The 7 Best Affordable Cities to Start a Family

Looking to start a family? Many major metro areas can be tough choices, given their high cost of living, crime statistics, and public school quality. So, we've dug a little deeper to uncover seven U.S. metro areas that offer the best environments for starting a family.

1. Virginia Beach, Virginia

If you're looking to mix business with pleasure at an affordable price, Virginia Beach is an option that should be within your consideration. With several large companies in and around the area, along with a plethora of government opportunities nearby, the economy is strong and the property values are solid with an average home price of roughly $240,000. Plus, wouldn't you love to take your kids to the ocean every weekend without having to board a plane or endure a long car ride?

2. Chicago, Illinois

If you can bear the cold (it gets and stays well below freezing for weeks during the winter), Chicago is a fantastically affordable city, relative to its size and offerings. Its many amenities will keep your entire family entertained no matter what your interests. And its housing costs are among the lowest of any metropolitan area in the country, with an average home price of about $230,000.

3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is a city on the rise, quickly becoming a top education and health care center. These two industries have stabilized and grown an economy that once relied on the steel industry. The city's many museums, active waterfront, nearby natural areas, sports teams, parks, and festivals make it a wonderfully diverse area for families. The average home price in Pittsburgh is approximately $230,000.

4. Nashville, Tennessee


Music City is one of the greatest areas of innovation and arts in the country at the moment. People from all over the world are visiting and moving there thanks to the vibrant cultural and local business scene. It's no wonder that celebrities who want a lower profile and a high quality of life are buying homes in Nashville. It also happens to be a winner for families and kids, thanks to all of its culture and natural beauty. Average home prices are still a bargain here at about $205,000.

5. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is a top pick for those who love the vibrant energy and cultural opportunity of a university town. Complete with one of the best farmer's markets in the country, a tight-knit community feel, and award-winning family-friendly attractions, Madison is an ideal place for families. Median home prices in Madison are some of the most affordable in the country at around $195,000.

6. Austin, Texas

"Keeping it weird" is Austin's motto, and they own it. This is a "come as you are" kind of town and known for its friendly, supportive vibe. Here, originality and creativity are highly encouraged and celebrated. Austin offers mild winters, some of the best music in the country, plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and a growing economy based in the technology sector. Typical housing costs hover around $345,000. Though this is more expensive than most of the other areas on this list, it's still a far cry cheaper than places like New York City and San Francisco.

7. Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Like Madison, Chapel Hill is also rich with university town resources, but its winter is more moderate than Wisconsin's. As part of the Research Triangle, the economy is strong, and like many of the other cities on this list, it has a community vibe to match. Chapel Hill's calendar is loaded with kid-friendly events, and it boasts dozens of places to stage them, including its numerous gardens and parks. Median home prices are closer to Austin's at about $330,000.

If the time is right to start a family and you're looking for a new city to begin that adventure, this list offers a strong starting point for your search. Curious about how the cost of living between different cities compares? Check out this cost of living comparison tool to find out.

In which cities are you considering starting a family?

No votes yet
Your rating: None

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Guest's picture

Chapel Hill is SO expensive! The prices for houses are pretty high and the property taxes for the town of Chapel Hill is (I believe) the highest in the Raleigh-Durham area. I'm currently looking for a house in this area (I currently live in a nearby town) and am not even considering Chapel Hill because it is so much more expensive. The public schools are really good, though.

UNC Chapel Hill is a HUGE presence in this small town (about 20-30K students a year). For a small town with an estimated population of 60K, that's a LOT of students. You have to be careful where you live in Chapel Hill - do you really want to live next door to a bunch of college kids?

Guest's picture
Janie White

I can recommend Austin, Texas. I moved and started an online business and I'm happier than ever. Thanks for the article, keep up the awesome blog!