Most Affordable Places to Live in Tennessee

Tennessee is located in the southeastern United States; it is bordered by Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia to the east, Arkansas, Mississippi to the west, and Kentucky to the north. Tennessee is the 36th largest state in terms of area and the 16th most populous state. Nashville is the capital of Tennessee, which happens to be the state’s largest city. Tennessee is also famous for its music and culture and its natural beauty. The Great Smoky Mountains, located in Tennessee, are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Tennessee is also home to several colleges and universities, including Vanderbilt University, the University of Tennessee, and Middle Tennessee State University. This makes Tennessee a great place to live for people looking to move there. 

If you’re looking for a low cost of living, Tennessee is a great place to consider. The Volunteer State has some of the most affordable places to live. Here are ten of the best places to live in Tennessee if you’re on a budget.

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1. Chattanooga

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a city located in the southeastern United States. The city is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and is home to various industries, including manufacturing, tourism, and education. Chattanooga is also a popular destination for outdoor recreation due to its proximity to several National Parks and forests. The city is home to a number of historical sites and attractions, including the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the Tennessee Aquarium, and Lookout Mountain. In addition, Chattanooga is home to a variety of colleges and universities, including the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Community College, and Lee University. The cost of living in Chattanooga is very affordable, making it a great place to live for people on a budget. 

  • Population – 185,442
  • Median Value Of Home – $271,782
  • Median Rent – $1,238
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 83.8
  • Employability Rate – 96.3
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 79.19 ( 13.84 Violent and 65.35 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Hixson, Mountain creek
  • Top Employers– Erlanger Health System, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Hamilton County Schools.

Things to do in Chattanooga:`

  1. Tennessee Aquarium: The Tennessee Aquarium is located on the scenic Chattanooga Riverfront. This world-class facility is home to over 12,000 animals, including fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. Visitors can explore the aquatic world through exhibits such as the River Journey, Ocean Journey, and Sensory Garden. In addition, the aquarium offers a variety of educational programs and behind-the-scenes tours.
  2. Lookout Mountain: Lookout Mountain is one of Chattanooga’s most popular attractions. The mountain offers stunning views of the city and river below and hiking trails, rock climbing, and picnicking areas. Visitors can also take a ride on the historic Incline Railway or explore the Battles for Chattanooga Museum.

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2. Johnson City

In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, between the cities of Bristol and Kingsport, lies the small town of Johnson City, Tennessee. Over the years, it has grown into a thriving community with over 65,000 people. The town is home to East Tennessee State University and a number of hospitals and research centers. Its downtown area is full of shops and restaurants, and its scenic mountain views make it a popular destination for tourists. Thanks to its location and amenities, Johnson City is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

  • Population – 67,347
  • Median Value Of Home – $235,413
  • Median Rent – $850
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 82
  • Employability Rate – 95.3
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 42.99 (4.25 Violent and 38.74 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Tree Streets, Mountain Home
  • Top Employers– Mountain States Health Alliance, East Tennessee State University, and Citi Commerce Solutions.

Things to do in Johnson City:

  1. Yee-Haw Brewing Co.: This local brewery offers a variety of handcrafted beers, including IPAs, stouts, and seasonal offerings. The taproom is open daily, and growlers and crowlers are available. 
  2. Tweetsie Trail: This eight-foot wide paved trail runs for 30 miles through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. It is perfect for hiking, biking, and bird watching. The trailhead is located in Johnson City.

3. Clarksville

Clarksville is the fifth-largest city in Tennessee behind Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga and the ninth-largest city in the southeastern United States. Clarksville is also home to Austin Peay State University, The Leaf-Chronicle, Tennessee’s oldest newspaper; Fort Campbell; and Norman Smith Airport. Clarksville’s economy has transitioned from being dependent on retail and manufacturing to being supported by a more diversified economic base that includes healthcare, military, tourism/hospitality, education/technology, construction, transportation, retail/wholesale trade, and professional services. 

