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Best Places To Live On a $50,000 Salary in Every State

John Csiszar

Although states like California and New York often make headlines with their high average incomes, the truth is that a $50,000 salary is enough for the average American to get by. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics pegs the median U.S. worker salary at $47,216, as of July 17, 2019.

To come up with the best places to live for under $50,000 in each state, GOBankingRates subtracted cost-of-living expenses from a $50,000 salary in cities across the U.S. For the purposes of this study, cities were limited to those with at least 5,000 households and a median income between $45,000 and $55,000. Information on livability and amenities was included as supplemental data. With the exception of Hawaii, every state in the U.S. has great cities where you can live for under $50,000.

49. Burlington, Vermont

  • Total annual necessities: $43,324.68
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $6,675.32

The weather is a major drawback to living in Burlington, but the city boasts A-plus amenities that make it a very livable city. Even though its annual necessities land above the state average, Burlington is affordable enough that the average resident can pocket over $500 per month after paying their expenses.

48. East Providence, Rhode Island

  • Total annual necessities: $39,701.21
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $10,298.79

East Providence is located on the outskirts of its more famous neighbor, Providence, which also acts as the state capital. East Providence has harsh weather, schools with lower proficiency scores and a relatively high cost of living, but its A-plus amenities and low crime rates make the city a good option for those earning $50,000.

47. Norwich, Connecticut

  • Total annual necessities: $37,230.97
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $12,769.03

Located about 45 minutes southeast of Hartford, Norwich stands out as a great place to live in a state where expenses are higher than the norm. In Norwich, transportation costs are nearly 20% above the national average, but other expenses aren’t high enough to eat up an entire $50,000 salary.

46. Baltimore

  • Total annual necessities: $36,774.85
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $13,225.15

Baltimore is one of the few large cities in the U.S. where you can comfortably live on an annual income of $50,000. With the exception of transportation costs, which are a whopping 44.6% above the national average, most necessities in Baltimore are actually cheaper compared to the rest of America.

45. Yuma, Arizona

  • Total annual necessities: $36,526.97
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $13,473.03

Tucked away in southwestern Arizona, near the borders of California and Mexico, Yuma offers clear, dark skies for stargazers. Even with one of the highest healthcare costs in the U.S., Yuma manages to land on this list of the most affordable cities. Very low transportation costs, along with A-plus amenities, contribute to its ranking.

44. Mesquite, Nevada

  • Total annual necessities: $35,561.26
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $14,438.74

Mesquite is located right on the border with Arizona, about an hour and 15 minutes northeast of Las Vegas. The home of a Native American reservation — including casinos — and golf courses, Mesquite offers A-minus amenities and low overall costs, such as relatively cheap healthcare.

43. Claremont, New Hampshire

  • Total annual necessities: $35,201.44
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $14,798.56

Claremont is a small city near the border of Vermont, about one hour west of Concord. Utilities are expensive in Claremont, but transportation costs are well below average. Residents earning $50,000 can pocket about $285 per week after covering all necessities.

42. Clearfield, Utah

  • Total annual necessities: $35,015.97
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $14,984.03

Clearfield is located just east of the Great Salt Lake, about a half-hour north of Salt Lake City. The city has A-plus amenities, and costs are below average in nearly every category. The median home in Clearfield costs just $157,800, according to AreaVibes.

41. Pittsfield, Massachusetts

  • Total annual necessities: $34,854.96
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $15,145.04

Located at the western edge of Massachusetts, Pittsfield is actually closer to Albany, New York, than it is to Boston. Utilities cost about 11% above the national average, but most other expenses are relatively low. The city does suffer from a low livability score, however, due in part to its F grade when it comes to crime rates.

40. Dover, Delaware

  • Total annual necessities: $34,681.20
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $15,318.80

Dover is one of three capital cities to make this list of affordable places to live on a $50,000 salary. Lying in north-central Delaware, Dover has below-average grocery and transportation costs, although healthcare, utility and miscellaneous costs are above average.

39. Grand Junction, Colorado

  • Total annual necessities: $34,598.86
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $15,401.14

Grand Junction lies just outside of the Colorado National Monument in western Colorado, about four hours west of Denver. Transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous costs run below average, which helps make a $50,000 salary sufficient to cover basic necessities in the city. Grand Junction is a mecca for outdoorsy types, offering hiking, mountain biking and skiing, among other activities.

38. Auburn, Maine

  • Total annual necessities: $34,053.25
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $15,946.75

Auburn is located in southwestern Maine, about 45 minutes north of Portland. Transportation costs in the city are about 13% below the national average, which helps a $50,000 salary stretch further.

