GOBankingRates

The 50 Best Places To Buy a Home for Under $250,000

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A family home is one of the key elements for many Americans, providing a long-term solution to their housing and a real estate investment for their portfolio. However, in many places in America, housing prices have started to rocket so high that homeownership has become the sort of dream that’s only imaginable for the rich. When the median home value in your area is $1 million or more, a 20% down payment alone comes to $200,000.

See: 8 Insider Tips to Get Rich in Real Estate

That’s why GOBankingRates has compiled a list of the best options for people who are ready to look beyond the beaten path for a place where houses are affordable and life is good. The study compiled the median home value from cities across the country, limiting itself to just those where prices are under a quarter-million dollars. It then added on factors like crime rates, unemployment and overall livability, scoring each and combining them to rank each city.

So, see if your home town is one of the places where you can expect to be able to buy a home for a price that’s not outrageous.

Last updated: March 4, 2021

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50. Brownsville, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $104,518
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median household income: $36,499
  • Unemployment rate: 11%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 31%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.03
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 27.71
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,190.96
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49. Dallas

  • 2020 average home value: $237,212
  • Livability score: 74
  • Median household income: $50,100
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.5%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.76
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.57
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,057.76
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48. Lafayette, Louisiana

  • 2020 average home value: $178,852
  • Livability score: 72
  • Median household income: $50,182
  • Unemployment rate: 9.1%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.4%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.49
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 47.97
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,511.20
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47. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • 2020 average home value: $159,143
  • Livability score: 67
  • Median household income: $44,311
  • Unemployment rate: 8.9%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.86
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 32.87
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,927.39
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46. Laredo, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $160,733
  • Livability score: 72
  • Median household income: $43,351
  • Unemployment rate: 9.1%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 29.1%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.43
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 24.48
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,374.20

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45. Greensboro, North Carolina

  • 2020 average home value: $171,514
  • Livability score: 68
  • Median household income: $46,702
  • Unemployment rate: 10.3%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.5%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.41
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.67
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,344.96

Be Aware: 17 Dumb Home-Buying Mistakes That Hurt Your Wallet

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44. Savannah, Georgia

  • 2020 average home value: $184,775
  • Livability score: 65
  • Median household income: $41,093
  • Unemployment rate: 8.4%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 22.9%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.99
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 23.98
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,298.22
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43. Lubbock, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $151,148
  • Livability score: 74
  • Median household income: $48,701
  • Unemployment rate: 6.4%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.2%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 10.07
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 47.04
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,570.81
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42. Saint Petersburg, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $241,690
  • Livability score: 68
  • Median household income: $53,816
  • Unemployment rate: 10.1%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.9%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.27
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.26
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,833.35
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41. Norfolk, Virginia

  • 2020 average home value: $209,324
  • Livability score: 69
  • Median household income: $49,146
  • Unemployment rate: 9.3%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.81
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.46
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,710.44

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40. Roanoke, Virginia

  • 2020 average home value: $173,723
  • Livability score: 74
  • Median household income: $43,028
  • Unemployment rate: 7.7%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.5%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.27
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 44.46
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,365.46
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39. Pensacola, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $161,460
  • Livability score: 70
  • Median household income: $48,686
  • Unemployment rate: 8.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.8%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.50
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 39.29
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,802.71
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38. Jacksonville, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $204,596
  • Livability score: 67
  • Median household income: $52,576
  • Unemployment rate: 8.3%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.9%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.99
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.93
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,462.75

If You’re Moving: 25 Tricks To Sell Your House for a Bigger Profit

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37. Oklahoma City

  • 2020 average home value: $145,922
  • Livability score: 77
  • Median household income: $54,034
  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.8%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.75
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 40.81
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,737.96
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36. Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • 2020 average home value: $242,768
  • Livability score: 69
  • Median household income: $55,085
  • Unemployment rate: 8.2%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.9%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.62
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 35.01
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,805.72

