Memphis Is Fourth Cheapest City To Live In

Posted by Bianca Phillips on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM


Memphis has the fourth lowest cost of living in the nation, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. It falls just behind Harlingen, Texas, Norman Oklahoma, and Pueblo, Colorado.

“Memphis’ cost of living index was the lowest among all of the top 100 metropolitan areas in the United States, including cities like Jacksonville, Louisville, and Oklahoma City — all nearly the same size as the Memphis metro,“ said Adrienne Johnson, director of research for the Greater Memphis Chamber.

The cost of consumer goods and services, such as grocery bills, housing, utilities, transportation and healthcare, are factors in determining cost of living.

Mid-South city Jonesboro, Arkansas, which is located about 60 miles north of Memphis, came in at number nine on the list of least expensive cities.

Here's the list of least expensive and most expensive cities.

Least Expensive:
1. Harlingen TX
2. Norman OK
3. Pueblo CO
4. Memphis TN
5. Youngstown-Warren OH
6. Temple TX
7. Omaha NE
8. Jonesboro AR
9. Sherman-Denison TX
10. Idaho Falls ID

Most Expensive:

1. New York (Manhattan )NY
2. Honolulu HI
3. New York (Brooklyn) NY
4. San Francisco CA
5. New York (Queens) NY
6. San Jose CA
7. Hilo HI
8. Stamford CT
9. Orange County CA
10. Washington DC

Comments (20)

Showing 1-20 of 20

This is a dubious honor because that list consists of places it sucks to live in. When was the last time you heard somebody say, "We're thinking of moving to Harlingen TX."

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Posted by Jeff on 08/19/2013 at 2:53 PM

Jeff- Bingo.
Memphis is the Dollar General of cities.

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Posted by barf on 08/19/2013 at 3:26 PM

I dunno, Idaho Falls looks nice.

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Posted by CL Mullins on 08/19/2013 at 10:08 PM

Looks like I have some kind of perspective here. I live in one of the most expensive places but was raised and dwelt (considerably) in Memphis. And aside from the costs, there are many tradeoffs necessary for either place.

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Posted by xmem on 08/19/2013 at 11:45 PM

I have plenty to say on this, and I'll elaborate as soon as I return from vacationing in Shreveport.

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Posted by Phlo on 08/20/2013 at 5:35 AM

Harlingen (not Harlington) is on the Rio Grande. My Uncle Bob raised citrus fruit there and used to send us a case of fresh grapefruit every Christmas when I was growing up.

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Posted by Jackson Baker on 08/20/2013 at 5:40 AM

The maxim "You get what you pay for" comes to mind.

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Posted by cd on 08/20/2013 at 10:04 AM

The grinding sound you hear in the distance is budget hawks on the city council trying to reconcile their rhetoric that our high property taxes are what's driving people away from Memphis (presumably into the waiting arms of Pueblo, Colorado.)

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Posted by KerryHayes on 08/20/2013 at 10:11 AM

I have told you people so, many times. Yet, the suburban crowd still wails about the hig cost of Memphis that is driving people away.

How does it feel to take one of your favorite lies away?

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 08/20/2013 at 1:21 PM

Is this Cost of Living data for Memphis proper or for the whole Metropolitan Area?

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 08/20/2013 at 1:48 PM

Based on the list of cities, it looks like it's likely Memphis proper AP.

Just my guess.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 08/20/2013 at 1:55 PM


Just reviewed the methodology used.

The report is based on Metropolian Statistical Area, not just one city within that MSA. We don't know which cities within the MSA responded to the survey and which did not, but the Memphis MSA stretches from Forrest City to Southhaven and eastward to include several counties in West Tennessee. In other words, we don't whether Memphis is less expensive than any other city in the MSA, or if it is cheaper than any other city in Shelby County, for that matter. I also did not see in the methodology where taxes are included as a cost factor.

Too bad the Flyer reporter did not research and disclose all this, but perhaps the young lady just did not know to even ask those questions before writing her article.

Always great fun to punk OTP, but even better when he punks himself.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 08/20/2013 at 2:14 PM

Thanks for looking into that.

