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Affordable Rent, Lots of Jobs: There’s Plenty to Like About These 8 Cities

downtown columbus ohio skyline at dusk
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It’s 2018. New year, new me, right?

If that means trying out a new town, given how expensive rent seems to be across the U.S., we have some good news and some bad news for you.

First, the bad news. Even though there were slightly fewer renters in 2017 — for the first time in more than a decade — the cost of rent still rose more than 2%, according to an annual analysis of the rental market conducted by Abodo.

The good news: of the 85 cities Abodo analyzed, a few are affordable.

To give you a better picture of where you might consider starting your new year, we looked at the change in income and population of those 85 cities, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau, along with the local unemployment rates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We then weighed the affordability and strength of each local economy, along with the latest rental rates for one-bedroom apartments from Abodo to bring you the cities that are growing, getting richer and are actually affordable in 2018.

These 8 Affordable Cities Are Growing and Getting Richer

You want to live where the jobs are, right? All of these cities have unemployment rates below the national average of 4.1%. We’ve also tried to come as close as possible to the 30% rule when it comes to the amount you spend on rent.

And finally, we looked at the industries in each city to find which ones employ the most residents, then created our list of eight affordable cities that are on major upswings.

1. Lincoln, Nebraska

Rent: $648

Average income: $27,585

Unemployment rate: 2.1%

Population: 217,283

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; manufacturing; retail

2. Lubbock, Texas

Rent: $550

Average income: $24,535

Unemployment rate: 2.7%

Population: 192,965

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; retail; arts, recreation and entertainment

3. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Rent: $466

Average income: $24,135

Unemployment rate: 3.1%

Population: 200,592

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; manufacturing; retail

4. Wichita, Kansas

Rent: $513

Average income: $25,668

Unemployment rate: 3.7%

Population: 297,709

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; manufacturing; retail

5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Rent: $680

Average income: $27,370

Unemployment rate: 3.3%

Population: 475,826

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; retail; professional, scientific and management

6. Omaha, Nebraska

Rent: $809

Average income: $28,545

Unemployment rate: 2.5%

Population: 343,864

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; professional, scientific and management; retail

7. Columbus, Ohio

Rent: $690

Average income: $25,781

Unemployment rate: 3.5%

Population: 664,580

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; retail; professional, scientific and management

8. Lexington, Kentucky

Rent: $736

Average income: $30,502

Unemployment rate: 3.2%

Population: 252,060

Biggest industries: Education and healthcare; retail; arts, recreation and entertainment

See a city that piques your interest? Keep an eye on The Penny Hoarder Jobs page on Facebook to see if anything pops up there. And make sure to check out our tips on moving cross country if you decide to pack up and move.

Bon voyage!

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder.

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