The 15 most affordable places to live in America

  • Henryk Sadura/iStockphoto

    By Laurie Kulikowski/TheStreet

    Does living in Ohio appeal to you? If it doesn't, perhaps knowing that the Buckeye State is home to several cities among America's most affordable places to live might change your mind.

    In fact, Midwestern cities dominate the top 15 affordable places to live, according to a recent report by online real estate listings site Trulia.

    It's not just housing costs that are affordable in many of these middle-class cities. Other fixed expenses, such as commuting costs and utility bills, contribute to the city's affordability.

    Trulia sought to get a truly accurate picture of housing affordability in the 100 largest metro areas by measuring what proportion of monthly income is spent on living expenses, like mortgage payments, utility costs and commuting, according to its recent report.

    Trulia used median incomes from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey, adjusted for 2015 dollars. To calculate monthly mortgage payments, it used the median-priced home for sale in the 100 largest areas and based mortgage payments on a 30-year fixed rate loan at 4 percent interest plus property taxes and insurance.

    To calculate utility costs, Trulia used data from the American Community Survey on median monthly household expenditures for electricity, gas, and water in each of the areas. Commuting costs were calculated by using the median household driving commute time to work for each metro area. Trulia assumed a $7 per hour operating cost (at $3.50 per gallon, 20 miles per gallon average, and 40 miles per hour average speed) plus 25 percent of the local median hourly wage, it said.

    Click ahead for a look at the 15 places where it costs relatively little to live.