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The top 6 affordable states for teachers

Where in the USA can teachers carve out an affordable life?

Although inflation, policies, and interest rates are stifling millions of teachers and middle-class Americans, there still are a few great places to live comfortably without a handcuffed loan from a wealthy Uncle Sam. With US home averages now over $350,000, it can seem daunting for educators to realistically think about a financially viable future. Hopefully our list (based on both affordability and adventure) gives you some incentive to think outside the box for what’s possible as a teacher in America. You'll find a useful chart at the end of this article to summarize our findings.

6. Iowa

"Hey, is this heaven?”

“No. It’s Iowa.” - Field of Dreams

Home prices here are heavenly for teachers... and it's a great place for meat lovers. The Hawkeye State produces more pork meat than any other state, so heat up the BBQ! Families can also enjoy the affordable charm of all four seasons here with hiking, skiing, food, and charming Midwest culture.

5. Oklahoma

OK, we know what you’re thinking. But before you throw any shade on the Sooner State, just know that they’ve got the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Yeehaw! And with homes averaging under $150,000, teachers can afford to create their dream life here!

4. Mississippi

It’s the state that many of us learned to spell when we were 7. Little did we know it was an affordable place to live on a modest salary. With a nostalgic history full of Mississippi Riverboat cruises and hiking the Appalachian foothills, there is plenty to do in ole Miss! Although the overall quality of life rankings are low (49th, in fact), as a teacher you could save up to buy a home here in just a few frugal years for around $140,000!

More than just WalMart and Ozark, The Natural State has endless activities for nature lovers, cyclists, fishing, and culture-seekers. If you fancy kayaking, Arkansas features the world’s longest bayou. With average home prices currently around $190k, teachers stand a better chance of affording a home here than in most other states.

If you get nostalgic singing “Country Road”, you’re in luck. But did you know that West Virginia features more than John Denver’s Mountain Mama? Whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, and American history are on a shortlist of highlights in this Appalachian state. Plus, you’re close to the East Coast and all its mid-Atlantic history. According to our elementary calculations, the state has the smallest cost-gap in the country (we got our salary data from Here, your salary may remain low (not quite $50k), but so will average home prices at around $145k. If you're considering West Virginia, you might want to do it soon as it is quickly becoming part of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.

1. Kentucky

The Bluegrass State comes in as the sixth most affordable state for teachers and ranks as our favorite. The Bourbon Trail and Mammoth Cave (a UNESCO Heritage Site) are some of Kentucky’s most famous attractions, and it’s not a bad place to live either! Cost of living is 12% lower than the national average, and the natural beauty of Kentucky places it on the top of our list!

**Zillow (early 2023)

***6th grade math

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