37. Millville, New Jersey

  • Total annual necessities: $34,046.23
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $15,953.77

Millville can be found in southern New Jersey, about one hour west of Atlantic City. The city is affordable, but it has the lowest livability score in GOBankingRates’ study. Millville’s crime rate is 243% higher than that of New Jersey as a whole, the unemployment rate is 68% higher than the U.S. average, and school test scores are 58% below the national norm.

36. Tulare, California

  • Total annual necessities: $33,944.32
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $16,055.68

Tulare lies at the heart of California’s Central Valley, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the notoriously expensive Golden State, Tulare is a great option for those making the average income, as transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous costs are all cheaper compared to the rest of the nation.

35. Sheridan, Wyoming

  • Total annual necessities: $33,911.23
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $16,088.77

Sheridan is a remote outpost in northern Wyoming, just south of the Crow Reservation in Montana and about four hours east of Yellowstone National Park. Costs are a mixed bag in Sheridan, as transportation runs about 30% below the national average, but healthcare is the most expensive on the entire list, clocking in at 32.6% above the U.S. average.

34. Grand Forks, North Dakota

  • Total annual necessities: $33,717.22
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $16,282.78

About one hour and 15 minutes north of Fargo, Grand Forks is located on the extreme eastern edge of North Dakota, butting up against the Red River that forms the state’s boundary with Minnesota. Grand Forks has below-average costs in every category, particularly in transportation. The city is home to the University of North Dakota, which has won the NCAA men’s ice hockey championship eight times.

33. Pensacola, Florida

  • Total annual necessities: $33,171.16
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $16,828.84

Pensacola is home to the National Naval Aviation Museum, which also houses the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. On top of its appeal to aviation buffs, Pensacola is a good choice for those who want to live affordably in the Florida Panhandle, about three hours west of Tallahassee and almost four hours east of New Orleans.

32. Eastpointe, Michigan

  • Total annual necessities: $33,146.74
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $16,853.26

Eastpointe is a suburb of Detroit, located about 20 minutes from downtown. For the most part, costs are below average, but transportation expenses are nearly 65% above the national average — easily the highest of any city on GOBankingRates’ list. While the overall cost of living is affordable, Eastpointe does have a higher-than-average crime rate.

31. Helena, Montana

  • Total annual necessities: $33,063.09
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $16,936.91

The representative city from the Treasure State is Helena, founded as a gold rush town in 1864. Modern-day residents enjoy their own version of a gold rush — those earning $50,000 keep about $325 per week after paying all necessary expenses. Additionally, transportation costs in Helena are about 33% below the national average.

30. Bossier City, Louisiana

  • Total annual necessities: $32,836.85
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $17,163.15

Bossier City is a suburb of Shreveport, in the northwestern corner of Louisiana. From transportation to healthcare, costs are below average for every necessity, and the city carries a high livability score as well, with high marks for amenities, schools, weather and overall cost of living. However, crime is a major stain on Bossier City, with rates 100% higher than the national average.

29. North Tonawanda, New York

  • Total annual necessities: $32,666.46
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $17,333.54

North Tonawanda occupies a unique location on the western edge of New York, 30 minutes north of Buffalo and 20 minutes east of Niagara Falls State Park. Although the winter weather can be brutal, North Tonawanda scores high in livability, highlighted by a crime rate that’s 35% below the U.S. average.

28. Pendleton, Oregon

  • Total annual necessities: $32,436.83
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $17,563.17

Pendleton is located near the northern border of Oregon, about three hours and 15 minutes east of Portland. Groceries in Pendleton cost residents about 8% more than the national average, but other expenses are low. Every September, the town hosts what’s billed as America’s best rodeo.

27. Clarksville, Tennessee

  • Total annual necessities: $32,177.84
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $17,822.16

Clarksville is located about one hour northwest of Nashville, near Tennessee’s border with Kentucky. Healthcare expenses, which run 8% higher than the national average, are the only thing that trips up the city when it comes to the low cost of necessities. Clarksville was founded at the juncture of the Cumberland River and the Red River in 1784.

26. Kenai, Alaska

  • Total annual necessities: $31,723.76
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $18,276.24

Alaska is an expensive state, but you can still live comfortably in Kenai on an annual income of $50,000. Although all expenses aside from transportation are above average, they’re not high enough to break the bank. The downside of living in Kenai is that it only earns a C-plus for amenities. Weather, housing and crime hold back this beautiful coastal city that’s a three-hour drive south of Anchorage.

25. Salem, Virginia

  • Total annual necessities: $31,476.12
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $18,523.88

Salem is about 20 minutes west of downtown Roanoke. It’s blessed with A-plus amenities and one of the highest livability scores in the study, thanks to strong school scores and low crime rates. Salem residents earning $50,000 can pocket about 37% of their income after paying all necessary expenses.

