The State with the Lowest Cost of Living (and Why to Move There)

If your goal is to live a comfortable and enjoyable life while spending the least possible money, you should choose your location accordingly.

You are lucky, if you are not bound to a particular city, state or region because of your job. You can now move to a state that has the lowest cost of living yet offers a high quality of life. The following data presented by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, shows that Mississippi has the lowest cost of living among the US states, for the third quarter of 2015.

So, I decided to explore the current profile and future prospect of the state to determine whether it is really worth moving to the state.

Historical Background

Mississippi is located in the extreme south of United States and since 1817, it has been a state. Though with the devastating effects of the Civil War, occasional natural disasters or economic recessions, the state has experienced many problems. But the state is building a strong reputation as a great place to live. The state is attracting large number of both skilled and non-skilled works and retirees.

Economic Profile

Mississippi is known for its agriculture based rural economy. The Council for Community and Economic Research  shows that Mississippi is the cheapest state to live and second cheapest state to do business.

Cost of Living Index: 83.4

Housing Index: 68.9

Grocery Index: 93.3

Utilities Index: 82.8

Health Index: 89.5

Transportation Index: 84.9

Misc: 90.5

In terms of home price, Mississippi is the cheapest state by far. Median monthly rent in the state is $875. If you would like to buy a home, you can definitely take advantage of the 10% property tax rates. The median home price in the state is only $112,000.

Now coming to taxes, it can be said the Magnolia state is perfect for retired persons. Tax rates are generally low in Mississippi, more so on retirees’ income and property. The state imposes a progressive income tax rate of 3,4 and 5% . There is no real estate tax, gift tax and intangible personal property tax. Sales tax rate for the majority of products is 7%. You can find more information on tax rates and their exemption on the website of the Department of Revenue, State of Mississippi.

According to the US Census, 2015, the current unemployment rate in the state is 6.0%. Its labor force consists of 1.4 million people. Most people in Mississippi are employed in the manufacturing sector. Nissan North America Inc. is the major corporate employer in the state. Median family income is the state is currently $36,919.

But beyond the raw numbers, here’s what else to consider before moving to Mississippi…

Job Market

Job opportunities in Mississippi are growing. The unemployment rate has fallen considerably in recent years. New jobs are created in sectors like construction and manufacturing, hospitality, trade and transportation. Mississippi’s pay scale is comparatively high, even higher than some states with higher taxes and cost of living. Not only will you find a low cost of living but also great value for your dollar.

Weather

Across the state, weather is warm and humid most of the year. Winter is the most enjoyable time in the state. Summer is quite hot. Summer days also bring the occasional tornado and hurricane. Early spring and autumn are the most pleasant times to be in the state. With this said, you could always consider becoming a snow bird. That is, someone who lives up north in the summer and down south in the winter – usually retired people. Then you could enjoy being a tax resident in Mississippi but not have to deal with the hot and fairly dangerous summer months. Just make sure you spend more days in Mississippi than elsewhere so you can still claim residency legally.

Education

Opportunity for higher education is widespread in the state. According to Mississippi Development Authority, more than 81% of the young population has high school degree or greater. Universities like Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, and University of Jackson offer higher degrees at a relatively lower price. Besides, the state offers various college savings plans and associated tax relieves to encourage parents to arrange money for their kid’s college education in advance. In every county, there are quite a number of public schools along with educational centers for those with learning disabilities. Since much of the educational system in the United States is standardized on a federal level, people needn’t worry about receiving a poor education in the south. Things have progressed a lot in the past 100 years.

Recreation

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The Mighty Mississippi! Enough said.

But if you want more, Mississippi also has Vicksburg National Military Park, U.S.S. Cairo Museum, Tupelo Automobile Museum, Rosalie Mansion, Stanton Hall, Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum, St. Mary Basilica, The Delta Blues Museum, Ship Island, Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and more.

So What Do You Think About Moving to Mississippi?

This is a state that is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a place with a decent climate and a very low cost of living. Imagine how much money you would save especially if you moved from a state like New York or California. You could be looking at retiring years  – or even decades – earlier just for packing up and enjoying a reasonably priced lifestyle in the great state of Mississippi.

Or maybe this state isn’t for you. That’s okay. There are lots of other affordable states you can consider. For instance, if you earn a lot of money, consider moving to Alaska, Wyoming, Texas, South Dakota, Florida, Washington or Nevada as these states have ZERO state income tax. Something to consider…

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One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    The south isn’t for everyone. Its very socially conservative so progressive liberals may not like it.

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