This Is The Best Place In America To Live On $30K

According to the U.S. Census, the median household income in America was $67,521 in 2020. In the same year, 11.4% of Americans lived in poverty. The definition of poverty varies by family size. For a family of four, the figure is $26,500.

The effects of income vary by state. Some states have a cost of living well below others. Mississippi has the lowest cost of living at about 80% of the national level.

At the far end of the cost of living, Hawaii’s is 80% above the national number. What people can afford to live day to day depends to some large extent on where they are living.

24/7 Wall St. analyzed where people could best live based on a low income. In some metro areas, the cost of living went up by over 20% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The cost of housing and food both increased nationwide by more than 20% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the cost of living has continued to climb in most places, and with the rapid expansion of remote work, many people can relocate to places within their budget. In turn, this can help pump money into smaller cities but can also create problems by pricing out those that already live there but don’t make big city wages from remote work jobs.

24/7 Wall St. chose the best metro areas to live on a budget of $31,000 a year by reviewing data from, a site that compares and reviews moving companies and quotes. ranked metro areas based on an index that includes four measures: median gross rent, monthly food cost, violent crime rate, and property crime rent. Metro areas with a median monthly rent over $886 and metro areas with missing crime data from the FBI were excluded.

The cities we considered are spread across the country and can be good for someone looking for a new start or a place to settle down on a fixed income. They are generally (more) affordable and have low crime rates. None of them have over 1 million residents but they range in size from medium to small cities.

The best place in America to live on $30k a year was Cumberland, Maryland. Here are the details:

> Est. average monthly rent: $628
> Est. monthly cost of groceries: $266
> Property crime rate: 1,820 incidents per 100,000 people
> Violent crime rate: 275 incidents per 100,000 people
> Population: 97,284

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