When picking out a place to live, it can be difficult to decide what spot is just right for you. How's the weather? Does it have schools nearby? What's there to do? How's the job market there?
All these factors and many more play into the decision making process for people looking to relocate. So, what if you were to decide that you wanted to pick up your roots and move to Ohio
? You'd have quite a few larger places to pick from, for starters. Of course, you'd also want to find someplace affordable, but which location is simply the best deal?
Here at the Movoto Real Estate
Blog, we realize affordability is key, so we compiled a list of places in Ohio and found the top 10 most affordable out of the 173. The most affordable places to live were:
1. City of Pickerington
2. City of Heath
3. City of Pataskala
4. City of Powell
5. City of Lancaster
6. City of Streetsboro
7. City of Newark
8. City of Delaware
8. City of Whitehall
10. City of New Franklin
While some of these places might be completely unfamiliar to you, you might remember Powell from our 10 Best Places to Live in Ohio
piece. If you're looking for a specific place and it's not in our top 10, don't despair. Check out our full ranking at the bottom of this article. For our top 10, though, the numbers say that these places will give you the best bang for your buck. What numbers did we look at, exactly? Let's discuss that a little more in-depth.
How We Found Our Results
As for many of our other Big Deal Lists
, we looked at specific data to determine which places were the best and which were the worst. We initially collected a list of locations in Ohio with populations of over 10,000, which in this case was 173 places. Then we looked at specific statistics for for each place in seven different categories. These categories were:
- Food costs
- Utility costs
- Total crimes
- Miscellaneous costs
- Median home price
- Unemployment rank
- Adjusted median income
To explain a few of these a little better, our adjusted median income uses a place's median household income and then divides it by the cost of living. That number is multiplied by 100 to reflect what a household's actual earnings are worth in that specific environment. The score for our miscellaneous cost of living rank took into account cost of clothing, restaurants, repairs, and entertainment.
We gathered the numbers from the U.S. Census (2010) and FBI uniform crime report (2012)
then ranked our findings for each category from 1 to 173, with one being the best. We averaged those rankings to find a Big Deal Score
for each place and then took a look at who had the best score. This time, Pickerington was champion of affordability for numerous reasons. We'll examine what those reasons were, for Pickerington and the rest of our top 10, right now.
Source: Flickr user Howard Jefferson
Pickerington, which 18,291 people call home, tops our list for the most affordable spots in the state'and for good reason too.
The adjusted income ranking is seventh, which means that people who are employed there, which is 93.2 percent of the population, are making plenty of money. Considering that the miscellaneous amenities cost is the eighth lowest on our list too, that means locals will be quite comfortable financially. The housing cost here is very high on average, but with the high employment rate and high median household income, that shouldn't be much of a problem.
As far as fun things to do on the cheap, you can also find a variety of parks within the city and in nearby areas. There is also a new city pool which costs only a small fee. For those warm summers, you won't have to shell out the big bucks to keep cool.
Source: Flickr user Delta Whiskey
Heath, located in hilariously named Licking County, is home to 10,310 folks for whom money is not a worry. With a fairly low cost of food and fairly low unemployment rate of seven percent, residents of this fair city have no issue putting food on the table. But the miscellaneous costs are where this place really shines. Heath is tied for the second lowest miscellaneous costs ranking, with a score of 92.
Residents can also find some fun for free at one of eight different parks, or at an occasional free class presented by the city or independent organizations.
Source: Flickr user eawortman
For those looking to beat the summer heat or just relax, Pataskala might be a good option. The city has six free parks and a municipal pool for all to use. If you're not in the mood for something relaxing, every October there's the Pataskala Haunted Forest, which will terrify residents for a low fee,and offers free parking.
Besides the fun stuff, the city of Pataskala also boasts only a seven percent unemployment rate, and scores identically with Heath in cost of food rank, cost of utilities rank, and miscellaneous cost of living. That tied-for-second miscellaneous cost of living score is 92, 8 percent below the national average, and means that unexpected expenses don't get under the skin of the residents of this city. Plus the fact that the adjusted median income is $60,402, locals aren't exactly hurting for cash.
Source: Flickr user Valerie
The city of Powell offers its 11,500 locals some serious perks when it comes to the financial side of things. There's a free summer concert series for kids, parades for everyone, as well as a number of special street markets throughout the year. You can also visit the Columbus Zoo which is located within the city, and where they sometimes have discounted days for locals.
