Top 10 States Where Low Income People Can Rent Houses

It can be extremely challenging for some people to come up with enough money to rent a home in certain areas. The price of real estate and the cost of living makes it virtually impossible to find anything affordable in heavily populated states and cities.

So what are some of the cheapest areas to rent in the United States? Let’s take a look at the top 10 states in the USA where low income people can rent houses without blowing all their money.


There is a lot to love about Kansas. It has a low cost of living, low unemployment rate and affordable housing availability. Anyone who makes $38,350 or less can qualify for low-income housing in the state as well.

The city of Wichita, Kansas is one of the most affordable bigger cities in the United States. Their rent prices are amongst the lowest in the country for individuals and families.


In the last few years, the state of Tennessee has seen a decent boom in population. Most of that can be contributed to the city of Nashville and its surrounding areas. Outside of Nashville, Tennessee is still a very affordable place to live.

The job market is robust, and every other major city besides Nashville has ample amount of low-income housing. In particular, Memphis and Knoxville continually rank as two of the best cities to live on a budget. Knoxville is a bit more geared towards younger, single people, as the bigger housing market isn’t quite there yet.


Scene from the viewing deck on top of the Marblehead Lighthouse Lake Erie Ohio.

There is a lot to love about Ohio. The centrally located state has a lot of variety, even within their major cities. All of them are still very affordable as well.

Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus are the three major cities, but don’t sleep on Toledo. It is perhaps the best value in the entire country right now as far as renting is concerned. A single family renting a home can still find an average place in a safe part of the city for around $800. That’ simply unheard of in a lot of other cities.


What makes Arkansas affordable is one of the lowest costs of living in the United States. It also has a low unemployment rate, which is perfect for those who might be struggling to find work.

The one negative in Arkansas is that it takes a very low income to qualify for low-income housing. A person can’t make over $30,000 to qualify. It’s not that big of an issue, since there is not a huge gap between low-income and standard rent.


Exterior view of a white timber house in a quiet suburban street in Ann Abor, Michigan.

The state of Michigan was hit hard by the recession. They are still not completely back yet, but things are turning around. That’s good news for renters, because it is an affordable place to live.

With a median rent at around $800 statewide, people can enjoy the major city of Detroit, or some of the smaller metros in the state.


A beautiful white octagon shaped home located in Decorah, Iowa.

There is very little to hate about Iowa right now as far as rent affordability is concerned. The unemployment rate, cost of living and median rent is all low. Even the price of homes is amongst the lowest in the country.

Iowa lacks any major metro areas, but it is more than just cornfields. The low-income housing opportunities are also plentiful for those who make under about $40,000.


Buffalo Bill Ranch, North Platte Nebraska

Iowa’s neighbor shares a lot of the same qualities. Right now, across the state it is just a little bit more expensive to live comfortably and rent in the area.

Nebraska has a very low median income of below $30,000. Their cost of living is creeping up slowly, but it is still an affordable place to live overall for people not making a ton of money.

South Dakota

Belle Fourche, South Dakota showing classic turn-of-the-century styling

What’s the difference between South Dakota and North Dakota? Right now, the overall cost of living and renting in the state. South Dakota is just a bit more affordable across the board.

Cost of living can be a little high due in part to being somewhat remote, but the metro areas are growing quite a bit. They have a lot of initiatives for those who qualify for low-income housing as well.

South Dakota hasn’t had much issue with unemployment in the last few years, which is always a plus. It’s a good option to consider.


Exterior of a modern suburban home in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Some might be surprised to see Georgia on this list, but it does come with a bit of a caveat. While there are some affordable parts of Atlanta, the metro area is largely not all that low income friendly.

Look in other parts of the state, and some great deals exist. Columbus and Augusta in particular have very low rent rates right now. These two cities are also doing well economically, making them a great value to live in.

West Virginia

House on Washington Street, in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Finally, it’s worth looking at the state of West Virginia for low-income rental opportunities. It has a reputation of being a very rural, mountainous state, but the bigger cities are trying to bring different industries in.

The rental prices are extremely low, and few states come close to its low cost of living. They are still working on the unemployment rate, but West Virginia treats low-income families well.

Final Thoughts:

Throughout the United States, there are a number of affordable places to live for people not making a lot of money. It’s important to look at not only the states, but the metro areas as well.

The trendy areas are obviously going to be priced too highly. Look for those states and cities on the rise instead.

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