Overall, Missouri has a lower cost of living than a lot of the country, and according to areavibes.com, these are the places in Missouri with a population over 1,000 with the lowest overall cost of living. See if your town makes the cut!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
The cost of living in Clarkton is 20.8% lower than the Missouri average and 27.8% less than the National average.
Clarkton is located in Dunklin County, about 16 miles north of Kennett, and has a population of just 1,288 residents. It is the oldest city in the county. One of the most interesting historical sites in town is the Birthright House, the home of two successful former slaves that for forty years dedicated their lives to the community of Clarkton, located at 109 N Main Street.
The cost of living in Senath is 20.1% less than the Missouri average and
27.2% less than the National average.
The “Little City With a Big Heart” is located in Dunklin County and has a population of 1,767 residents. Senath’s biggest yearly event is when the Senath Park Board hosts “October Fest.” Held during the second weekend of October, it features lots of great food, drinks and a variety of vendors.
The cost of living in Princeton is 19% less than the Missouri average and 26.2% less than the national average.
Princeton in Mercer County is the county seat and largest city in the county, even with just 1,166 residents. Named in remembrance of the Battle of Princeton during the Revolutionary War, it is also known for being the birthplace and childhood home of Calamity Jane. Calamity Jane, or Martha Jane Canary was an American frontierswoman and scout who was most known for her acquaintance with Wild Bill Hickock. On the third weekend of September each year, Princeton celebrates Calamity Jane Days with a town-wide fall festival.
The cost of living in Dexter is 13.7% less than the Missouri average and 21.4% less than the national average.
With a population of 7,846, Dexter is located in Stoddard County, and was founded in 1873. Besides its low cost of living, the town also has low crime rates, sunny weather and lots of local amenities. There are two museums in Dexter and six or seven more in surrounding areas, and it is near to several Wildlife Conservation areas for outdoor activities. In addition, there are other recreational activities with swimming pools, parks, tennis courts, racquetball courts, and golf courses, and great local restaurants and shops.
The cost of living in Kennett is 12.7% less than the Missouri average and 20.4% less than the national average.
Kennett is the county seat of Dunklin County and it is located in the southeast corner ("Bootheel") of Missouri, 4 miles east of Arkansas and 20 miles from the Mississippi River. It is an agricultural hub producing goods like cotton, soybeans, rice, and watermelon that are distributed nationwide, and while only home to just under 11,000 residents, it is the main source of business and commerce for up to 100,000 people within a 30-mile radius.
6. Poplar Bluff
The cost of living in Poplar Bluff is 12.6% less than the Missouri average and 20.4% less than the national average.
Popular Bluff is the county seat of Butler County with a population of nearly 17,000 friendly residents. It is the gateway to the Ozarks nestled in southeast Missouri, in between St. Louis and Memphis. An economic and entertainment center for the area, there is always something happening. The Black River Coliseum hosts various local concerts and sporting events, and in the summer Poplar Bluff is home to the Black River Festival and the Butler County Fair.
The cost of living in Nevada is 11.8% less than the Missouri average and 19.7% less than the national average.
Nevada is the county seat of Vernon County, with a population of 8,386 residents. Nevada suffered greatly during the Civil War. In fact, the entire town was burned to the ground in 1863 by pro-Union militiamen from nearby Cedar County. Nevada is the home of Cottey College, an independent, liberal arts and sciences college for women. It also has a Community Center, golf course, and several city parks, including Walton Skate Park and Walton Aquatic Center.
The cost of living in Trenton is 11% less than the Missouri average and 18.9% less than the national average.
Trenton is the county seat of Grundy County and has a population of 6,000 residents. Its claim to fame is to be the world's largest producer of vienna sausages via ConAgra Grocery Foods plant, its biggest employer. Trenton has an aquatic center, a modern movie theater with 3-D capabilities, a skating rink, two skateboarding parks (one indoor and one outdoor), numerous city parks, some with ball fields and soccer fields.
The cost of living in Sikeston is 10.9% less than the Missouri average and 18.8% less than the national average.
Sikeston is located both in southern Scott County and northern New Madrid County, just north of the "Missouri Bootheel." The city is named after John Sikes, who founded it in 1860. With a population of 16,318, it is the fourth most populous city in Missouri’s 8th Congressional district.