As far as the numbers go, Powell is absolutely nothing to sneeze at. The miscellaneous cost of living is very low and the unemployment rate is only 5.5 percent, which is a far cry from its neighbor Columbus
' 6.7 percent. The city's real claim to fame is in the adjusted income department. Topping our rankings for that category at No. 1, the adjusted income of this place is $106,514. Even without all the fun free events, that still makes this place a good location for financial security.
Source: Flickr user Rubbertoe (Robert Batina)
The 38,780 people who live in this city enjoy some interesting things to do. There are at least five museums in Lancaster, including the birth home of General William Sherman, many of which offer discounted or even free days for residents. So, if you don't want to spend much but still want to get a daily dose of culture, that's not a problem here.
Lancaster's stats only improve the place's outlook. The cost of utilities score is 99, and the miscellaneous cost of living score is 93, which are both excellent for those categories. The city also has a decently low cost of food, which is great considering that The Candy Cottage always has some tasty and affordable sweets to sample.
Source: Flickr user Jonas Wisser
Folks who reside in our No. 6 place get to live the life of luxury without spending their life savings. The city of Streetsboro puts on a special series of Family Days throughout July, which include special events for a low fee and a free concert every night. Even without high costs, there's still a high level of fun to be had in this 16,028 person city.
The cost of utilities here is incredibly low, tied for the second lowest on our list with a score of 96. Lancaster follows that up with an adjusted income rank of 36, at $65,312. The ranking for cost of food is also very low in this city. Affordability doesn't mean a lack of quality, however. Foodies who enjoy the delicious sushi at Toko Japanese Steak House could attest to that.
Source: Flickr user @darthmauldds
The largest place in our top 10, with 47,573 inhabitants, Newark doesn't let that big-city vibe ruin the small-town bargains. The Indian Mound Mall is home to some fantastic sales, and if you just want to pick up a book, the Licking County Library is right there in the city. Shopaholics and bookworms alike can find something to enjoy in this city.
Newark looks pretty good by the stats as well. The unemployment rank is only seven percent, and the cost of food ranks a well with a score of 94 out of 100. The miscellaneous cost score is even lower at 92, which allows residents to eat, play, work, and live with more ease than those of even bigger cities in the state.
Source: Flickr user Aaron Schaub
Tied for No. 8 is Delaware and the 34,753 folks who live there. No, we're not talking about a different state here, this is still a city in Ohio and a very good one at that.
You won't find many people in search of a job here, considering that a No. 2 ranked 94.5 percent of the population is employed. Those who are employed are well compensated with an adjusted median income of $57,491. The median home price here is quite high, but considering how inexpensive life is in general here it all evens out.
For deal hunters, the city also hosts a flea market every Sunday, so those in love with bargains will also be in love with Delaware.
Source: Facebook of The City of Whitehall, Ohio
The other No. 8 place, Whitehall, offers its 18,062 locals an ease of living and peace of mind not found in many other spots. For those looking to stay active, there are low-cost community events and classes often, such as yoga classes at the park for only $3 per person. For those just looking to grab a bite, the cost of food ranking is a shocking No. 5, which means that residents don't easily go hungry here.
It's fairly easy to live here as well, considering that the median home price is $98,200 and the unemployment rate is only 6.7 percent. Really, the only downfall of this city is its cost of utilities, which ranked 124th on our list.
Source: Flickr user Ed Chadwick
The 14,227 people who reside in New Franklin have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery and historic buildings, as well as some very affordable living expenses. The adjusted income for is $63,468 and the home price is $149,300, which makes this place fairly livable just for real estate alone. When you add in low cost of utilities and low miscellaneous cost of living, the outlook of this city is downright rosy.
This city offers many walking paths and parks for the nature lovers and thrifty folks who live there, and different community events depending on the time of year. The cost of food here is a little high, but the quality is high too, so there's a balance to it.
Living the High-Cost Life in Ohio
While there are some great bargain places to be found in Ohio, there are also spots where a dollar just doesn't go a long way. Zanesville
, in particular, stood out as one of the most pricey places to be, with some of the worst rankings in employment, adjusted income, and cost of utilities. Wilmington
followed close behind, with an average adjusted income of only $38,008, and a stunning unemployment rate of 11 percent. Painsville
was our third least affordable, and had an adjusted income of only $34,776, as well as a very high cost of food. So if you're looking for good deals on good living, these are the places to steer clear of.
Besides the few pricey places, Ohio proved itself to be a rather inexpensive and pleasant state to live in, with Pickerington topping our list due to some truly admirable scores. Live in one of these places (pricey or not)' Feel free to leave a comment; we won't charge you a cent.
(click to enlarge table)
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