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50 US Cities With Plenty of Jobs and Cheap Housing

Alexandria Bova

With many American families struggling with high rent, credit card debt and student loans, it may be difficult to find an affordable place to lay down roots. Finding a place to live with good-paying jobs and affordable housing is certainly a delicate balance. Many U.S. cities have one or the other, with American families assuming that a city with decent wages will come with high housing costs. But luckily, there are plenty of cities that offer the best of both worlds.

To determine which U.S. cities have plenty of jobs and cheap housing, GOBankingRates analyzed factors such as median listing price, typical market rent and unemployment rate. To qualify, each city had to have values lower than the national average in each category. This study then scored the 50 qualifying cities based on the three factors above, with the lowest value as the most desirable city. GOBankingRates also looked at the labor force participation rate, median household income and livability score for each city. Livability is always scored out of a possible 100. This study is ranked from highest to lowest value, with the No. 1 city being the best.

The Lone Star State has 12 cities on this list; surprisingly, Florida is the second-highest state with only five cities on the list. So, rest assured that there is a city in nearly every state that provides a great balance to live comfortably. Find out if your city has cheap housing and job opportunities.

Last updated: Sept. 4, 2020

50. Fort Myers, Florida

  • Median list price: $259,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,570

  • Unemployment rate: 4.8%

  • Labor force participation rate: 51.2%

  • Median household income: $41,742

  • Livability score: 70

49. Mesa, Arizona

  • Median list price: $280,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,440

  • Unemployment rate: 4.5%

  • Labor force participation rate: 63.9%

  • Median household income: $58,247

  • Livability score: 77

48. Saint Petersburg, Florida

  • Median list price: $277,250

  • Monthly market rent: $1,440

  • Unemployment rate: 4.2%

  • Labor force participation rate: 65.1%

  • Median household income: $58,057

  • Livability score: 72

47. Worcester, Massachusetts

  • Median list price: $249,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,410

  • Unemployment rate: 4.4%

  • Labor force participation rate: 59.4%

  • Median household income: $46,967

  • Livability score: 60

46. New Bedford, Massachusetts

  • Median list price: $254,850

  • Monthly market rent: $1,250

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 64.0%

  • Median household income: $48,762

  • Livability score: 59

45. Aurora, Illinois

  • Median list price: $209,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,430

  • Unemployment rate: 4.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 73.2%

  • Median household income: $69,463

  • Livability score: 72

44. Richmond, Virginia

  • Median list price: $269,540

  • Monthly market rent: $1,260

  • Unemployment rate: 4.4%

  • Labor force participation rate: 64.6%

  • Median household income: $48,987

  • Livability score: 76

43. Pittsburgh

  • Median list price: $220,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,330

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 62.8%

  • Median household income: $47,417

  • Livability score: 72

42. Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Median list price: $227,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,370

  • Unemployment rate: 4.4%

  • Labor force participation rate: 70.0%

  • Median household income: $59,033

  • Livability score: 64

41. Lawrence, Kansas

  • Median list price: $239,450

  • Monthly market rent: $1,070

  • Unemployment rate: 4.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 71.6%

  • Median household income: $50,985

  • Livability score: 69

40. Manchester, New Hampshire

  • Median list price: $245,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,450

  • Unemployment rate: 3.9%

  • Labor force participation rate: 69.4%

  • Median household income: $60,232

  • Livability score: 63

39. College Station, Texas

  • Median list price: $269,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,190

  • Unemployment rate: 4.1%

  • Labor force participation rate: 56.4%

  • Median household income: $50,397

  • Livability score: 83

 

38. Lakeland, Florida

  • Median list price: $199,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,270

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 57.8%

  • Median household income: $46,593

  • Livability score: 71

37. Omaha, Nebraska

  • Median list price: $229,998

  • Monthly market rent: $1,150

  • Unemployment rate: 4.5%

  • Labor force participation rate: 70.0%

  • Median household income: $59,266

  • Livability score: 75

36. Bowling Green, Kentucky

  • Median list price: $242,500

  • Monthly market rent: $1,000

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 69.0%

  • Median household income: $38,665

  • Livability score: 70

35. Melbourne, Florida

  • Median list price: $274,995

  • Monthly market rent: $1,400

  • Unemployment rate: 3.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 57.3%