24. Tupelo, Mississippi

  • Total annual necessities: $31,405.81
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $18,594.19

Tupelo is located in the northwestern corner of Mississippi, about one hour and 45 minutes southeast of Memphis, Tennessee. This location is fitting, as Tupelo is also the birthplace of Elvis Presley. Transportation costs in the city are nearly 30% below the national average, which means modern-day residents earning $50,000 will have plenty of money left over to store in their bank accounts.

23. Sanford, North Carolina

  • Total annual necessities: $31,320.16
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $18,679.84

Sanford has always been known as an industrial and railway center, and it’s now one of the largest American producers of brick and pottery. Located in the rolling hills of the central Piedmont area, Sanford lies close to an hour southwest of Raleigh. Costs in the city are generally low, except for healthcare, which lands nearly 9% above the U.S. average.

22. Watertown, South Dakota

  • Total annual necessities: $31,273.60
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $18,726.40

Watertown is in northeastern South Dakota, about one hour and 30 minutes north of Sioux Falls. The city has by far the lowest transportation costs in this study, coming in more than 37% below the national average. Groceries cost about 7% above the national average, however. Watertown has a high livability score, along with A-plus amenities.

21. Aiken, South Carolina

  • Total annual necessities: $31,252.14
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $18,747.86

Aiken lies about 35 minutes northeast of Augusta, Georgia, home of the Masters Tournament. The city has higher-than-average utility and healthcare costs, but other expenses remain low. A relatively high median income helps residents cover the cost of basic necessities.

20. Hastings, Nebraska

  • Total annual necessities: $30,800.09
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $19,199.91

If you’re a fan of Kool-Aid, you might enjoy living in affordable Hastings, where Kool-Aid was born. The city, which lies about one hour and 45 minutes west of Lincoln, holds a Kool-Aid Days Festival every summer in honor of the drink’s heritage. Hastings also boasts the highest livability score in this study, thanks in part to school scores that are 65% higher than the U.S. average and home prices that fall 44% below the national norm.

19. Dunmore, Pennsylvania

  • Total annual necessities: $30,695.53
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $19,304.47

Dunmore is a suburb of Scranton, lying just 10 minutes outside of downtown. Healthcare costs run about 9% higher than the national average; otherwise, costs are low enough in Dunmore to make $50,000 last. The city has a fairly high livability score, due in part to a crime rate that’s 26% below the U.S. average.

18. Warner Robins, Georgia

  • Total annual necessities: $30,539.24
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $19,460.76

Warner Robins is a midsize city in central Georgia, about 30 minutes south of Macon. Healthcare and utility expenses run a bit above the national average, but most other costs are low, making it easy for a $50,000 salary to cover basic necessities in Warner Robins.

17. Mountain Home, Idaho

  • Total annual necessities: $30,130.35
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $19,869.65

Mountain Home is a small community in southwestern Idaho, about 45 minutes southeast of Boise. The low cost of necessities allows residents to enjoy life on a $50,000 annual income. For example, transportation costs in Mountain Home run nearly 30% below the national average.

16. Moses Lake, Washington

  • Total annual necessities: $29,778.33
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $20,221.67

A $50,000 salary goes far in Moses Lake, with residents pocketing about 40% of their paychecks after paying for all basic necessities. Located on its namesake lake, the city can be found at the center of Washington, roughly two-thirds of the way to Spokane from Seattle.

15. Killeen, Texas

  • Total annual necessities: $29,758.22
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $20,241.78

Killeen is adjacent to Fort Hood and located about halfway between San Antonio and Dallas. Overall costs are low and livability is high, with school test scores soaring about 40% above the U.S. average and median home values landing about 36% below the national average.

14. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Total annual necessities: $29,755.59
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $20,244.41

Located in northern Indiana, Fort Wayne is nearly equidistant from Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis. Costs are low in the city, with healthcare coming in about 20% below the national average. Additionally, Fort Wayne has A-plus amenities and a high livability score.

13. Enid, Oklahoma

  • Total annual necessities: $29,486.79
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $20,513.21

Enid is home to the Vance Air Force Base and lies about an hour and 30 minutes north of Oklahoma City. The city has a low overall cost of living, with transportation costs running more than 26% below average. Additionally, Enid has a very high livability score, with school test scores coming back 35% above the U.S. average.

12. Oxford, Alabama

  • Total annual necessities: $29,238.99
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $20,761.01

Oxford residents enjoy an average salary above the state median, which helps push the city to the top ranking in Alabama for this study. Residents can expect to pocket nearly $400 per week after expenses, thanks in part to the low cost of living in Oxford. The city is nestled up against the Talladega National Forest between Birmingham and Atlanta.

