INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana has a reputation for being an economical state to live in as the Hoosier State appears on both Forbes’ and Yahoo’s lists of the cheapest places to reside in the U.S.
Despite its purported affordability, Indiana is not typically considered one of the most desirable states to call home.
According to RentCafe, the cost of living in Indiana is 10% lower than the national average. Food, health care and transportation costs are all at least 4% less than the U.S. median.
The top benefit of living in Indiana, however, is arguably its cheap housing. RentCafe data indicates housing in the Hoosier State costs 22% less than the national average.
Some of the country’s top real estate and home lending companies disagree on the median cost of a home in Indiana. Rocket Mortgage claims the average cost of a house in Indiana is $186,100. Zillow has contrarily reported that the median value of a home in the Hoosier State is $231,519.
Affordability is one of the factors that helped situate Indiana at No. 29 on U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the best states to live in the nation. The state would likely be higher on the list if it weren’t for its low rankings in education, health care and environment.
Two individual categories drag Indiana’s aggregate ranking down. The Hoosier State is 43rd in U.S. News and World Report’s health care rankings. Poor quality care and subpar access to medical treatment are what pushed Indiana to its place on the list.
Indiana is also 50th in the natural environment category. U.S. News and World Report attribute the ranking to the Hoosier State’s high level of pollution and poor air and water quality.
U.S. News and World Report also rated Indiana outside the top 15 in education, infrastructure, crime and economy. Despite the presence of major institutions of higher learning like Butler, Notre Dame, Purdue and Indiana University, the state ranks low in education because only 38% of its 6,833,037 residents are college educated, per U.S. News and World Report.
Forbes also listed a number of cons that make Indiana less desirable like cold winters and a reputation for being boring.
U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the 50 states is complex. The news service’s website claims the list draws on “thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens.” The rankings also rely on surveys that gauge people’s thoughts on roads, bridges, internet access and public safety across the U.S.
Utah, Washington, Idaho, Nebraska and Minnesota are the top five states in U.S. News and World Report’s ranking.
Forbes’ list relied on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics like average salaries, mortgage payments and spending habits. Yahoo used data compiled by the World Population Review, Council for Community and Economic Research, and Missouri Economic Research and Information Center.