Budget-Friendly States to Rent in the US: A Comprehensive Guide

Finding affordable rental housing is a key concern for many individuals and families across the United States. With the rising cost of living in many urban areas, knowing which states offer budget-friendly rental options can help you make informed decisions about where to live. This guide explores some of the best budget-friendly states to rent in the US, providing you with essential information to help you find an affordable and comfortable place to call home.


Living in an affordable state allows you to stretch your budget further, enjoy a higher quality of life, and save more for the future. While some parts of the country are notoriously expensive, many states offer a lower cost of living without sacrificing amenities and opportunities. This article highlights the most budget-friendly states to rent in the US, focusing on rental prices, overall living expenses, and the quality of life in these areas.

Understanding Rental Prices

Before diving into specific states, it’s important to understand what factors contribute to rental prices:

  1. Supply and Demand: High demand and low supply drive up rental prices.
  2. Location: Urban areas typically have higher rents than rural areas.
  3. Local Economy: Strong economies can lead to higher housing costs.
  4. Population Growth: Areas with rapid population growth often see increased rental prices.
  5. Housing Policies: Local regulations and rent control policies can impact rental prices.

Top Budget-Friendly States to Rent in the US

Based on recent data, here are some of the most budget-friendly states to rent in the US:

1. Arkansas

Arkansas consistently ranks as one of the most affordable states for renters. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $600 per month. Cities like Little Rock and Fayetteville offer affordable living with a low cost of living overall. The state’s economy is diverse, with opportunities in industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and retail.

2. West Virginia

West Virginia boasts some of the lowest rental prices in the country. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is approximately $650 per month. The state’s beautiful landscapes and low cost of living make it an attractive option for those seeking affordability. West Virginia offers a slower pace of life with ample outdoor recreational activities.

3. Mississippi

Mississippi is another state where renters can find affordable housing. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $700 per month. Cities like Jackson and Hattiesburg provide affordable living with a rich cultural heritage. The state’s economy is driven by agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries.

4. Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $700 per month. Tulsa and Oklahoma City offer a mix of urban amenities and affordable housing options, making the state an appealing choice for budget-conscious renters. The state’s economy benefits from sectors like energy, aviation, and biotechnology.

5. Kentucky

Kentucky offers affordable rental prices with an average of $725 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. Cities like Lexington and Louisville provide vibrant cultural scenes and affordable housing options. Kentucky’s economy is diverse, with strengths in manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare.

Additional Budget-Friendly States

While the above states top the list, several others also offer low rental prices:

  • Iowa
  • Ohio
  • Kansas
  • Indiana
  • Alabama

Factors Contributing to Low Rental Prices

Several factors contribute to the lower rental prices in these states:

  1. Lower Population Density: Less crowded areas generally have lower demand for housing, which helps keep rental prices down.
  2. Economic Conditions: States with lower costs of living overall tend to have more affordable housing markets.
  3. Availability of Land: States with more available land for development can maintain lower housing costs.
  4. Housing Policies: Local government policies that support affordable housing can help keep rents low.

Benefits of Living in Budget-Friendly States

Choosing to live in a budget-friendly state offers numerous benefits:

  1. Increased Disposable Income: Lower rent means more money for other expenses and savings.
  2. Less Financial Stress: Affordable housing can reduce financial pressure, leading to a better quality of life.
  3. Opportunities for Homeownership: Lower housing costs can make it easier to save for a down payment on a home.
  4. Enhanced Quality of Life: Access to amenities and services without the high cost associated with larger metropolitan areas.

Challenges of Living in Budget-Friendly States

While there are many benefits, there are also some challenges to consider:

  1. Job Market: Some affordable states may have fewer job opportunities in certain industries.
  2. Access to Amenities: Smaller cities and rural areas may have limited access to cultural, recreational, and entertainment options.
  3. Healthcare Facilities: In some areas, healthcare options may be limited compared to larger cities.

Tips for Finding Affordable Rent

Here are some tips to help you find the best rental deals in budget-friendly states:

  1. Expand Your Search Area: Look beyond major cities to smaller towns and suburbs where rents are generally lower.
  2. Use Online Resources: Websites like Zillow, Rent.com, and Craigslist can help you find affordable listings in your desired area.
  3. Consider Shared Housing: Renting a room in a shared house or apartment can significantly reduce your costs.
  4. Negotiate Rent: Don’t hesitate to negotiate with landlords, especially if you plan to stay long-term. Many landlords are willing to offer discounts for reliable tenants.
  5. Look for Move-In Specials: Some landlords offer discounts or incentives for new tenants, such as a free month of rent or reduced security deposits.

How to Assess Budget-Friendly Cities

When considering a move to a budget-friendly state, it’s essential to assess cities based on several factors beyond just rental prices:

  1. Job Market: Research the local job market to ensure there are opportunities in your field.
  2. Quality of Schools: If you have children, look into the quality of local schools.
  3. Crime Rates: Check the crime rates to ensure you’ll be moving to a safe neighborhood.
  4. Healthcare Access: Consider the availability of healthcare facilities and services.
  5. Amenities: Look for cities that offer the amenities you value, such as parks, recreational facilities, and cultural institutions.

Case Studies of Budget-Friendly Cities

To provide a deeper understanding, let’s look at some specific examples of budget-friendly cities within the states mentioned above:

Fort Smith, Arkansas

  • Average Rent: Approximately $550 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Economy: The economy is diverse, with a focus on manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.
  • Lifestyle: Fort Smith offers a blend of historical charm and modern amenities, including parks, museums, and cultural events.

Huntington, West Virginia

  • Average Rent: Around $600 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Economy: The city’s economy is driven by healthcare, education, and retail sectors.
  • Lifestyle: Huntington boasts a rich history, vibrant arts scene, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Gulfport, Mississippi

  • Average Rent: About $650 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Economy: Key industries include tourism, healthcare, and shipping.
  • Lifestyle: Gulfport offers beautiful beaches, cultural festivals, and a warm climate.

Lawton, Oklahoma

  • Average Rent: Approximately $650 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Economy: The economy is supported by military, manufacturing, and retail.
  • Lifestyle: Lawton provides a small-town feel with access to outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.

Bowling Green, Kentucky

  • Average Rent: Around $675 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
  • Economy: The economy is bolstered by manufacturing, education, and healthcare.
  • Lifestyle: Bowling Green is home to Western Kentucky University and offers a variety of cultural and recreational activities.


Finding affordable rent in the US is achievable with the right information and planning. States like Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Kentucky offer some of the most budget-friendly rental options in the country. By considering factors such as location, economic conditions, and housing availability, you can find a place that fits your budget and lifestyle needs.

Remember to thoroughly research potential areas, visit if possible, and consider all aspects of living in a new place, from job opportunities to access to amenities. Moving to a budget-friendly state can provide financial relief and enhance your overall quality of life.