Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from US Census Bureau
- Cost of living is a big part of deciding where to live.
- Using data from the Census Bureau, we found the small town in each state with the highest share of households paying affordable housing costs.
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Cost of living is a big part in deciding where to live, and housing affordability is one of the major factors driving how expensive different places are.
Using data from the Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey, we found the small town in each state with the highest share of households paying affordable housing costs.
For our universe of small towns, we took places as defined by the Census Bureau that had populations between 5,000 and 20,000 people, excluding college campuses and military bases. To determine housing affordability, we looked at the share of households in each of those towns paying less than 30% of their household income on housing costs, a fairly common cutoff for whether or not housing is within a family’s means.
The American Community Survey includes data for three types of households — homeowners with a mortgage, homeowners without a mortgage, and renters. For our affordability measurement, we took the average of the shares of each of those household types paying less than 30% on housing, weighted by the number of each type of household in each town.
Here’s the most affordable town in every state, as indicated on the above map:
Alabama: Moores Mill
88.4% of homes are affordable.
Located 15 miles south of the Tennessee border, Moores Mill is an offshoot of Huntsville, Alabama, where several aerospace companies operate, including NASA and Boeing. The area is otherwise isolated. Boeing, for example, has invested $40 million in its Huntsville operation for military weapons research.
Jeff Walters/Flickr/CC 2.0 Attribution
81.8% of homes are affordable.
Fishhook, Alaska is part of the Anchorage metro area in extreme south-central Alaska. The Fishhook Trailhead, which is nearby, is a two-mile hike up Marmot Mountain, offering stunning views of Fishhook Creek Valley.
Arizona: Tuba City
MortAuPat/Flickr/CC 2.0 Attribution
84.4% of homes are affordable.
Tuba City is located in Navajo land in the Painted Desert. It’s the largest Navajo community, with slightly more people than Shiprock, New Mexico. It’s also just 50 miles from the eastern entrance to Grand Canyon National Park.
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