  • Population – 163,456
  • Median Value Of Home – $286,421
  • Median Rent – $983
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 85.6
  • Employability Rate – 95.9
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 27.72 ( 5.92 Violent and 21.80 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Greenwood, Ashland Hills
  • Top Employers– Del-Jen, Austin Peay State University, and Premier BPO are some of the top employers in the city.

Things to do in Clarksville:

  1. Beachaven Vineyards & Winery: Nestled in the heart of Clarksville, Beachaven is a family-owned winery that offers a variety of red, white, and sparkling wines. Visitors can take a tour of the vineyards, enjoy a wine tasting, or simply relax in the beautiful setting. 
  2. Old Glory Distilling Co.: This locally-owned distillery offers tours, tastings, and cocktail classes. Visitors can learn about the distilling process and sample a variety of spirits, including bourbon, vodka, and gin. Whether you’re a wine lover or a spirit connoisseur, Clarksville has something for everyone to enjoy.

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4. Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge is a small city in Tennessee that is well known for its role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. Today, Oak Ridge is home to several research facilities and educational institutions and a thriving community of artists and musicians. If you’re thinking of moving to Oak Ridge, you can expect a friendly community with plenty to do. The cost of living is relatively low, and there are plenty of job opportunities in the city. In addition, Oak Ridge is a great place to raise a family. The schools are excellent, and there are plenty of parks and recreation facilities for children and adults alike. Whether you’re looking for a place to call home or just looking for an exciting place to live, Oak Ridge is worth considering.

  • Population – 29,498
  • Median Value Of Home – $251,178
  • Median Rent – $917
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 82.9
  • Employability Rate – 95.6
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 25.16 ( 5.35 Violent and 19.81 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Hardin Valley, Sequoyah Hills
  • Top Employer– Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, and Ornl Federal Credit Union.

Things to do in Oak Ridge:

  1. Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge: The Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge is a great place to take your kids for a day of fun. With interactive exhibits, a play area, and educational programs, the museum will keep your little ones entertained. 
  2. American Museum of Science & Energy: The American Museum of Science & Energy is the perfect place to learn about the history of Oak Ridge. With interactive exhibits and various educational programs, the museum is sure to educate and entertain visitors of all ages.

5. Murfreesboro

Murfreesboro is a city in central Tennessee with just over 161,000 people. It’s the sixth-largest city in the state and is part of the Nashville metropolitan area. The cost of living in Murfreesboro is relatively low, and the city has been ranked as one of the best places to live in the country. Murfreesboro is home to several colleges and universities and a number of large businesses and industries. The city’s climate is mild, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-30s in winter to the mid-80s in summer. Murfreesboro is a great place to live for people looking for an affordable cost of living, a diverse population, and a variety of things to do.

  • Population – 163,274
  • Median Value Of Home – $407,121
  • Median Rent – $1,399
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 100.6
  • Employability Rate – 95.7
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 29.89 ( 4.86 Violent and 25.02 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Glenncliff, Antioch
  • Top Employers– Backer Ehp, Schwan Cosmetics USA, and Middle Tennessee Electric Membership.

Things to do in Murfreesboro:

  1. Stones River National Battlefield: Visitors can explore the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, which resulted in a Union victory that helped turn the tide of the war. The battlefield is now a peaceful park where visitors can picnic, hike, and learn about the history of this important conflict. 
  2. Cannonsburgh Village: This quaint village features restored buildings from the early 1800s when Murfreesboro was first settled. Visitors can step back in time as they stroll down Main Street, browsing antique shops and art galleries. There are also several restaurants and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

See Also: Best Moving Companies in Tennessee

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6. Collierville

For those who are looking for a new place to call home, Collierville, Tennessee, is an excellent choice. The city offers a high quality of life, with plenty of amenities and activities to keep residents busy. The schools are some of the best in the state, and the crime rate is very low. Collierville is also conveniently located near Memphis, making it easy to get around. And, with a variety of housing options available, there’s sure to be something to fit every budget. Whether you’re looking for a new place to raise a family or just want to experience all that the south offers, Collierville is worth considering.

