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10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

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Which U.S. cities have the lowest costs of living?

The Council for Community and Economic Research recently measured the after-tax prices of common purchases in 307 urban areas. The council crunched more than 50,000 prices for everything from grocery items to transportation to housing to come up with their Cost of Living Index. The national average is 100.

Following is a look at each of the 10 most affordable cities in the United States.

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

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Harlingen, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

For three straight years, Harlingen, Texas, has ranked as America's most affordable city. Its cost of living index of 81.8 in 2012 fell 0.6 from the previous year.

The Harlingen Economic Development Corporation Board in a statement last month confirmed that the city "has been ranked number one for 11 consecutive quarters."

"Consistently being able to boast a cost of living of approximately 20 percent below the national average is useful in our economic development efforts since a low cost of living is an indication of a low cost of doing business," said Dr. Gilbert Leal, vice president of the board.

Market prices in Harlingen, Texas--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.33
  • Monthly rent - $640
  • Home price - $218,554
  • Gallon of gas - $3.293
  • Haircut - $7.50
  • Movie ticket - $9.17
  • Bottle of wine - $6.27

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

City of McAllen

McAllen, Texas

McAllen Public Library in McAllen, Texas

The sixth edition of the Council for Community and Economic Research's Cost of Living Index ranks McAllen, Texas, as the second most affordable place for a professional standard of living.

McAllen's index of 85.6 is nearly 15 percent below the national average. The Census Bureau reported that from 2000 to 2010, McAllen grew 39.3 percent, which made the city the seventh fastest growing in America.


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.34
  • Monthly rent - $740
  • Home price - $202,994
  • Gallon of gas - $3.288
  • Haircut - $9
  • Movie ticket - $9.08
  • Bottle of wine - $6.14

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

Okguy

Norman, Okla.

Brandt Park in Norman, Okla.

With a cost of living index of 85.6, 14.4 percent below the national average, Norman, Okla., is the third-least expensive city in the U.S. Norman has remained home of the state's first institution of higher learning, the University of Oklahoma, since the school's founding there in 1895, according to the City of Norman.


Market prices in Norman, Okla.--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.16
  • Monthly rent - $647
  • Home price - $225,458
  • Gallon of gas - $3.305
  • Haircut - $10.89
  • Movie ticket - $9.17
  • Bottle of wine - $7.66

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

Emersonbiggins85

Ardmore, Okla.

Ardmore, Okla.

A 90-minute drive from Dallas or Oklahoma City, Ardmore, Okla., is located about 30 miles north of the Oklahoma-Texas state border. The city says on its website it has roughly 35,185 residents, which make up the majority of Carter County's population.

Ardmore's cost of living index of 85.9 is roughly 14 percent below the national average, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Market prices in Ardmore, Okla.--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.16
  • Monthly rent - $588
  • Home price - $231,667
  • Gallon of gas - $3.344
  • Haircut - $11.61
  • Movie ticket - $9.50
  • Bottle of wine - $7.67

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

Hellohowareyoudoing

Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis, America's fifth-least expensive city according to the Cost of Living Index, has a population of 652,050, based on the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. With an index of 86, the cost of living in Memphis is up a tenth of a point from a year ago.

Market prices in Memphis, Tenn.--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.29
  • Monthly rent - $711
  • Home price - $193,834
  • Gallon of gas - $3.401
  • Haircut - $13.20
  • Movie ticket - $8.93
  • Bottle of wine - $9.17

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

Brandonrush

Fayetteville, Ark.

Fayetteville, Ark.

Fayetteville, Ark., has a cost of living index of 86, which makes it the only city in Arkansas in the top 10 most affordable places in the U.S. According the city's website, Fayetteville, the home of the University of Arkansas, is the regional leader in the number of National Merit Scholars and annual awards for student publications.

Market prices in Fayetteville, Ark.--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.16
  • Monthly rent - $574
  • Home price - $237,533
  • Gallon of gas - $3.263
  • Haircut - $12.47
  • Movie ticket - $8.80
  • Bottle of wine - $7.71

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

Justin Cozart

Wichita Falls, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Wichita Falls has a cost of living index of 86.4, nearly 14 percent below the national average. The city is the 30th most populous in Texas, according the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Market prices in Wichita Falls, Texas--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.43
  • Monthly rent - $565
  • Home price - $267,667
  • Gallon of gas - $3.256
  • Haircut - $9.67
  • Movie ticket - $9.21
  • Bottle of wine - $7.17

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

Doug Wertman/Flickr

Muskogee, Okla.

Muskogee, Okla.

Muskogee, Okla., has a cost of living index of 86.9, roughly 13 percent below the national average, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.

Market prices in Muskogee, Okla.--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.16
  • Monthly rent - $533
  • Home price - $211,667
  • Gallon of gas - $3.326
  • Haircut - $14.44
  • Movie ticket - $9.50
  • Bottle of wine - $9.47

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

David Shankbone

Pueblo, Colo.

Pueblo, Colo.

Nestled at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek, the city of Pueblo, Colo., is the ninth-least expensive in the United States. The city says on its website that Livability.com recently ranked Pueblo as one of "America's Best Places to Live." Its cost of living index, 87.1, is roughly 13 percent below the national average.

Market prices in Pueblo, Colo.--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $1.95
  • Monthly rent - $708
  • Home price - $202,539
  • Gallon of gas - $3.373
  • Haircut - $12.54
  • Movie ticket - $8.50
  • Bottle of wine - $6.32

10 cheapest places to live in the U.S.

OHWiki

Ashland, Ohio

Ashland, Ohio

Ashland, Ohio, ranks as the 10th most affordable city in the U.S., according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. The city's nickname is "the world headquarters of nice people." Ashland has a cost of living index of 87.6.

Market prices in Ashland, Ohio--


  • Half-gallon of milk - $2.23
  • Monthly rent - $538
  • Home price - $222,558
  • Gallon of gas - $3.504
  • Haircut - $12.29
  • Movie ticket - $8.69
  • Bottle of wine - $5.54
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