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15 Cheapest, Safest Places To Live in the US

When it comes to places to live, “affordable” and “safe” don’t always go together. We’ve compiled a list of cities and towns in the United States that offer the best combination of both.

Learn: 7 Safest and Cheapest Cities To Live in Florida
Also: 3 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000

This GOBankingRates study combines information from multiple databases for crime rates and costs of living. Most of the cities and towns in our top 15 have a few traits in common. Think suburbs, mostly Midwest with some East, Mountain West and South, with populations in the 20,000 to 40,000 range. For the most part, avoid the East or West coasts.

Illinois lands three spots in the top 15. Mississippi and Ohio each have two. You may not have heard of these towns; but, based on our numbers, you won’t find better combinations of low crime rates and affordable living.

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South Kingstown, Rhode Island

  • Population: 31,851

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.7

  • Annual expenditures: $22,254

Often referred to as “SK,” South Kingstown is the only coastal town in our top 15. South Kingstown is the county seat of Washington County and is celebrating its 300th birthday this year. It contains the village of Kingston, home to the University of Rhode Island.

A year’s worth of groceries in South Kingstown will cost you $5,664 on average — about $472 a month.

Arlington, Massachusetts

  • Population: 45,617

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.4

  • Annual expenditures: $23,556

The original village of Arlington was settled nearly 400 years ago. In addition to a low crime rate and affordable cost of living, Arlington offers easy access to Boston — just six miles to the southeast.

Arlington’s housing costs are the highest in our top 15 at $69,388. Utilities will cost you about $5,000 a year, groceries about $6,000.

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Edwardsville, Illinois

  • Population: 25,218

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.5

  • Annual expenditures: $20,965

A suburb of St. Louis, Edwardsville is the county seat of Madison County, Illinois. It’s located in the southern part of the state along historic Route 66.

Edwardsville has the highest total crime rate per 1,000 residents in our top 15 with a still relatively low 5.5. You’ll pay only about $431 a month for groceries.

Mundelein, Illinois

  • Population: 31,560

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.3

  • Annual expenditures: $20,907

This Chicago suburb is about 35 miles northwest of the Windy City. Attractions include Diamond Lake, the Mundelein Heritage Museum and the Millennium Trail and Greenway Preserve.

Mundelein has one of the lowest housing costs in our top 15, coming in at $21,063.

White Lake, Michigan

  • Population: 30,990

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.2

  • Annual expenditures: $22,185

A suburb of Detroit, White Lake Township is home to the Alpine Valley Ski Resort and Highland Recreation Area. Its attractions include the Historic Playhouse at White Lake and the White River Light Station and Museum.

According to our survey, a year’s worth of groceries in White Lake costs $5,191 a year — about $432 a month.

Mason, Ohio

  • Population: 35,089

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.1

  • Annual expenditures: $21,046

Mason is located in Southwestern Ohio, about 20 miles north of Cincinnati. It is home to the Western & Southern Open, a professional tennis tournament dating back to 1899. Mason also boasts Kings Island amusement park.

Mason’s housing cost of about $27,000 puts it in the middle of the pack in our top 15.

Brandon, Mississippi

  • Population: 25,373

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.3

  • Annual expenditures: $20,767

Located about 15 miles east of Jackson (Mississippi’s state capital), fast-growing Brandon is the county seat of Rankin County. It offers the Downtown Brandon Historic District and the recently opened Brandon Amphitheater.

In addition to its low crime rate, Brandon has the lowest housing cost in our top 15 at $17,172.

Lake in the Hills, Illinois

  • Population: 28,945

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.1

  • Annual expenditures: $23,339

Another Chicago suburb, Lake in the Hills swelled from about 6,000 residents to 23,000 during the 1990s. Its total crime rate per 1,000 residents — just 3.1 — is the lowest in our top 15.

Lake in the Hills also boasts the second-lowest annual cost for groceries in our list, just $5,091.

