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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]

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Researchers Pinpoint the Geographic Location of "The Middle of Nowhere"
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The place to go when you want to get away from it all, The Washington Post reports, is Glasgow, Montana. About 4.5 hours from the nearest city, it's about as close as you can get to "the middle of nowhere" in the contiguous U.S. while still being in a decently-sized town.

Glasgow's isolated status was determined in a study from Oxford University published in the journal Nature [PDF]. Scientists at the Malaria Atlas Project, a part of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, wanted to use geography and demographic data to see which towns qualify as truly being in the middle of nowhere. For the study, a town was defined as having a population of at least 1000, and a metropolitan area as having 75,000 residents or more.

After crunching the numbers on the elevation levels, transportation options, and terrain types around America, they were able to say roughly how long it would take for someone to traverse any given square kilometer of land in the country. If you're one of the 3363 people living in Glasgow, which is nestled in northeastern Montana, it would take you between 4 and 5 hours to drive to the nearest metro area. That entire corner of the state lays claim to the title of Middle of Nowhere, U.S.A. Scobey, Montana, less than 100 miles from Glasgow, is the second most isolated small town in the country, and Wolf Point, less than 50 miles away, takes third place.

Go beyond the continental U.S. and you'll find plenty of places that aren't even accessible by car. Here are more isolated towns you have to travel to the middle of nowhere to reach.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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Laser-Cut Wood Maps Showcase World Cities
CityWood, Kickstarter
CityWood, Kickstarter

You can already express your love for your local geography with a chocolate map or a custom-designed poster. The latest material for immortalizing your home city is laser-cut wood. As Curbed reports, CityWood is a line of striking, minimalist maps currently raising funds on Kickstarter. (The campaign has blown past its original $3000 goal by raising more than $73,000 so far—and counting.)

CityWood offers maps of nearly 100 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. The waterways and city streets of each location are engraved into high-quality plywood using a laser cutter. The map is then put together by hand, and packaged inside a wood frame behind plexiglass.

Customers have their choice of sizes, from a small 5-inch-by-7-inch map for their desk to a 36-inch-by-36-inch display for their wall. Prices range from $29 to $439.

To preorder a CityWood map of your own, you can pledge to the product’s Kickstarter before the campaign ends on February 16. CityWood is also accepting votes on new cities to add to its lineup.

Wooden maps of various sizes.
CityWood, Kickstarter

Wooden map of city.
CityWood, Kickstarter

Wooden map on wall with chair.
CityWood, Kickstarter

[h/t Curbed]

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