Top 10 most affordable cities in the U.S.

  • (MoneyWatch) The verdict is in: Manhattan is the most expensive metropolitan area in the U.S., according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. The cost of living in the New York borough is more than twice the national average, and home prices -- rentals included -- are through the roof.

    But what about the other end of the spectrum? The least expensive metro in the U.S. boasts a cost of living that's more than 20 percent below the national average, and a high quality of life to boot.

    The findings are drawn from the Council's quarterly cost of living index, which measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services around the country. Those items include housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.

    Following are the 10 least expensive metropolitan areas in the U.S. as of the third quarter of this year, according to the Council.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.