Muskego, Wisconsin

  • Population: 25,242

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.8

  • Annual expenditures: $22,228

Muskego has regularly turned up on lists of Wisconsin’s safest and most affordable cities. In 2018, PennyGeeks.com picked the Milwaukee suburb as the third-best place to buy a home in the whole country.

Muskego’s housing cost ($30,361) is on the higher end among the cities in our top 15. You’ll pay about $442 a month for groceries.

Independence, Kentucky

  • Population: 28,920

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.9

  • Annual expenditures: $21,871

You’ll find Independence in northern Kentucky’s Kenton County, about 15 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio, and 70 miles north of Frankfort, the state capital.

Independence has the second-lowest housing cost in our top 15 ($18,212).

Madison, Mississippi

  • Population: 27,719

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.5

  • Annual expenditures: $20,698

Madison is a suburb of Jackson — Mississippi’s state capital. Home to the 10-acre Simmons Arboretum and Strawberry Patch Park, Madison has seen a 12x increase in population since 1980. It ranked seventh in Scholaroo’s 2023 rankings of the best places to live in the U.S.

Madison has the second-lowest annual cost for utilities in our top 15, coming in at $3,940.

Windsor, Colorado

  • Population: 35,788

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.5

  • Annual expenditures: $20,347

Windsor is located in northern Colorado, about 25 minutes by car from both Fort Collins and Loveland, and about 90 minutes north of Denver. It is home to more than two dozen parks, the Art & Heritage Center and popular Windsor Lake.

Windsor has bounced back after sustaining heavy damage during a 2008 tornado. Its housing costs are second highest on our list, at $39,253, but costs for utilities, healthcare and transportation are among the lowest.

Zionsville, Indiana

  • Population: 31,702

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.6

  • Annual expenditures: $21,282

Towns don’t come much safer than Zionsville, an Indianapolis suburb known as the “Dahlia City.” Its total crime rate per 1,000 residents of 3.6 trails only Lake in the Hills, Illinois, in our study.

Zionsville is home to more than 500 acres of parks and an old-timey downtown area with a brick-paved main drag.

Avon Lake, Ohio

  • Population: 25,588

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.3

  • Annual expenditures: $19,671

Located on the south shore of Lake Erie, this Cleveland suburb is one of just two cities in our list with annual expenditures under $20,000. It features numerous parks, bike trails and a boat launch.

Avon Lake’s costs for healthcare, housing, utilities and transportation are among the lowest among the 15 cities in our study.

Rexburg, Idaho

  • Population: 35,300

  • Total crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.9

  • Annual expenditures: $19,267

Rexburg, located about 30 miles northeast of Idaho Falls and 80 miles northeast of Pocatello, brands itself as “America’s Family Community.” Populated mostly by members of the Mormon Church, it’s home to Brigham Young University-Idaho. The city’s attractions include the Legacy Flight Museum, St. Anthony Sand Dunes and Teton Lakes Winter Park.

In addition to its low crime rate, Rexburg offers our study’s least expensive annual costs for groceries ($404 a month), utilities ($323 a month) and transportation ($292 a month).

Methodology: For this study, GOBankingRates gathered a list of safe cities in the US from Neighborhood Scout-Top 100 Safest Cities in America 2023 and US News-Safest Cities in America. For each city on the list, multiple factors are found, including 1) crime rate per 1,000 residents, sourced from NeighborhoodScout, 2) grocery cost of living sourced from Sperling’s Best Places, 3) health cost of living sourced from Sperling’s Best Places, 4) utilities cost of living sourced from Sperling’s Best Places, 5) transportation cost of living sourced from Sperling’s best places, and 6) miscellaneous cost of living sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. Cost of living indexes are multiplied by the average annual expenditure for each category, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, with costs combined to find a total, average annual expenditure cost. GOBankingRates then scored the expenditure cost and the crime rate, combining them to compare the two factors together.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 15 Cheapest, Safest Places To Live in the US

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