  • Population – 52,147
  • Median Value Of Home – $485,276
  • Median Rent – $1,207
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 110.4
  • Employability Rate – 96.7
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 14.18 ( 1.77 Violent and 12.41 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Eads, High point Terrace
  • Top Employer– Juice Plus, Helena Chemical, and Wright Construction.

Things to do in Collierville:

  1. WC Johnson Park: Located in the heart of Collierville, WC Johnson Park is a great place to take a stroll, have a picnic, or just enjoy the outdoors. The park features a playground, pavilions, and a walking trail.
  2. Collierville TN Historic District: The Collierville Historic District is home to a variety of historic buildings, including the Collierville United Methodist Church and the Kimbrough Spice Mill. The district is also home to a number of shops and restaurants.

7. Bartlett

When people think of moving to a big city, they often picture crowded streets, towering buildings, and a fast-paced lifestyle. However, there are many smaller cities that offer all the amenities of a big city without the stress and congestion. One such city is Bartlett, Tennessee. Located just outside of Memphis, Bartlett is home to over 55,000 residents. The cost of living in Bartlett is also relatively low, and the city has a crime rate that is below the national average. There are also several good schools in Bartlett, including Bartlett High School, which is ranked among the top 100 schools in Tennessee. In addition, Bartlett is home to a number of parks and recreation facilities, as well as a variety of businesses and restaurants. Overall, Bartlett is a great place to live and raise a family. There are many things to do and see in the city, and it offers its residents a high quality of life.

  • Population – 59,551
  • Median Value Of Home – $323,041
  • Median Rent – $968 
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 105
  • Employability Rate – 94.1
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 6.44 ( 1.86 Violent and 4.58 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Twin River, Princeton Junction
  • Top Employers– Kele, XMC, and New Arc Investments

Things to do in Bartlett

  1. Rocky Gorge: Located in the White Mountains, Rocky Gorge is one of Bartlett’s most popular hiking spots. The trailhead is located off of Route 302, and the hike to the gorge is about 1.5 miles. The trail is rocky and steep in places, but the views of the canyon are worth the effort. There are several swimming holes along the way, and the waterfall at the end of the trail is a great place to cool off on a hot day.
  2. Ripley Falls: Ripley Falls is located on Ripley Brook, just a short walk from the parking area on Route 16. The falls are about 40 feet tall, and there is a swimming hole at the base of the falls that is popular in summer. The trail to the falls is easy and well-marked, making it a great option for families with young children.

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8. Portland

Portland, Tennessee, is an excellent location for individuals moving to a city who want a family-friendly neighborhood, has a reasonable cost of living and is near nature. Situated near the Cumberland River and surrounded by hills and forests, Portland offers its residents a taste of country living while still being within driving distance of Nashville. The city also boasts a low crime rate and high-quality schools, making it a great place to raise a family. And with its moderate climate and abundance of recreational opportunities, Portland is an ideal place to call home. For all these reasons, Portland is increasingly becoming a popular destination for people looking for an affordable and livable city.

  • Population – 5,340
  • Median Value Of Home – $360,342
  • Median Rent – $1,200
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 105
  • Employability Rate – 94.1
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 6.44 ( 1.86 Violent and 4.58 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Twin River, Princeton Junction
  • Top Employers– Unipres Usa, Kirby Building Systems, and Food Warming Equipment.

Things to do in Portland:

  1. Sumner Crest Winery: The Sumner Crest Winery is a great place to learn about the history of wine-making in Tennessee. The winery offers tours of the facility and tastings of their wines. They also have a gift shop where you can purchase local art and craft items.
  2. Days Gone By Museum: The Days Gone By Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of Portland. The museum features exhibits on the city’s founding, its growth during the Industrial Revolution, and its decline in the late 20th century. The museum also has a research library where you can find information on Portland’s past.