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35. Edinburg, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $136,705
  • Livability score: 79
  • Median household income: $46,862
  • Unemployment rate: 12.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 25.9%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.10
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.39
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,507.63
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34. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • 2020 average home value: $182,939
  • Livability score: 67
  • Median household income: $47,173
  • Unemployment rate: 8.4%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.2%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.60
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 19.42
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,097.21
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33. San Antonio

  • 2020 average home value: $190,049
  • Livability score: 77
  • Median household income: $50,980
  • Unemployment rate: 7.9%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 18.6%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.33
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 40.35
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,465.99
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32. Columbus, Georgia

  • 2020 average home value: $108,501
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median household income: $45,389
  • Unemployment rate: 6.8%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.1%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.27
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 38.51
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,901.11

Take a Look: Homes in These 25 Waterfront Cities Are a Total Steal

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31. Corpus Christi, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $161,782
  • Livability score: 74
  • Median household income: $55,709
  • Unemployment rate: 10%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.8%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.17
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 37.15
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,096.13

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30. Clarksville, Tennessee

  • 2020 average home value: $185,361
  • Livability score: 66
  • Median household income: $53,007
  • Unemployment rate: 9.2%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 6.66
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.14
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,239.52
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29. Newport News, Virginia

  • 2020 average home value: $196,277
  • Livability score: 73
  • Median household income: $51,884
  • Unemployment rate: 9.3%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.5%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.31
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.20
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,278.63
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28. Lakeland, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $183,852
  • Livability score: 81
  • Median household income: $44,313
  • Unemployment rate: 13.2%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.28
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 30.96
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,458.84
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27. Columbus, Ohio

  • 2020 average home value: $184,720
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median household income: $51,612
  • Unemployment rate: 6.8%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20.4%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.98
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 35.91
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,241.35
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26. Lawrenceville, Georgia

  • 2020 average home value: $241,478
  • Livability score: 72
  • Median household income: $47,169
  • Unemployment rate: 8.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 21.5%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.01
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 18.76
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,824.48

Building Wealth
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25. Louisville, Kentucky

  • 2020 average home value: $185,625
  • Livability score: 74
  • Median household income: $51,307
  • Unemployment rate: 6.4%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16.6%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.56
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 36.82
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,478.91

Find Out: 50 Cities With the Most Overpriced Homes

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24. Odessa, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $181,934
  • Livability score: 67
  • Median household income: $63,145
  • Unemployment rate: 12.6%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 10.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 9.16
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.35
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,276.75
Mark Taylor Cunningham / Shutterstock.com

23. Pasadena, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $165,480
  • Livability score: 78
  • Median household income: $53,331
  • Unemployment rate: 9.4%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.46
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 23.48
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,703.33
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22. Huntsville, Alabama

  • 2020 average home value: $185,623
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median household income: $53,840
  • Unemployment rate: 6.3%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 7.88
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.27
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,303.84
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21. Greenville, South Carolina

  • 2020 average home value: $210,041
  • Livability score: 74
  • Median household income: $53,571
  • Unemployment rate: 7.9%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13.9%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.54
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 43.16
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,066.88
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20. Omaha, Nebraska

  • 2020 average home value: $198,682
  • Livability score: 76
  • Median household income: $56,780
  • Unemployment rate: 5.9%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.3%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.61
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 34.84
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,798.90
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19. Tyler, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $162,795
  • Livability score: 75
  • Median household income: $49,254
  • Unemployment rate: 7.2%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 19.4%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.94
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 30.31
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,864.46
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

18. Fort Worth, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $212,221
  • Livability score: 80
  • Median household income: $59,255
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 16%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 5.01
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 28.56
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,115.28
Dorti / Shutterstock.com

17. Arlington, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $220,338
  • Livability score: 83
  • Median household income: $58,502
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.50
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.95
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,152.55

Read More: In Less Than a Decade, You Won’t Be Able To Afford a Home in These Cities

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16. Amarillo, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $138,807
  • Livability score: 81
  • Median household income: $52,543
  • Unemployment rate: 5.1%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 15.1%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 8.11
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 42.27
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,623.13
RossHelen / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. El Paso, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $141,495
  • Livability score: 77
  • Median household income: $45,656
  • Unemployment rate: 8.7%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 20%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.79
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 15.70
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,828.29
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14. Des Moines, Iowa