Kings Highway, also known as Business U.S. Highway 61, is the town’s primary north-south street and it is lined with businesses and older historic homes. The downtown area includes Malone Park, the city's oldest park, and the historic First Methodist Church columns, the remaining six pillars of the 1879 church which was destroyed by fire in 1968. The “Baker House” is believed to have been the first house built in Sikeston, built in 1855, nearly five years before the town’s official founding. Another historic building is The Mashall-Dunn Hotel, a three-story brick hotel built between 1895 and 1898. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and has had many prominent patrons over the years including Harry S. Truman, Alben W. Barkley, and Tom Pendergast. Another source of pride for the town is the Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo which has been held around the first of August for over 50 years, and has hosted many famous country stars as entertainment including Alabama, Lonestar, Garth Brooks, Clint Black, and Travis Tritt.
The cost of living in Neosho is 9.9% less than the Missouri average and 17.9% less than the national average.
Neosho is the most populous city and county seat of Newton County, with a population of 11,835 residents. Neosho lies on the western edge of the Ozarks, and derives its name from a Native American word for “clear, cold water.” It has been nicknamed the “City of Springs,” has long served as an agricultural center, and is home to the National Fish Hatchery. Local nicknames also include the “Gateway to the Ozarks” and “the Flower Box City.”
Of particular significance is Big Spring (historically known as Clark Spring), which is located near the historic downtown in the city’s main park, Big Spring Park. Other local springs include Bell’s Iron Spring (Walbridge Spring), and the Hatchery springs - Hearrell, McMahon, Bartholic and Elm Springs, that together with Big Spring and Bell’s Iron Spring collectively supply water to the National Fish Hatchery. The Neosho Commercial Historic District, McGinty’s Department Store Building, the Second Baptist Church and the Neosho High School are all listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with city renovation and preservation being a community-wide goal.
11. Webb City
The cost of living in Webb City is 9.2% less than the Missouri average and 17.3% less than the national average.
Webb City is a city in Jasper County with a population of 10,996 residents. It is located on historic Route 66 on the Ozark Plateau in the Southwest corner of Missouri. The city has over 149 acres of leisure and recreational park land distributed throughout the city into four neighborhood parks totaling approximately 5 acres of land as well as the city's 144-acre municipal park, King Jack Park, which is situated within the central population and commercial district of the community. The city also hosts the Webb City Farmers Market, holiday events at Christmas and Easter, and unique trolley rides on restored early 1920s trolleys.
The cost of living in Carthage is 8.9% less than the Missouri average and 17% less than the national average.
Carthage, nicknamed “America’s Maple Leaf City,” is the county seat of Jasper County and has a population of 14,378. The city was established in 1842, burned to the ground during the Civil War, then reconstructed during the Victorian era. The result is a legacy of architectural marvels now featured in four historic districts and a total of over 600 buildings listed on the National Registry. The city celebrates their heritage through a variety of family fun and seasonal events and cultural activities throughout the year including Independence Day, Marian Days, the Maple Leaf Festival, and Christmas festivities. Along with the shops and restaurants in the historic district, the city also hosts the Precious Moments Chapel, Route 66, and Civil War sites.
The cost of living in Marshall is 8.9% less than the Missouri average and 17% less than the national average.
Marshall is the county seat of Saline County, and has a population of 13,065 residents. The first two county courthouses in Marshall were lost to fires, but the current courthouse was constructed in January 1882, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located in the center of the Marshall Square and has a legacy of nineteenth century architecture.
Another of Marshall’s claims to fame is being the home of Jim the Wonder Dog. During the 1930s, Jim earned his reputation as a 'wonder dog' by puzzling psychologists from both Washington University, St. Louis and University of Missouri in Columbia. In a public demonstration, a man named Dr. A. J. Durant, director of the School of Veterinary Medicine, tested Jim's abilities and concluded that Jim "possessed an occult power that might never come again to a dog in many generations." Apparently, the dog seemed to have the ability to guess the sex of an unborn baby as well as answer to orders in many different languages even though his owner, Sam Van Arsdale, only spoke English. He picked the winner of the Kentucky Derby seven years in a row and predicted the Yankee victory in the 1936 World Series. In fact, a joint session of the Missouri Legislature was called in order to witness the talents of Jim. He died in March of 1937.
Marshall is also home to Missouri Valley College, founded in 1889. Baity Hall, the college’s original building, was built in 1889 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a private, four-year liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
The cost of living in Moberly is 8.6% less than the Missouri average and 16.8% less than the national average.