9. Farragut

Farragut, Tennessee, is a suburb of Knoxville and is one of the best places to live in the state. The town has a population of just over 20,000 people and is home to Farragut High School, which is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in the state. The town is also close to Knoxville, so residents have easy access to all the city has to offer, including its many restaurants and bars, its vibrant arts scene, and the University of Tennessee. In addition, Farragut is home to many parks and trails, so residents can enjoy the outdoors without traveling far from home. Overall, Farragut is a great place to live for families and individuals alike.

  • Population – 5,340
  • Median Value Of Home – $360,342
  • Median Rent – $1,200
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 105
  • Employability Rate – 94.1
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 6.44 (1.86 Violent and 4.58 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Twin River, Princeton Junction
  • Top Employers– Covenant Health, Knox County Schools, and Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Things to do in Farragut:

  1. McFee Park – With its lush green space, playground, and walking trails, it is the perfect place to spend a summer day. Located on the outskirts of town, the park also has a fishing pier and boat launch, making it a popular spot for anglers.
  2. Founders Park at Campbell Station – This history-rich park is home to a replica of the original cabin built by Farragut founder Augustus Stanaland. The park also features a walking trail, picnic pavilions, and a scenic overlook of the Tennessee River. Whether you’re looking to relax or learn about the area’s history, Founders Park is worth visiting.

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10. Alcoa

If you’re moving to Alcoa, Tennessee, you should know a few things to make the transition as smooth as possible. For starters, Alcoa is a small city with just over 8,000 people. However, don’t let the size fool you – there’s plenty to do in Alcoa. The city is home to a number of parks and recreation facilities, as well as an array of shops and restaurants. Additionally, Alcoa is located just a short drive from Knoxville, which offers even more opportunities for entertainment and dining. In short, Alcoa is a great place to call home. With its mix of small-town charm and big-city amenities, Alcoa has something for everyone.

  • Population – 9,809
  • Median Value Of Home – $360,342
  • Median Rent – $1,200
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 105
  • Employability Rate – 94.1
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 6.44 (1.86 Violent and 4.58 Property)
  • Best Neighborhoods– Twin River, Princeton Junction
  • Top Employers– Neill Sandler Ford Lincoln, Downey Oil Company, and Hickory Construction Corporation.

Things to do in Alcoa:

  1. Bicentennial Greenbelt Park: The Bicentennial Greenbelt Park is a 1,000-acre park that was established in 1976 to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. The park features a variety of amenities, including a playground, picnic pavilions, and hiking trails. There is also a 1.5-mile loop trail that circles the park’s perimeter. 
  2. Cades Cove Museum: The Cades Cove Museum is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The museum features exhibits on the history and culture of the region and a gift shop. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour of the museum grounds, including a log cabin, an old grist mill, and a cemetery.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a great place to live that won’t break the bank, Tennessee is a great option. The cost of living in the Volunteer State is well below the national average, and there are plenty of affordable places to call home. Tennessee has something to offer everyone, whether you’re looking for a small town or big city atmosphere. With a little bit of planning and research, you’ll find the perfect place to call home in Tennessee

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the cost of living comparisons for Tennessee vs. other states?

The cost of living in Tennessee is very affordable compared to other states in the US. In Tennessee, the cost of living is about 10% below the national average. This makes it a great state to call home, especially if you’re on a budget.

What are the safest places to live in Tennessee?

There are a number of safe places to live in Tennessee. Some of the safest cities in the state include Church Hill, Signal Mountain, and Loudon.

Is it worth moving to Tennessee?

Yes, moving to Tennessee is definitely worth it. The state has a lot to offer, including affordable housing, great schools, and plenty of things to do. You’re sure to find a place you’ll love calling home in Tennessee.

How is the climate in Tennessee?

Tennessee has a moderate climate, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to the low 80s in the summer. The state also experiences a fair amount of precipitation, so be sure to pack your raincoat!

See Also: Interstate Movers in the USA

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.