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10 U.S. States With the Lowest Cost of Living

The view from the Foothills Parkway ay the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
The view from the Foothills Parkway ay the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.
Willard Clay/Getty Images

From thriving metropolitan areas to historic small towns, Tennessee is known for its young population and surprisingly rich and varied culture. Best of all, this home of legends like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley offers the second lowest overall cost of living in the U.S, allowing new grads, young families or retirees to stretch their dollars to the max [source: CNBC].

Statewide, the median housing price remains around $138,000, with a median household income of about $42,000. For some of the most affordable housing, consider cities like Knoxville or Memphis, which are located along the eastern and western edges of the state. Median housing prices in these cities hover around $140,000 while salaries remain fairly high.

Much of Tennessee's population is centered in the capital city of Nashville, as well as the surrounding metro area. If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, check out the town of Murfreesboro, located just south of Nashville.

Because of Tennessee's south-central location, residents enjoy four distinct seasons with relatively mild weather year-round. The mighty Mississippi meanders along the western portion of the state, while the Great Smoky Mountains offer unlimited outdoor activities and spectacular views along the state's eastern border. If world-class hiking and camping aren't your thing, head into Nashville or Memphis for some of the country's best live music venues. Many Tennessee towns are also remarkably well preserved, with local shops and restaurants housed in historic structures along picturesque main street areas.

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