Study: 10 Best Affordable Large U.S. Cities

The United States has many affordable and economically vibrant metropolitan areas that offer numerous job opportunities, low living costs, and a variety of lifestyle options for people from all walks of life.

To determine the best and worst major cities to live in, WalletHub compared 62 U.S. cities with populations of more than 300,000 each across five key dimensions

  • Affordability
  • Economy
  • Education & Health
  • Quality of Life
  • Safety

Based on the results, these are the 10 best affordable large cities in the US to live in:

Virginia Beach, Va.

With a population of approximately 425,000, this city is the largest in southeastern Virginia. It’s home to three military bases and is situated on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay where it also has the world’s longest pleasure beach.

Affordability Rank: 1
Economy Rank: 30
Education & Health Rank: 7
Quality of Life Rank: 42
Safety Rank:5

Oklahoma City, Okla.

Oklahoma City is the largest city in the State of Oklahoma with a metro population of more than 1.4 million. In land area, Oklahoma City is the 8th largest metropolitan in the nation. In Oklahoma City, there are more man-made lakes than anywhere else in the country, more than 200.

Affordability Rank: 2
Economy Rank: 23
Education & Health Rank: 48
Quality of Life Rank: 49
Safety Rank:51

Raleigh, N.C.

Raleigh was founded in the year 1792 as the capital city of North Carolina. The city was named after Sir Walter Raleigh who is known for attempting to establish an English colony in the 1580s. Raleigh, NC has a population of 475k people, making it the 2nd most populous city in North Carolina (behind Charlotte) and the 41st most populous city in the country.

Affordability Rank: 3
Economy Rank: 19
Education & Health Rank: 9
Quality of Life Rank: 38
Safety Rank: 47

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Located approximately an hour south of Denver, Colorado Springs is the second largest city in the state with a population of 495,511. United States Olympic Training Center and the United States Air Force Academy are located in this city.

Affordability Rank: 4
Economy Rank: 27
Education & Health Rank: 14
Quality of Life Rank: 39
Safety Rank: 25

Louisville, Ky.

Located in Kentucky’s outer Bluegrass region and is the largest city in the state and the sixteenth largest in the country, Louisville’s population is estimated to be 785,005. Louisville’s Churchill Downs was founded by the grandson of the famous explorer William Clark. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. founded the racetrack in 1874 and originally called it the Louisville Jockey Club.

Affordability Rank: 5
Economy Rank: 44
Education & Health Rank: 47
Quality of Life Rank: 43
Safety Rank: 48

Wichita, Kan.

This city is located in the south-central region of Kansas and is the largest in the state. It is ranked 49th in the nation in terms of population. Wichita has a population of 397,532. Before Marshal Wyatt Earp earned nationwide fame for his role in the O.K. Corral shootout, he worked as a Wichita city policeman.

Affordability Rank: 6
Economy Rank: 47
Education & Health Rank: 43
Quality of Life Rank: 56
Safety Rank: 54

Mesa, Ariz.

Mesa is the largest suburban city by population in the United States, the 3rd largest city in Arizona after Phoenix, and Tucson, the 35th largest city overall in the US with a population of 504,258. The history of Mesa dates back at least 2,000 years to the arrival of the Hohokam people.

Affordability Rank: 7
Economy Rank: 32
Education & Health Rank: 20
Quality of Life Rank: 60
Safety Rank: 10

Lexington-Fayette, Ky.

Lexington is a city in Kentucky and the county seat of Fayette County. With a population of 322,570, it is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 57th-largest city in the United States. Lexington is home to Transylvania University. Established in 1780, this college was the first US college established west of the Allegheny Mountains and the 16th college in the United States.

Affordability Rank: 8
Economy Rank: 42
Education & Health Rank: 21
Quality of Life Rank: 51
Safety Rank: 31

Jacksonville, Fla.

As a result of all the extra territory, it is the most populous city in Florida with 931,362 people as well as the largest by area in the United States. The southernmost battle of the Revolutionary War took place within Jacksonville’s current boundary.

Affordability Rank: 9
Economy Rank: 52
Education & Health Rank: 53
Quality of Life Rank: 40
Safety Rank: 34

Albuquerque, N.M.

Albuquerque was founded in 1706 when Spain established a military presidio as the Spanish colonial outpost of Ranchos de Albuquerque. Albuquerque, abbreviated as ABQ, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Mexico 564,559. With an elevation of 5,312 feet, Albuquerque is considered by some as the highest-elevation metropolitan city in the United States.

Affordability Rank: 10
Economy Rank: 54
Education & Health Rank: 35
Quality of Life Rank: 27
Safety Rank:62