  • Median household income: $49,142

  • Livability score: 75

34. Cape Coral, Florida

  • Median list price: $261,750

  • Monthly market rent: $1,450

  • Unemployment rate: 3.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 56.5%

  • Median household income: $60,197

  • Livability score: 85

33. Kansas City, Missouri

  • Median list price: $196,637

  • Monthly market rent: $1,120

  • Unemployment rate: 4.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 68.6%

  • Median household income: $54,372

  • Livability score: 64

32. Grand Prairie, Texas

  • Median list price: $249,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,350

  • Unemployment rate: 3.8%

  • Labor force participation rate: 69.3%

  • Median household income: $63,289

  • Livability score: 83

31. Yakima, Washington

  • Median list price: $279,925

  • Monthly market rent: $1,240

  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 57.7%

  • Median household income: $48,942

  • Livability score: 64

30. Tyler, Texas

  • Median list price: $249,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,090

  • Unemployment rate: 4.1%

  • Labor force participation rate: 62.0%

  • Median household income: $53,962

  • Livability score: 77

29. Arlington, Texas

  • Median list price: $260,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,310

  • Unemployment rate: 3.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 71.4%

  • Median household income: $63,091

  • Livability score: 80

28. Little Rock, Arkansas

  • Median list price: $219,975

  • Monthly market rent: $880

  • Unemployment rate: 4.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 66.6%

  • Median household income: $47,996

  • Livability score: 61

27. Livonia, Michigan

  • Median list price: $209,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,270

  • Unemployment rate: 4.1%

  • Labor force participation rate: 68.5%

  • Median household income: $77,892

  • Livability score: 84

26. Greenville, South Carolina

  • Median list price: $265,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,200

  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 69.1%

  • Median household income: $61,748

  • Livability score: 73

Find Out: The 50 Hardest Places To Sell a Home

25. Norman, Oklahoma

  • Median list price: $247,616

  • Monthly market rent: $1,020

  • Unemployment rate: 4.1%

  • Labor force participation rate: 65.7%

  • Median household income: $56,827

  • Livability score: 81

24. Johnson City, Tennessee

  • Median list price: $199,500

  • Monthly market rent: $940

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 58.7%

  • Median household income: $45,359

  • Livability score: 72

23. Beaumont, Texas

  • Median list price: $199,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,080

  • Unemployment rate: 4.2%

  • Labor force participation rate: 58.1%

  • Median household income: $42,249

  • Livability score: 71

22. San Angelo, Texas

  • Median list price: $189,700

  • Monthly market rent: $1,020

  • Unemployment rate: 4.3%

  • Labor force participation rate: 65.9%

  • Median household income: $51,745

  • Livability score: 82

21. North Charleston, South Carolina

  • Median list price: $215,990

  • Monthly market rent: $1,300

  • Unemployment rate: 3.5%

  • Labor force participation rate: 66.5%

  • Median household income: $46,823

  • Livability score: 65

20. Springfield, Missouri

  • Median list price: $160,000

  • Monthly market rent: $780

  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

  • Labor force participation rate: 53.7%

  • Median household income: $33,879

  • Livability score: 65

19. Abilene, Texas

  • Median list price: $199,900

  • Monthly market rent: $950

  • Unemployment rate: 3.9%

  • Labor force participation rate: 61.9%

  • Median household income: $46,383

  • Livability score: 83

18. Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Median list price: $249,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,030

  • Unemployment rate: 3.3%

  • Labor force participation rate: 72.3%

  • Median household income: $55,388

  • Livability score: 80

17. Bryan, Texas

  • Median list price: $219,900

  • Monthly market rent: $1,040

  • Unemployment rate: 3.5%

  • Labor force participation rate: 61.1%

  • Median household income: $47,452

  • Livability score: 82

16. Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

  • Median list price: $214,949

  • Monthly market rent: $940

  • Unemployment rate: 3.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 67.5%

