Top 5 Cheapest States for Millennials to Live in the U.S.

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Top 5 Cheapest States for Millennials to Live in the U.S.

August 16
13:43 2021

If you were born between 1981 and 1996, you are a millennial. You are part of the largest population group in the United States, representing roughly 72 million people. Your financial resolutions for 2021 likely included getting your student loan debt paid and some kind of increased retirement savings that went off track midway through the year.  
 
We’re not trying to be disparaging. Millennials are currently between the ages of 24 and 40. They went or are going to college with student loans that are easy to get and hard to pay off. Public four-year college tuition starts at $10,000 a year and goes up from there. The first decade out of school is spent paying off the loans. That’s reality. 
 
Add that student loan debt to regular living expenses and millennials are incentivized to live in states where the cost of living is low and average salaries are above the mean. They also want to live where peers within their respective age groups are plentiful and home prices are affordable. Those are the variables we used to compile the following list. 
 
Most Affordable State: Washington

Some lists start from the bottom and show you the top state last. That’s silly. You want to know which of the 50 states in the U.S. is the “cheapest.” It’s Washington. Average monthly earnings are $6,641, the cost of living is approximately 14% above the national mean, and median home prices are right around $400,000. It’s also a really nice place to live, with a great football team. 
 
2nd Cheapest State: North Dakota  

Bismarck, North Dakota has homes that are selling for 5% below the national average and utility prices that are 15% lower than anywhere else in the United States. The average monthly earnings there are a little on the low side at just $5,134, but cost of living savings more than make up for that. Millennial home ownership in North Dakota is at 64.09%.  
 
Middle of the Top Five: Missouri

Missouri is one of the few states where the median home price seasonally drops below $200,000. That could be the reason for the 65.81% millennial home ownership rate. Average monthly earnings are just $4,418, but the cost of living is 11% below the national average. Missouri is a great state to reside if you’re a remote worker or freelancer.  
 
Not Last on this List, but Close: Illinois

This one may come as a surprise to you since the cost of living in Chicago is 23% higher than the national average. If this were a city list, that would matter, but it’s not. We’re talking about the entire state, which is 57,916 square miles. Average monthly earnings there are $5,309. The cost of living statewide is right at the national average. And they have the Cubs.   
 
Last, and the Biggest Surprise: New York

This ranking clearly shows the disparity between living in NYC and residing upstate. Manhattan is ranked by Zillow as the most expensive city in the U.S., with a cost of living that is 142% higher than the national average. Despite that, when you do the numbers statewide, New York ranks fifth for total affordability. Who would have thought that was possible?

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