I think it's safe to say that the Memphis area is relatively inexpensive in terms of cost of living, but you make a good point on the taxes as well AP.

It would be interesting to know if that was included in the cost of living calculations. Obviously, those can vary greatly from city to city and state to state depending on how the burden is split between income taxes, property taxes and sales taxes.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 08/20/2013 at 2:31 PM


As far as I can tell from the methodology disclosure, no taxes at all were included in the calculations. The only data presented is SELF-REPORTED by any cities that chose to respond, BTW.

It would have been great to know which cities is this MSA responded and what their individual reported data looks like. Cheap" is a relative term, not definitive. So a reasonable person might ask, when comparing cities and towns in the whole MSA, is Memphis cheaper than, say, Olive Branch or Oakland, or even Arlington? Inquiring minds, like those at the Flyer, might want to find the answer to that question.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 08/20/2013 at 2:52 PM

@ cd,
Yes but do you have to pay for it 7 days a week if you only use it for a couple of nights a week?

Posted by xmem on 08/20/2013 at 7:31 PM

Punk Otp! In other words, you people would rather lie just to punk me.

But, be that as it may, a report on the cost of living and total personal taxes paid by people living in the several cities around Memphis, mainly Southaven and Olive Branch, Memphis was cheaper. I am pretty sure that you read it, for it was posted on. As far as trying to back up your lies about Memphis, you try to say, well, what was included in the SMA. It really doesn't matter, for the cities cheaper than Memphis has practically zilch of population in their SMA.

GroveReb84, as an aside, the IRS finally came up with the documents dating all the way back to 2010 showing where the IRS scrutinized all kinds of democratic leaning tax exempt organizations including turning down several of them for tax exempt status. I guess that concludes that little GOP manufactured scandal.

Also, Woods of the unified BOE is trying to be a punk. He is appealing, hoping that he can remain in office until the appeal process is finished. That won't happen. Sounds like he is afraid of this special election.

Lastly, whoever the democratic candidate for president in 2016 will start out with 91% of the electoral votes needed, 246 to be exact. Look like the GOP is still dying. Lol

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 08/20/2013 at 11:36 PM

That was all over the place OTP.

Of course Woods is appealing. Who wouldn't? I don't have a dog in that hunt, because I think both Woods and Whalum would be reasonable in negotiation, but I would expect Woods to appeal given the circumstances.

As far as politics are concerned, the GOP is not dying. They've just had the far right getting too much of a voice. McCain had it right recently when he said there are too many junior politicians in the GOP on the far right that don't understand how to operate in Washington. I can't tell you if they'll get it solved by 2016 (still 3 years off) or whether it will take longer, but it'll happen. That's how the two party system has worked in this country, and it isn't going to change. Neither party is going to shut the other out for good.

Two things will impact how soon the shift happens: 1) The next recession. We are due in the next 2-3 years even though we've barely had a recovery, and that will impact the public's view of both parties. 2) The far right's voice being marginalized. The far right is a vocal minority within the party, but the party will pull itself back to the middle eventually, especially if they start losing more ground in 2014.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 08/21/2013 at 5:55 AM


Why certainly not.

You punked yourself.

In the words of Albert Einstein:

"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."

In your haste to accuse others of lying, you read the headline, knew what it said, but you did not understand what it meant, and yet you fired away.

A self-punking, out there for all to see, too.

Good job.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 08/21/2013 at 7:26 AM

"The cattle are dying" - Arnold Horshack

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Posted by Phlo on 08/21/2013 at 12:42 PM

What are these people smoking. Just came from LA, after living there for 24 years. A least there you have choices. Krogers has a monopoly here, the food quality is terrible and there is no,other choice. Also same food prices as LA. Utilities are also about the same, Verizon, AT&T, the same. Yes gas is cheaper, but there's no place to go. Housing better, but taxes are at 10%. Really it's a crap shoot. Memphis is very green and the people are lovely. So what's more important?

Posted by Maxine Oliver on 08/21/2013 at 3:44 PM
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