and construction people caused inflation and greed .They’re gone now but the damage is done .

    What was laid back tourist town/southern living turned into big city New York style living-including the prices .

    It must be similar in places like California .

  36. FatLynn says:

    I don’t understand the rating system. It’s determining how many people making a certain amount can afford a certain priced house? Wouldn’t it be all of them? Or none of them?

    • floraposte says:

      @FatLynn: It’s the percentage of homes in a given metropolitan area that are affordable to people with the median income in that area. Sure, there are flaws (for instance, there can be a lot of variance in expenses other than housing, as people here have been saying), but it’s kind of an interesting look at how many or how few people in an area can actually afford to own their own homes there.

  37. Tresa Rivers says:

    I am from Canton, Ohio (just south of Akron) and am not surprised to see that NE Ohio has so many cities on the list.

    That area was destroyed financially in the past 5-10 years. It’s cheap, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

    And TERRIBLE weather.

  38. SoCalGNX says:

    My family left the midwest more than 80 years ago. My husbands family left it more than 60 years ago. Been to the midwest, its lovely. Don’t care to live where there are blizzards or tornadoes.

  39. Trai_Dep says:

    Santa F*CKING Ana?! Really?!

  40. rpm773 says:

    But those on the affordable list are all yucky, rust-belt cities.


    • ShortBus says:

      @rpm773: Guess you’ve never been to Troy, Michigan then? Troy is one of the nicer cities in the 3rd or 4th most affluent counties in the entire US, Oakland County.

      • Shrew2u says:

        @ShortBus: Yep, if I had to move to any of the “most affordable” places on the list, Troy would be #1 on the list – affordable and nice. But there’s really no chance of that – I’m a coastie, so when the husband and I are ready to sell our $700,000 cracker box and retire someplace affordable, we’ll just head north to the Oregon coast. Astoria, Seaside, Tillamook, Coos Bay, someplace pretty, clean and quiet.

        • rpm773 says:

          @Shrew2u: My wife and I drive through those towns a few years ago on vacation..driving from San Francisco to Seattle.

          It was after labor day, and those places along the Oregon 101 seemed like the end of the world to me. They were beautiful, but it just seemed so remote.

    • rpm773 says:

      @rpm773: No, no, I’ve never been to..where was that? Trow, Minnesota? :D

      I spent half my childhood in Okemos, MI and Northwest Indiana. My comment, although not marked as such, was mainly meant in jest.

  41. Skybolt says:

    If you want affordable housing, plus restaurants and culture and educated people, and you want to be near a large body of water, come to Buffalo, NY and its surrounding suburbs. It is a great place to live and is handling the recession relatively well.

  42. mythago says:

    “Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine” makes no sense. Those are three very different urban areas.

    That said, woo SF! REPRESENT!

  43. Necrosynth says:

    NYC+ Long Island=
    The only place were living at home at 30 doesn’t automatically make you a loser!

  44. rockasocky says:

    I consider LA to be affordable, but probably only because I moved here from Honolulu :-/

  45. cmdrsass says:

    If I had to live in any of those most affordable cities, I think I’d just shoot myself.

    • ShortBus says:

      @cmdrsass: Really? And just how many of the listed cities have you been to? I’ve been to eleven of them (all except Scranton, Boardman, and Warren OH). I wouldn’t chose to live in Cleveland, Detroit, Warren (MI), and possibly Akron. However, the others seem to be pretty good places to raise a family. And having traveled all over the US on business, I have good basis for comparison.

  46. Cattivella says:

    Yea, Irvine! I can’t believe what I used to pay in rent here. Worse than I paid living in LA in a nice apt a block away from UCLA’s campus. I love living here, but there are few places that a young family can afford to rent, much less buy.

  47. iluvhatemail says:

    I think their math is messed up. It’s only affordable if you can find a job there. Coming from Detroit, it’s one of the most unaffordable cities I can think of.

  48. Sonny Minx says:

    So living in an exciting city with decent weather costs more than a boring city with crappy weather?

    wow.. who knew?

  49. egoods says:

    Whelp, it’s frightening to see my city (troy) a suburb of Detroit actually falls above Detroit… who would’ve thunk!

  50. kwsventures says:

    Too bad there are no warm weather places on the most affordable list.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Syracuse, NY is a fantastic place to live! My husband makes an excellent salary and I personally know of NO ONE who has lost their job. I have a hard time considering anywhere else to live whenever my husband’s company asks him if he’s considered transferring to another location. Snowboarding, skating, sledding, snowmen AND comfortable 85 degree summers? Perfect! Our cost of living is dirt cheap as well… where else in this country can you support a family of 4 on $18K/year with NO assistance? We were young and he was entry level but we had everything we needed and didn’t ask the government for help… didn’t even think of it because we lived comfortably. Now making close to $80K, we feel so incredibly blessed to live here, especially in this economy.

    Syracuse, NY was also listed as the second strongest real estate market in the nation by Forbes Magazine last month… GO ‘CUSE!

  52. pyehac says:

    whoohoo!! We’re number 9!!

  53. shifuimam says:

    I had to smile at seeing Indianapolis at the top of the list. I get so tired of people bashing Indy because it’s not as glamorous as other big cities, but it’s still big (12th largest in the US, in fact), the cost of living is insanely slow, and it’s a good location in the country relative to other places – Chicago is only a few hours away and it’s within driving distance of the East coast.

    I live in a small town now, due to a job change, but I’ve lived the first 23 years of my life in Indy and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

  54. thaShady says:

    MOTHER F’ER. F. F. F. I Just moved from Indy to Southern California 2 weeks ago. My cousin wonders why I complain about the prices of everything haha I guess it’s because I come from the cheapest city in America :(

  55. Anonymous says:

    Well as someone who lives in ohio fairly near two of those cities I can tell you why its so cheap to live there… because there are no jobs in ne/central ohio. We’ve lost timken, steel plants, hoover, and dozens of other mfg companies after nafta. 1/4 people I know are unemployed and i’m in my mid 30s.