  • Median household income: $70,476

  • Livability score: 83

15. Oklahoma City

  • Median list price: $200,000

  • Monthly market rent: $950

  • Unemployment rate: 3.8%

  • Labor force participation rate: 67.8%

  • Median household income: $53,973

  • Livability score: 76

14. Fargo, North Dakota

  • Median list price: $242,500

  • Monthly market rent: $940

  • Unemployment rate: 3.4%

  • Labor force participation rate: 74.3%

  • Median household income: $51,839

  • Livability score: 75

13. Billings, Montana

  • Median list price: $249,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,150

  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%

  • Labor force participation rate: 67.1%

  • Median household income: $57,692

  • Livability score: 63

12. McAllen, Texas

  • Median list price: $225,000

  • Monthly market rent: $920

  • Unemployment rate: 3.4%

  • Labor force participation rate: 62.3%

  • Median household income: $45,495

  • Livability score: 63

11. Independence, Missouri

  • Median list price: $129,000

  • Monthly market rent: $930

  • Unemployment rate: 4.1%

  • Labor force participation rate: 65.1%

  • Median household income: $55,323

  • Livability score: 85

10. Rochester, Minnesota

  • Median list price: $275,950

  • Monthly market rent: $1,230

  • Unemployment rate: 2.2%

  • Labor force participation rate: 69.5%

  • Median household income: $70,094

  • Livability score: 82

9. Mesquite, Texas

  • Median list price: $195,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,230

  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%

  • Labor force participation rate: 69.0%

  • Median household income: $56,936

  • Livability score: 78

8. Newport News, Virginia

  • Median list price: $194,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,140

  • Unemployment rate: 3.0%

  • Labor force participation rate: 66.7%

  • Median household income: $50,180

  • Livability score: 73

7. Amarillo, Texas

  • Median list price: $189,000

  • Monthly market rent: $820

  • Unemployment rate: 3.5%

  • Labor force participation rate: 67.4%

  • Median household income: $50,234

  • Livability score: 78

Read: 23 Things You Can Do to Recession-Proof Your Apartment

6. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • Median list price: $228,250

  • Monthly market rent: $970

  • Unemployment rate: 2.8%

  • Labor force participation rate: 74.8%

  • Median household income: $56,670

  • Livability score: 73

5. Appleton, Wisconsin

  • Median list price: $175,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,050

  • Unemployment rate: 2.9%

  • Labor force participation rate: 66.9%

  • Median household income: $60,021

  • Livability score: 77

4. Lubbock, Texas

  • Median list price: $195,000

  • Monthly market rent: $980

  • Unemployment rate: 2.8%

  • Labor force participation rate: 64.5%

  • Median household income: $48,042

  • Livability score: 78

3. Sterling Heights, Michigan

  • Median list price: $209,000

  • Monthly market rent: $1,330

  • Unemployment rate: 2.0%

  • Labor force participation rate: 64.3%

  • Median household income: $60,631

  • Livability score: 80

2. Fort Smith, Arkansas

  • Median list price: $159,200

  • Monthly market rent: $750

  • Unemployment rate: 3.4%

  • Labor force participation rate: 61.1%

  • Median household income: $45,496

  • Livability score: 62

1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

  • Median list price: $162,500

  • Monthly market rent: $910

  • Unemployment rate: 2.7%

  • Labor force participation rate: 69.4%

  • Median household income: $59,603

  • Livability score: 76

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: In order to identify cities in the U.S. that have plenty of jobs and cheap housing, GOBankingRates gathered information on the top 475 biggest housing markets in the U.S., according to Zillow. To be considered for the ranking, each city had to have data available on: 1) its median listing price (for single-family, condominium and co-operative housing), according to Zillow; 2) its typical market rent (for multifamily, single-family, condominium and co-operative housing), according to Zillow; and 3) its unemployment rate, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. To move on, cities had to have values lower than the U.S. average in all three of the above categories. GOBankingRates then scored the 50 qualifying cities on the above three criteria, with the lowest values considered most desirable. Finally, GOBankingRates ranked each city based on its cumulative score for all three criteria, with factors No. 1 and No. 2 each carrying half as much weight as factor No. 3 to capture that they are both a measure of housing affordability. All research was conducted on and up to date as of Jan. 30, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 50 US Cities With Plenty of Jobs and Cheap Housing