Updated: 6.24.16 Entertainment

10 Cheapest Small Cities for Millennials

By: Lindsey Carman

Many millennials dream about moving to a new state or town in the U.S., whether it’s the laidback south or eco-conscious northwest. As the number of graduates with student debt grows, finding a job and affordable place to live is necessary, especially for adults between the ages of 18 and 34.

We found the 10 cheapest small cities for millennials to move to in the U.S. After comparing the average cost of living, job opportunities, free outdoor activities, and cheap things to do, these towns are some of the best affordable places for settling down into a new city.

Notes on the data used: The statistics below are based on a simple numerical scale that shows how relatively expensive or affordable a city is compared to others in the U.S. The number ‘100’ represents the average cost of each expense. For example, an average utilities expense higher than 100 is considered more expensive, whereas any number below is considered more affordable.

10. Ogunquit, Maine

Don’t be fooled by the population size in this tiny town. Ogunquit has much to offer sea side-dreaming millennials. From the beautiful ocean to small town charm, this city in Maine offers residents a more laidback lifestyle compared to busier northeastern cities.

A prized town in York County for tourist seekers, Ogunquit is a great city to get started into the workforce. Millennials can find jobs at specialty shops, the port, or the town’s luxurious resorts that get pretty busy during the summer.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
892108Marginal Way, Ogunquit Beach and Mount AgamenticusMaine Street, Kayaking, and Beach Plum Farm

Rich with history and tight-knit community, Ogunquit is a picturesque sea town to settle down in. Once millennials visit, they’ll appreciate the atmosphere, variety of jobs, and cheap things to do.

9. Newport, Oregon

Known as the Dungeness Crab Capital in the world, Newport is a great affordable town for millennials who want to plant their roots in an artsy, hipster city. Besides having a wide range of jobs, millennials can explore the sights and sounds of Newport’s biking and hiking trails, fishing spots, and ocean-side activities.

Newport offers excellent opportunities for millennials who want to work on the water, in sustainability, or at local startups. A mix of innovative growth and northwestern culture, this seaside town in Oregon is an excellent destination for millennials.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
10,117107Agate Beach and Beaver Creek State Natural AreaYaquina Bay and Head Lighthouses and Newport Museums

There’s so much to discover on the west coast of the U.S., and Newport is no exception. From quiet beaches to forest trails, any nature lover will enjoy the array of free outdoor activites, as well as recreational jobs.

8. Durham, North Carolina

Durham, known as the “City of Medicine,” is a bustling town made up of college students, retirees, and everything in between. This Southern city offers millennials an affordable, fresh start of starting a career. From the downtown scene to the great outdoors, twenty-somethings will enjoy what Durham has to offer.

To expand the economy, the Durham Chamber of Commerce continously works on initiatives to encourage new startups and existing businesses to grow their numbers. Millennials have a wide range of jobs to pick from in this city..

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
288,13398Eno River State Park and Durham Central ParkDurham Bulls Athletic Park and Carolina Theatre

If millennials want to move to a thriving city that has a vibrant atmosphere, Durham is a great city to consider moving to — especially with its growing number of business opportunities.

7. Glendale, Colorado

Not all cities in Colorado are too pricey for millennials. Glendale is a cozy small city that offers twenty-somethings the chance to move to their dream state. From breathtaking nature trails to a laidback atmosphere, Glendale is a great town that’s bursting with Colorado culture.

Millennials who are interested in working for a sports facility can find a job at Infinity Park, a sports complex that hosts rugby games and other sporting events. Glendale is also a fantastic destination for those who want to work in sustainability and other environmentally friendly practices as well.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
4,51297Cherry Creek Trail and Four Mile Historic ParkCherry Creek Shopping Center and Infinity Park

This small Colorado community is a great place for millennials to land their first job and explore an affordable, fun city. From the mountains to town life, millennials should call Glendale their home.

6. Buffalo, New York

Almost every millennial dreams of moving to New York, but what about the big price tag that comes with it? Buffalo serves a great alternative to moving to the Big Apple. Millennials can enjoy the sights and sounds of Buffalo’s main strip, which is a hub of vibrant life during the day and at night.

For those who want to work in the city and escape to the great outdoors, Buffalo offers the best of both worlds. With bustling new businesses opening up and a thriving economy, millennials will find work opportunities here.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
258,95995.8Delaware Park and Buffalo & Erie County Botanical GardensBuffalo City Hall and Walden Galleria Mall

Work and play go hand in hand in Buffalo. Not only will millennials enjoy working in this growing city, but also be delighted with the amount of free and cheap things to do.