11. Frankfort, Kentucky

  • Total annual necessities: $28,991.90
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $21,008.10

Kentucky is a low-cost state overall, and Frankfort takes the prize when it comes to the most livable city for residents earning $50,000. Transportation costs in the city are a whopping 27% below the national average, and other necessities are cheaper than average as well. Frankfort sits on the major transportation corridor Interstate 64, between Lexington and Louisville.

10. Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

  • Total annual necessities: $28,970.65
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $21,029.35

Utilities cost about 4% above the national average in Beaver Dam, but transportation expenses are nearly 25% below average, which helps keep the overall cost of annual necessities low in the city. You’ll find Beaver Dam cozied up against its namesake lake, about one hour and 20 minutes northwest of Milwaukee.

9. Alamogordo, New Mexico

  • Total annual necessities: $28,814.44
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $21,185.56

Alamogordo is located about one hour and 30 minutes south of the Trinity Site, where the U.S. tested its first atomic bomb in 1945. These days, Alamogordo boasts A-plus amenities and a low cost of living. Transportation costs, in particular, fall nearly 27% below the national average.

8. Marion, Illinois

  • Total annual necessities: $28,441.69
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $21,558.31

Marion is a small community located in southern Illinois, dubbed “the hub of the universe” by its former mayor due to the city’s location at a major transportation crossroads connecting Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville, Tennessee. The median rent is extremely low at $782 per month, and overall necessities are inexpensive — with the exception of healthcare costs, which run 18% above the national average.

7. Boardman, Ohio

  • Total annual necessities: $28,156.20
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $21,843.80

The median household income in Boardman is relatively high, which helps residents keep more of their money after paying all expenses. The eastern Ohio city — nestled about halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh — boasts A-plus amenities, low costs for all basic necessities and a very high livability score.

6. Jacksonville, Arkansas

  • Total annual necessities: $27,945.37
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $22,054.63

Not to be confused with Jacksonville, Florida, this Arkansas city lies about 30 minutes northeast of downtown Little Rock. Although costs in Jacksonville are cheap across the board, livability is quite low, due in part to high crime rates and low test scores in schools.

5. Weirton, West Virginia

  • Total annual necessities: $27,925.49
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $22,074.51

Weirton has the lowest median household income on GOBankingRates’ list, but its residents aren’t badly off. With the exception of healthcare costs — which are just 0.8% above the national norm — expenses are far below the U.S. average across the board. Weirton is sandwiched between Ohio and Pennsylvania, at the very tip of West Virginia.

4. St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Total annual necessities: $27,531.90
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $22,468.10

St. Joseph rests on the Missouri River, about one hour north of Kansas City. Even though the overall cost of living in the city is low, some expenses are heavier than one might expect. Specifically, utilities run about 3% above the national average, while healthcare costs are more than 10% higher than the U.S. norm. Still, St. Joseph residents are able to pad their bank accounts on an annual income of $50,000.

3. Mason City, Iowa

  • Total annual necessities: $27,136.16
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $22,863.84

This city in northern Iowa lies roughly halfway between Minneapolis and Des Moines. Thanks to the low cost of necessities in Mason City, residents keep about $440 per week after covering all expenses. The average rent in Mason City is the lowest of any place covered in this study, at just $707 per month.

2. Hutchinson, Kansas

  • Total annual necessities: $27,080.57
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $22,919.43

Situated within the heart of the Great Plains, Hutchinson lies less than an hour northwest of Wichita. Transportation costs fall nearly 30% below the national average, and the median rent is also extremely affordable, at $761 per month. However, Hutchinson suffers from a crime rate that’s 65% higher than the crime rate in Kansas overall.

1. Austin, Minnesota

  • Total annual necessities: $26,171.95
  • Salary left over after annual necessities: $23,828.05

Blessed with A-plus amenities and a high livability score, Austin ranks as the top city in America where you can live on an annual income of $50,000. Low rents and one of the cheapest transportation costs in the country help keep overall expenses to a minimum in Austin. Located about one hour and 45 minutes south of Minneapolis, Austin is home to the Spam Museum, among other things.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best places to live on $50,000 salary in each state by analyzing cities along these criteria: (1) a minimum of 5,000 households, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey; (2) a median household income between $45,000 and $55,000, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey; (3) an itemized cost-of-living index for groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous expenditures, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey from Q3 2017 through Q2 2018, which were adjusted to each city’s local cost of living, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places; and (4) median rent, sourced from Zillow’s June 2019 rental index. In order to qualify as a “best” city, the total cost-of-living expenditures could not exceed $50,000, and the city with the lowest overall cost-of-living expenditures was declared the best. Supplemental data regarding (5) livability and (6) amenity scores were included, sourced from AreaVibes. The list of cities was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey and includes all cities that the Census Bureau has complete data for. All data used to conduct this study was compiled and verified on Aug. 5, 2019.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Best Places To Live On a $50,000 Salary in Every State