The most affordable small town in every state

Clear Lake, South DakotaClear Lake, SDClear Lake, South Dakota, is proud of its strong, traditional values.

Cost of living makes a big difference when choosing where to move — and not all places were created equal.

We found the most affordable small town in every state.

To do this we looked at towns with populations between 1,000 and 10,000 whose households spend no more than 30% of their annual income on housing costs. We looked at the average cost of three types of housing — owned houses with a mortgage, owned houses without a mortgage, and rentals — and took a weighted average of these by the proportion of each type of home in the town.

Click here to read more about our methodology.

ALABAMA: Fayetteville

93% of homes are affordable.

An hour south of Birmingham, Fayetteville is actually named after a town in Tennessee from which early residents migrated. Employing over 33% of residents, retail is the most popular industry here, followed by manufacturing, which employs 15% of residents.


91.5% of homes are affordable.

Only 11 miles from the Denali National Park and Preserve, Healy offers several lodging and dining options for park visitors, creating a strong tourism industry in the town. However, more than tourism, coal mining in nearby Usibelli Coal Mine makes up most of Healy's livelihood.


86.2% of homes are affordable.

Though best known for its contributions to the oil industry, Rangely began as a ranching town. These days it is a great spot for outdoor sports; it's home to several parks and is only a five-mile drive from Kenny Reservoir, where visitors can swim, fish, and go boating.


82.2% of homes are affordable.

The small village of Weatogue, located less than 10 miles from West Hartford, boasts not only a median household income above the state average, but also an unemployment rate considerably below the state average. The residents here are educated, too -- over 66% hold at least a bachelor's degree.


82.9% of homes are affordable.

Yalaha, located about an hour and a half north of Tampa, is far from the ocean but still close to water on the shore of Lake Harris. The town -- whose name means 'yellow orange' in an old Native American language -- is home to Yalaha Bakery, known for serving up some of the best German pastries in Florida.


84.9% of homes are affordable.

Originally founded as seat for newly minted Calhoun County, this town is still home to all of Calhoun's business offices, including the courthouse, sheriff's department, and board of education. Every November Morgan hosts Calhoun County's annual harvest festival, which attracts visitors and merchants from all over Georgia.


93% of homes are affordable.

Two towns, Harlan and Maysville, eventually morphed into one. Harlan residents now celebrate the annual 'Harlan Days' community festival, which features a rodeo and car show as well as a raffle with big prizes like laptops and new cars.

IOWA: New Sharon

92.7% of homes are affordable.

Describing itself as 'way out in the middle of everywhere,' this town in Iowa's Mahaska County sits within 20 miles of Grinnell, Pella, and Oskaloosa. Despite its small size, New Sharon is home to several local businesses and churches.

KANSAS: Colwich

87.5% of homes are affordable.

Since its inception in 1886, Colwich has shown continual population and economic growth. However, the city still prides itself on its small-town feel, and it aims to make every resident feel like family through events like the annual Colwich Heritage Festival.


97.8% of homes are affordable.

With nearly 100% of housing considered affordable, Lawtell is a great place to buy a home without breaking the bank. The most popular occupations here are manufacturing, agriculture, and retail trade, and the average median household income is $US50,362.

MAINE: North Berwick

89.9% of homes are affordable.

Settled by Quakers in the 1690s, North Berwick began as a mill town. It eventually became a railroad hub, shipping wool, lumber, and farming tools, among other things, along the east coast. The history of North Berwick lives on through the town's historical society, which works to preserve buildings and artifacts from the area.


79.4% of homes are affordable.

This New England town offers visitors a taste of the area's beautiful scenery through its tree-lined streets and historical Victorian homes. Brookfield is a great place for locals as well, with a cultural committee that sponsors numerous events, including summer concerts, a Memorial Day parade, a pumpkin festival, and a holiday tree-lighting ceremony.


89.8% of homes are affordable.

Gwinn locals enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities, from canoeing and swimming in one of the town's many lakes during the summer to skiing and snowboarding throughout the winter. For lower-key days, there is also blueberry picking, shopping, and plenty of restaurants to try.


89% of homes are affordable.

As part of the greater Pascagoula area, Helena sits relatively close to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, and it has many hotels and restaurants. Historically, Helena played an important role in music as the birthplace of 'King Biscuit Time,' the longest-running daily radio show in history.

MISSOURI: Stanberry

84.8% of homes are affordable.

This town of just over 1,000 people in northern Missouri sits along the Wabash Railroad, which is today commemorated by The Wabash Junction, a local Stanberry restaurant. Once an important railroad stop, Stanberry is a vital piece of the state's history.

NEBRASKA: Scribner

89.3% of homes are affordable.

This town in Dodge County with barely 1,000 residents was named for Charles Scribner, the publishing magnate. His great-great-grandson Charles Scribner V lives in New York but is a fan of the town's Facebook page. A religious town, Scribner is proud of its community involvement in the local senior living facilities.

NEW JERSEY: Collings Lakes

78.7% of homes are affordable.

This private lake community in southern New Jersey started as a series of cranberry bogs, which have been converted into the lakes that now surround the town and appear in the town's name. Collings Lakes sits between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, making both small-town and city life easily accessible.

NEW MEXICO: Waterflow

A Navajo rug shop in Waterflow, New Mexico

98.1% of homes are affordable.