  • 2020 average home value: $150,577
  • Livability score: 78
  • Median household income: $52,251
  • Unemployment rate: 6.9%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.2%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.88
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.33
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,211.42
Rcolborn / Wikimedia Commons

13. Garland, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $212,002
  • Livability score: 79
  • Median household income: $58,999
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.2%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.72
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.75
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,098.55
Davel5957 / iStock.com

12. Lexington, Kentucky

  • 2020 average home value: $210,407
  • Livability score: 75
  • Median household income: $54,918
  • Unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.8%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.09
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 33.85
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,771.45
skodonnell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11. Lincoln, Nebraska

  • 2020 average home value: $202,347
  • Livability score: 80
  • Median household income: $55,224
  • Unemployment rate: 5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 14.2%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.71
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.48
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,962.01
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • 2020 average home value: $149,870
  • Livability score: 80
  • Median household income: $48,023
  • Unemployment rate: 8.2%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 17.3%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.83
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.26
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $16,598.33
Giorgia Basso / Shutterstock.com

9. Killeen, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $138,179
  • Livability score: 77
  • Median household income: $50,418
  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13.8%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 3.89
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 22.80
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,783.86
Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

8. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • 2020 average home value: $227,536
  • Livability score: 72
  • Median household income: $59,017
  • Unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 11.3%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 4.33
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 29.07
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $17,478.32
RobertMayne / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7. Irving, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $243,162
  • Livability score: 85
  • Median household income: $61,937
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13.5%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.14
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 25.02
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,760.57
Mudman Photos / Shutterstock.com

6. Conroe, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $234,334
  • Livability score: 89
  • Median household income: $57,214
  • Unemployment rate: 9.4%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 12.8%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.80
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 26.02
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,623.70
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5. Grand Prairie, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $223,551
  • Livability score: 83
  • Median household income: $65,249
  • Unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 12.1%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.55
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 20.07
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,050.25
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4. Port St. Lucie, Florida

  • 2020 average home value: $242,908
  • Livability score: 81
  • Median household income: $57,113
  • Unemployment rate: 10.2%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 10.1%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.12
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 9.48
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $19,720.41
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3. Spring, Texas

  • 2020 average home value: $223,373
  • Livability score: 83
  • Median household income: $68,980
  • Unemployment rate: 9.4%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 13%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.76
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 13.14
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,182.96
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Aurora, Illinois

  • 2020 average home value: $198,118
  • Livability score: 77
  • Median household income: $69,730
  • Unemployment rate: 12%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 12.6%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 2.70
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 11.59
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $18,456.94
Manuel Hurtado / Shutterstock.com

1. Edmond, Oklahoma

  • 2020 average home value: $247,551
  • Livability score: 92
  • Median household income: $78,692
  • Unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Percentage of people below the poverty line: 10.7%
  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 residents: 1.40
  • Property crime rate per 1,000 residents: 15.87
  • Annual cost of living (excluding housing): $20,040.87
More From GOBankingRates

    Methodology: In order to find the 50 best places to buy a home for under $250,000, GOBankingRates looked at the 100 most populous cities where home values in 2020 did not go above $250,000 and had a 2020 average below $250,000 according to Zillow’s 2020 data. Once these 100 cities were identified, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) median household income as sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey; (2) an overall livability score out of 100 sourced from AreaVibes; (3) violent crime rate per 1,000 residents and (4) property crime rate per 1,000 residents, both sourced from Neighborhood Scout; (5) Metropolitan Statistical Area unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary data for July 2020; (6) percent of population living below the poverty line sourced from the United States Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey; and (7) an annual cost-of-living expenditures estimate (groceries, healthcare, utilities and transportation), based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey and local cost-of-living indices sourced from Sperling’s Best Places. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lower score being best, and then ranked to give the final placements. All data was collected on and up to date as of Sept. 17, 2020.