5. Yakima, Washington

Some millennials may think the West Coast is too pricey, but think again. Yakima, Washington is a beautiful and affordable city that offers millennials an amazing town to get their life started. From beautiful scenery to vineyards and breweries, Yakima is a great town to move to at a low cost.

Originally built along the Northern Pacific Railway company line, Yakima transitioned from its agricultural roots into a diverse metropolitan city in the northwest. As a growing city, millennials can get the chance to find a job and start their life as an adult.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
93,25795.8Fort Simcoe State Park and Cowiche Canyon TrailYakima Valley Museum and Bale Breaker Brewing Company

Known as the Heart of Central Washington, Yakima is a great place for millennials to plant their roots and start their careers. Between new business opportunities to enjoying free outdoor activities, this northwestern city is a quaint destination for millennials.

4. Logan, Utah

Logan, Utah is an affordable alternative when moving to this beautiful state. Situated in Cache County, Logan serves as an ideal destination for millennials seeking the mountains and outdoor lifestyle. Finding work here is a breeze, with new opportunities popping up in this growing town.

If millennials want to work in the great outdoors, Logan is a great place for that. With an ideal population of 48,913 and cool climate, new residents will enjoy Logan all year round and find unique jobs here.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
48,91395.6Little Bear River and Wild Caves HikeWillow Park Zoo, Hardware Ranch, and Canyon Entrance Park

From low-key town life to work opportunities, millennials will enjoy making Logan, Utah their home. This city offers a work-play atmosphere that others fail to mimic.

3. Port Isabel, Texas

From the breathtaking ocean views to outdoor activities, Port Isabel is a beautiful sea town for millennials looking to launch their career and adult life. Home to the only lighthouse in Texas, this sultry city puts a unique twist on Texan culture with pirate legends and excellent sports fishing spots.

Millennials who want to work by the water will enjoy moving to Port Isabel. With many fisheries and other nautical-related jobs, this tropical sea town offers mild weather throughout the year, which is ideal for walking to work and enjoying free time.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
5,00495Beulah Lee Park, El Paso Trail and Laguna MadrePort Isabel Lighthouse, the Walk of Generals, and Fort Polk

Although this city is small, Port Isabel packs a vibrant community of residents and tourists alike who enjoy being near the ocean. Millennials should call this place home if they’re looking for a low-cost place to live by the water.

2. Clearwater, Florida

Located on the west coast of Florida, Clearwater has become a premiere destination for millennials to relocate to. Residents can enjoy the beach all year round, as well as local breweries and pulsating nightlife. With the best of both worlds, Clearwater offers a surplus of career opportunities alongside a laidback beach atmosphere.

With an increase in population, Clearwater is home to startups and established businesses alike. Whether millennials want to work by the water or in a Fortune 500 company, there are many opportunities in this city.

PopulationCosts of LivingFree Outdoor ActivitiesCheap Things to Do
109,70393Clearwater Beach and Safety Harbor SiteClearwater Marine Aquarium and Bright House Field

As a melting pot of culture and diversity, Clearwater lands the number two spot on our list for affordable living. Millennials can enjoy kickstarting their careers while enjoying all that Clearwater has to offer.

1. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama, offers many possibilities for millennials. From southern charm to a fun downtown scene, residents enjoy great career opportunities, as well as sight-seeing and outdoor activities. For those who want to move a vibrant city in the South, Birmingham is an excellent option.

Millennials can enjoy unique job opportunities, as well as the one-of-a-kind culture in Birmingham. There are different types of careers here that range from corporate to startup jobs.

PopulationCosts of LivingNatureEntertainment
212,11390.8Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve and Oak Mountain State ParkBirmingham Civil Rights Institute and Legion Field

As an affordable place to live, work, and play, Birmingham is our top place for millennials to call home. From a lively atmosphere to growing population, this southern city is a fantastic place to live.

Start a New Life in One of These Cheap Cities

From the sunny south to the picturesque northeast, these 10 cheap cities are great places for millennials to plant their roots. With free activities and low costs of living, making the big move to any of these cities is quite manageable.

Photos courtesy of ogunquitresortmotel.com, greattowns.com, historicbrightleaf.com, glendale.co.us, skyscrapercity.com, yakimawa.gov, upr.org, tpwd.texas.gov, realestateradiotampa.com, and flickriver.com. 

About The Author

Highlighting the movers and shakers in the retail space, Lindsey Carman writes in-depth features that showcase the passionate team behind successful brands. You can see her cover the next marketing trend or retail disruptor in the IndustryCrunch blog.

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