INDIANAPOLIS — People across the country are feeling the sting of inflation. If you are looking for somewhere to move in order to lessen the impact, two Indiana cities are among the cheapest U.S. cities to live in.
Business and personal finance site Kiplinger used calculations of living expenses in 267 urban areas from the Council for Community and Economic Research to compile a list of the least costly 25 U.S. cities. The cities have at least 50,000 residents in their metro area.
The council’s cost of living index measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous goods and services like going to the movies. Here are the Indiana cities which are considered the cheapest to live in.
The second largest city in Indiana landed at No. 25 on Kiplinger’s list of cheapest American cities to live in. According to the cost of living calculations, the average cost of living in Fort Wayne is 13.7% below the U.S. average, headlined by low housing costs which are 36% below the U.S. average.
The typical Fort Wayne home price is more than $91,000 below the national average.
“Not only does this northeastern Indiana city host a collection of pleasant and quiet neighborhoods, but it also boasts a thriving arts scene with year-round festivals and events. The annual Three Rivers Festival is just one such family-friendly summertime favorite,” Kiplinger said.
The median household income in Fort Wayne is $57,693 with the median home value listed at $138,200.
The Fort Wayne metro area’s unemployment rate has dropped sharply from a pandemic-caused spike and is now well below the national level. Parkview Health, General Motors, and Lincoln Financial Group are among the metro area’s major employers.
Kokomo, Indiana ranked number 10 on Kiplinger’s list thanks to a cost of living more than 16% below the national average. Housing costs, including mortgages, rents and insurance, are a third lower than the U.S. average.
The typical Kokomo home price is half the national average.
The longtime manufacturing hub for the global automotive industry, Kokomo’s major employers include Crystler Indiana Transmission, General Motors, Aptiv, and Haynes International.
One disadvantage of this dependence on the auto sector, Kiplinger said, is it makes the local economy especially sensitive to downturns. The area’s unemployment peaked at 30% during the 2020 pandemic-caused recession. Unemployment has since plummeted to 6.9%.
Kiplinger said the low cost of living helps cushion the blow when Kokomo hits hard times. The area’s poverty rate is lower than both the state and national levels.
“If you’re just passing through, the Old Silk Stocking Neighborhood, the Seiberling Mansion and the Elwood Haynes Museum are just a few architectural and historical gems that are not to be missed,” Kiplinger said.