Waterflow is a historically Navajo town; today more than 42% of residents identify as American Indian. Sitting between two major power plants, Waterflow is a great place for those working in the energy industry to live.


89.7% of homes are affordable.

About 30 minutes from the Canadian border, Peru sits on the New York side of Lake Champlain. Peru is rich in military history, especially around the time of the French and Indian War. Today the chaos of war has been replaced in the small town with pleasant, tourist-drawing apple orchards and dairy farms.


87.7% of homes are affordable.

Icard (pronounced IKE-erd), a western North Carolina town, is home to about 3,000 residents. Just to the west is Pisgah National Forest, which Appalachian Trail hikers frequently pass through on their way north.


92% of homes are affordable.

Thompson is known as 'A Jewel on the Prairie.' Founded in 1881, Thompson is known among residents for the S&T Quick Stop, the local gas station and convenience store, and also the location of the annual Thompson Trot 5K, which is held during the weekend-long town celebration Thompson Days and ends with a movie in the park.

OHIO: Kalida

93.2% of homes are affordable.

Kalida is a Native American word meaning 'beautiful,' and it suits the town perfectly. The town is home to a lush, green community park and great food festivals, and it is a big proponent of recycling. Kalida is also home to Pioneer Days, the oldest festival in Ohio.


90.4% of homes are affordable.

Byng is about an hour and a half southeast of Oklahoma City. Unemployment in the town is low, with many residents leaning on the small-business sector as a supplier of jobs. The commercial banking industry is the biggest employer in the area.

OREGON: Pilot Rock

79.1% of homes are affordable.

Known among locals as 'The Rock,' Pilot Rock is named for a large and distinct basalt rock formation bordering the town. The most prosperous industries in The Rock are timber and agriculture. Dirt-bike racing is a popular pastime in the flat and grassy plains of Pilot Rock.


87.3% of homes are affordable.

Located just outside of Erie, Pennsylvania's fourth-largest city, Wesleyville gives residents access to some city life. Wesleyville says the best thing about its borough is its infrastructure: Streets are cleared of snow quickly during storms, they're always clean, and the town maintains its own sanitary sewer system.


82.3% of homes are affordable.

A mill town composed of 115 acres Carolina is home to the historic textile mill The Carolina Mills Company. The company was owned by Rowland Hazard, and Carolina the town and the mills company are both named for his wife. Film director Carla Ricci even made a film about the town.


93.2% of homes are affordable.

With a population of about 1,600, Joanna is Laurens County's largest unincorporated town. As in Carolina, Rhode Island, Joanna was named (along with the company) for the wife of the owner of a prominent company, Joanna Manufacturing Company. The town overlaps with Sumter National Forest.


88.6% of homes are affordable.

Clear Lake is a rural town with friendly people and 'strong traditional values.' The town has a poverty rate of 0%, and it is home to two community parks and a pool, an athletic complex, and six churches. Clear Lake is also the seat of the Deuel County Courthouse.

TENNESSEE: Harrogate

83.9% of homes are affordable.

Harrogate has a population of about 4,300 people. A relatively young place, Harrogate was declared a city in 1993, though the area has been known as Harrogate since the 1800s. The town is committed to growing its small-business community. Harrogate's Lincoln Memorial University gives the area the feel of a college town.

TEXAS: Iraan

94.9% of homes are affordable.

Iraan is 'remote but remarkable,' and it sees a surprising amount of tourism for such a small town. Visitors make stops at the Alley Oop Park Museum, full of 'Indian artifacts, fossils, (and) historical artifacts.' Alley Oop Park is named after an old comic strip featuring a time-travelling caveman, Alley Oop, and his pet Dinny the dinosaur.

UTAH: Oljato-Monument Valley

90.5% of homes are affordable.

Oljato-Monument Valley is full of Native American history, and Navajo spirit tours are given throughout the area. The region is full of film history as well, as Monument Valley has been the site of more wild-west films than any other area in the country. Even parts of a recent 'Doctor Who' episode were shot in the area.

VERMONT: Castleton

79.9% of homes are affordable.

Castleton encompasses the quaint beauty of the quintessential small New England town. One of Vermont's state colleges, Castleton College, is the center of activity and culture in the town, hosting a variety of musical events, films, and conferences each year.


94.2% of homes are affordable.

Ferrum is also home to its own college: Ferrum College. It was named one of US News' best regional colleges in the south this year, and it encourages students to engage with the town as much as they do on campus, especially in outdoor activities. Ferrum is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so hiking and rock climbing is a short ride away.


82.9% of homes are affordable.

Located in rural Walla Walla County, Burbank is home to the county's largest library branch. Burbank Library has more than books available -- residents take advantage of children's storytime, after-school programming and homework help, and a community book club.


86.6% of homes are affordable.

Sherwood has something for everyone. Posted on the edge of Lake Winnebago, Sherwood has ease of access to great fishing, boating, biking, and horseback riding. The median household income in the town is $US104,886 -- exceptionally high for the price of homes in the area.


92.2% of homes are affordable.

Wright's cost of living is very low, as the median household income in Wright is $US80,482 compared with the state average of $US54,901. The coal-mining industry is prosperous in the area and employs the majority of Wright workers.

Now see where the other half lives.

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