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The most affordable small town in each US state if you're looking to escape a big city

Business Insider Logo By Ivan De Luce, Andy Kiersz and Madison Hoff of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 51: Cost of living is a big part of deciding where to live.The novel coronavirus outbreak has some Americans rethinking residing in big cities.Using data from the Census Bureau, we found the small town in each state with the highest share of households paying an affordable share of their incomes on housing.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.As many Americans are working from their homes during the novel coronavirus outbreak or have temporarily relocated out of their city apartments, some might reconsider living in densely-populated and expensive cities after the pandemic.According to a Harris Poll survey reported by Axios, about one-third of Americans are thinking about moving to less dense areas as a response to the coronavirus.Cost of living is a big part of deciding where to live, and housing affordability is one of the major factors driving how expensive different places are. Using data from the Census Bureau's 2014-2018 American Community Survey, we found the small town in each state with the highest share of households paying affordable housing costs.For our universe of small towns, we took places as defined by the Census Bureau that had populations between 5,000 and 20,000 people, excluding college campuses and military bases. To determine housing affordability, we looked at the share of households in each of those towns paying less than 30% of their household income on housing costs, a fairly common cutoff for whether or not housing is within a family's means.The American Community Survey includes data for three types of households — homeowners with a mortgage, homeowners without a mortgage, and renters. For our affordability measurement, we took the average of the shares of each of those household types paying less than 30% on housing, weighted by the number of each type of household in each town.It is important to note these towns aren't necessarily the places with the least expensive housing, just the places where the biggest share of families fall under our affordability threshold. This means that towns with relatively expensive homes but also high incomes can still have most residents paying an affordable share of that income on their housing.For instance, Short Hills is the most affordable small town in New Jersey, even though Short Hills is the sixth richest place in America, according to Bloomberg. According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in Short Hills from 2014-2018 was over $250,000, and a large share of residents in the town spend 30% or less of their income toward housing costs. Here's the most affordable small town in every state:Read the original article on Business Insider

The pandemic has some Americans rethinking big cities

As many Americans are working from their homes during the novel coronavirus outbreak or have temporarily relocated out of their city apartments, some might reconsider living in densely populated and expensive cities after the pandemic.

According to a Harris Poll survey reported by Axios, about one-third of Americans are thinking about moving to less dense areas as a response to the coronavirus.

Cost of living is a big part of deciding where to live, and housing affordability is one of the major factors driving how expensive different places are. 

Using data from the Census Bureau's 2014-2018 American Community Survey, we found the small town in each state with the highest share of households paying affordable housing costs.

For our universe of small towns, we took places as defined by the Census Bureau that had populations between 5,000 and 20,000 people, excluding college campuses and military bases. To determine housing affordability, we looked at the share of households in each of those towns paying less than 30% of their household income on housing costs, a fairly common cutoff for whether or not housing is within a family's means.

The American Community Survey includes data for three types of households — homeowners with a mortgage, homeowners without a mortgage and renters. For our affordability measurement, we took the average of the shares of each of those household types paying less than 30% on housing, weighted by the number of each type of household in each town.

It is important to note these towns aren't necessarily the places with the least expensive housing, just the places where the biggest share of families fall under our affordability threshold. This means that towns with relatively expensive homes but also high incomes can still have most residents paying an affordable share of that income on their housing.

For instance, Short Hills is the most affordable small town in New Jersey, even though Short Hills is the sixth richest place in America, according to Bloomberg. According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in Short Hills from 2014-2018 was over $250,000, and a large share of residents in the town spend 30% or less of their income toward housing costs. 

Click through the gallery above to see the most affordable small town in every state.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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