The 25 U.S. Cities With the Lowest Cost of Living

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If you’re sick of spending all of your hard-earned income on rent, it might be time to move to a mid-sized city in the Midwest or South. Cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Odessa, Texas, might not have the glamour of Los Angeles or the energy and excitement of New York City, but they have something America’s more famous coastal cities lack: reasonably priced housing. Niche, a data analysis company, has created a list of the cities with the lowest cost of living across the United States, Business Insider reports.

Niche used a series of weighted criteria, including home values, incomes, and property taxes, to come up with their cost of living list (their methodology can be viewed here). They used data from the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify the 25 cities that were the cheapest to live in relative to income. While they identified cities across the Southern and Midwestern United States, Illinois was the state that appeared most frequently on the list, taking four out of the 25 spots. The top two cities, meanwhile, were Fort Wayne and Evansville, both in Indiana. Check out the full list below.

1. Fort Wayne, IN
2. Evansville, IN
3. Odessa, TX
4. Huntsville, AL
5. Wichita, KS
6. South Bend, IN
7. Montgomery, AL
8. Rochester, MN
9. Topeka, KS
10. Cedar Rapids, IA
11. Abilene, TX
12. Wichita Falls, TX
13. Louisville, KY
14. Oklahoma City, OK
15. Davenport, IA
16. Sioux Falls, SD
17. Shreveport, LA
18. Springfield, MO
19. Springfield, IL
20. Tulsa, OK
21. Toledo, OH
22. Mobile, AL
23. Amarillo, TX
24. Indianapolis, IN
25. Little Rock, AR

[h/t Business Insider]

Themed Geography Grab Bag Quiz

The U.S.-Canada Border Runs Directly Through This Library

Though the Haskell Free Library and Opera House might not be as well known as the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty, it's undoubtedly one of America's most unique tourist attractions. Completed in 1904, the building is stationed directly between Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont, with the official U.S.-Canada borderline running right across the library's floor.

Martha Stewart Haskell and her son, Colonel Horace Stewart Haskell, both Canadians, built the building as a tribute to Mrs. Haskell’s late husband, Carlos. The family hoped that citizens from both countries would use it as a “center for learning and cultural enrichment,” according to the official Haskell Free Library website.

The Haskell is divided between the two countries. While the library’s official entrance is on the U.S. side of the building, most of the books are on the Canadian side. The opera house is similarly split, with most of its seats in the U.S. and its stage in Canada. As Atlas Obscura reported, it is often said that the Haskell is the only library in the U.S. with no books, and the only opera house in the country with no stage.

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Andrew Mayer speaks to Nancy Rumery as he stands on the Canadian side of a line on the floor of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House that marks the border between the U.S. March 22, 2006 in Derby Line, Vermon
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Passports and other forms of identification aren’t required to cross from country to country in the library, though the Haskell’s website notes that the border inside the "building is real and it is enforced.” Visitors are expected to return to their side of the border after a visit; if they don’t, they risk possible detention and fines.

Even beyond the building's unique position, library director Nancy Rumery told CTV News that Haskell staffers—Canadian and American alike—consider the institution to be like any other library in the world.

"We're just trying to be the best library we can, and our community is made up of people from two different countries," she said. "We don't think of it in that big symbolic way that I think a lot of people do. These are all our neighbors and we do our very best to help them on their life-long learning journey."

This article originally ran in 2016.

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