Although cost is usually a determining factor when deciding where to live, there are other things to consider as well. Moving somewhere affordable isn’t a good decision if you wind up hating it. Of course, one person’s haven may be another person’s idea of hell. It all depends on your priorities.
AreaVibes scores towns and cities on a livability scale. We’ve looked at places with good cost of living grades and high livability scores, then ranked them according to the other amenities they offer.
1. Las Cruces
Las Cruces receives an A+ from AreaVibes for cost of living and gets an overall livability score of 80/100. This city of approximately 97,000 people offers plenty of amenities and has mild winters. The nearby Organ Mountains provide ample space for outdoor activities in a gorgeous setting. While the cost of groceries is a little higher than the national average here, housing and healthcare costs are notably lower.
Living in Alamogordo also provides access to good amenities. The city’s livability and cost of living stats are identical to those of Las Cruces. However, healthcare, grocery, and transportation costs are all a smidge higher, which is why this city of 30,403 people just missed out on the number one spot.
Ruidoso has a livability score of 80/100 and an A for cost of living. The town’s 8029 residents are close to the beautiful Lincoln National Forest. Despite its small size, the unemployment rate is 4.80%, which is significantly lower than the national average.
Pojoaque, along with the next four entries on this list all received an A+ for cost of living and got a livability score of 78/100. Pojoaque (population 1907) edged ahead because of the employment opportunities available. The unemployment rate is only 4.60%, which is well below the national average. This can probably be attributed to the town’s proximity to Santa Fe. Unfortunately, housing prices do reflect that and rent is a bit higher than the New Mexico average.
5. Silver City
Silver City has a population of 10,315 people who doubtless appreciate their easy access to the Gila Wilderness and the city’s historic yet artsy vibe. The unemployment rate is a bit lower than the national average, as is the cost of living.
With a sign like this one, who wouldn’t want to be the 12,001st resident of this city in Eastern New Mexico?
The unemployment rate here is only 4% and housing is extremely affordable. It’s also only a 30-minute drive to the larger city of Clovis.
Tularosa is a charming town of 2842 people. While the cost of living is just below the national average, according to Sperling’s Best Places, housing prices are only 56. Remember, the national average is 100. Now, that’s a serious bargain.
A select 938 people make their home in Magdalena. This town has a fairly low crime rate and a pleasant climate. However, other places with matching AreaVibes scores beat this town because – even though unemployment is currently still low - available jobs are declining.
Wikimedia Commons/Edward Jackson
According to AreaVibes, Cloudcroft earns a 78 for overall livability and an A for cost of living. Positive job growth and lower than average unemployment make it a good choice for anyone seeking a slower pace of life – the population is 674. As an added bonus the town earns an A for weather.
A scant 75 people call Mayhill home. The village has a great livability score of 83 and an A for cost of living. If you don’t mind trading in some amenities, it could be a good option, especially for retired people or telecommuters.
Have you spent time in these affordable yet awesome places? Would you add any other towns or cities to this list?