Moberly, “The Magic City,” is the largest city in Randolph County and has a population 13,974 residents. The city has a strong railroading legacy, and is home to two museums, one dedicated to the Wabash, MKT and CB&Q railroads. The city boasts around 500 acres of park land that host five parks with beautiful grounds, forests, and lakes. They also are home to the Howard Hills Athletic Complex with eight baseball/softball fields and three football/soccer fields, the Moberly Aquatic Center, the Thompson Campground, The Lodge, the Municipal Auditorium, and the Magic City Line, a one-mile-long miniature train track. In addition, there are over two miles of paved trails, boat ramps, fishing lakes, paddleboat/canoe rentals, and picnic shelters.
The cost of living in Hannibal is 8.3% less than the Missouri average and 16.5% less than the national average.
Hannibal is the largest city in Marion and Ralls counties with a population of 17,606. It is located approximately 100 miles northwest of St. Louis. The city boasts riverboat cruises, cave tours, museums, and a historic main street full of boutique shops and galleries. Hannibal is perhaps best known for being the boyhood home of author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and as the setting of his The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn novels. Throughout town there are numerous historical sites related to Mark Twain and the sites depicted in his fiction like the Mark Twain Cave, and the Mark Twain Riverboat. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum marked its 100th anniversary in 2012, and people travel from all over the world to visit, bringing in tourism dollars. The Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, constructed in 1933, has been lit at three separate times by three different presidents; President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President John F. Kennedy, and President Bill Clinton.
Other historic locations include the Rockcliffe Mansion and Woodside Mansion. Riverview Park is a 465-acre park with wooded land and scenic views of the riverfront. There is also Hannibal Rocks Offroad Park, Molly Brown Birthplace & Museum, and Sawyer’s Creek Fun Park.
From March to October, the town chooses local children to portray Twain characters Tom and Becky in downtown Hannibal every Saturday and Sunday. In addition, the town hosts “Tom Sawyer Days,” an Independence Day event including a fence painting contest, frog jumping contest, mud volleyball, local arts and crafts and a fireworks display from Lover’s Leap.
The cost of living in Kirksville is 8.1% less than the Missouri average and 16.2% less than the national average.
Kirksville, located in Benton Township, is the county seat of Adair County with a population of 17,505. In the heart of Northeast Missouri, it is home to Truman State University and A.T. Still University. The town boasts a historic downtown square is surrounded by a 3,000-acre state park and some of the nation’s top hunting grounds. They offer classic small town festivals, premier cultural events, art, history, recreation and nature.
The cost of living in Mexico is 7.9% less than the Missouri average and 16.1% less than the national average.
Mexico is the county seat of Audrain County, with a population of 11,543. Mexico is host to the annual Miss Missouri Pageant, and the winner goes on to represent the state of Missouri in the Miss America pageant. The courthouse is at the center of the historic downtown square, surrounded by dozens of multi-story brick buildings, some dating back to the town’s founding. Restoration efforts started in the late 1970s when crumbling sidewalks were replaced with red paver bricks accented with turn-of-the-century lamp posts and park benches. It has been known as the "Saddle Horse Capital of the World," for the Hollywood celebrities and other visitors from around the world who come to purchase riding horses. In fact, The Simmons Stables, currently being revitalized, are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The cost of living in Sedalia is 7.3% less than the Missouri average and 15.6% less than the national average.
Sedalia is a city located about 30 miles south of the Missouri River and is the county seat of Pettis County. It has a population of 21,387. Its main claim to fame includes hosting the Missouri State Fair and the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. Other sites in the city include the Katy Depot, the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Bothwell Lodge. B-2 Stealth Bombers can often be seen in the sky above the city due to the close proximity of Whiteman Air Force Base. Another historic building of note is the Sedalia Public Library, built in 1901, which was funded by the first Carnegie Grant awarded in Missouri for $50,000 in the fall of 1899.
The library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The cost of living in Joplin is 7.1% less than the Missouri average and 15.4% less than the national average.
Although Joplin, with a population of 50,150 residents is the largest city Jasper County, it is not the county seat. It is located in both Jasper County and northern Newton County in the southwestern corner of the state. Joplin features everything from pottery to zinc mines, and bumper boats to toffee tours. Points of interest include the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, the Route 66 Carousel Park, the Joplin Museum Complex, the Reptile World Zoo, the Joplin Carnegie Library, and the George Washington Carver National Monument. During the Great Depression, in 1933, the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde spent some time in Joplin, robbing several area businesses. In 2009, the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation nominated the house where the couple stayed, at 34th Street and Oak Ridge Drive, for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
Did your town make the list? Isn’t it great to live in Missouri where you can get more bang for your buck?