The Most Affordable Cities on the West Coast


If you were wondering if there was a way to live on the west coast or anywhere close the Pacific Ocean without spending a fortune, the answer is yes. While it might be tough to find a place that is affordable, we managed to create a list of ten metro areas that are affordable for living.

Out of 125 metro areas in the U.S. with the highest population, we managed to isolate the ones on the list according to the criteria. We took into consideration the average household income compared to the average cost, as well as mortgage or rent payments, taxes, and utilities. While some of this might still look expensive, you should understand that they are the most affordable on the West Coast. This also means that there are places in the U.S. that are more in accordance with your budget but are located elsewhere.

Santa Rosa, California

We will start our list from the bottom or the tenth place, and it is reserved for Santa Rosa. The metro population is a bit over half a million people, and the average salary is over fifty thousand. According to research, residents spend under thirty percent of the average household income to pay for living expenses. If we take a look at the list for the entire country, Santa Rosa is also the ninth most expensive place. Which means that there are so many other, more affordable locations. However, they are not on the West Side.

Stockton, California


The ninth place on the list is still in the Golden State. Stockton has a higher population than Santa Rosa, while the average salary is lower. Furthermore, the median income is almost four thousand below the national median. Besides, the unemployment rate in Stockton is nearly six percent, which makes it unsafe for many residents when it comes to their jobs. Even though it is the twelfth most expensive place to live in, Stockton keeps growing. In the past decade, the city’s metro area grew by three percent.

Modesto, California

The average resident of Modesto will need to spend around twenty-seven percent of household income to cover all of the housing expenses. Compared to Stockton and Santa Rosa, the situation looks a bit better in Modesto. However, there is a seven-percent unemployment rate and average income below the national median.

All things considered, Modesto is still in the 120th place of the best places in the country.

San Francisco, California

There is no doubt that San Francisco is on the list of best places to live. Besides, it is the highest placed city in the West Cost. The average salary in the city is above average for the country, and residents will need to spend under twenty-seven percent of their income on expenses.

Because of the higher-paying jobs in the city and the average salary that is almost seventy thousand, the costs of living in San Francisco is slightly offset by the income people earn.

Sacramento, California


The sixth place on the list is for Sacramento. Residents of this city will normally have to pay under twenty-seven percent of the salary for expenses. The average salary is almost five thousand above the national average, and the unemployment rate is below four percent. As expected, the city keeps growing, and the metro area grew almost four percent in the past decade.

San Jose, California

While San Jose has the highest average home price, the city makes up for that with salaries well above average. The cost of living in the metro area is slightly over twenty-six percent of the average income. Furthermore, San Jose also offers high-paying jobs in the tech industry that gives an opportunity to earn a lot over 8,000 dollars.


Similar to San Jose and San Francisco, Seattle offers plenty of opportunities for higher-paying jobs, especially in the tech market. This also means that the average salary is higher compared to the other cities on the list. Residents will have to pay, on average, under twenty-five percent of their income for expenses.

According to recent research, Seattle is the seventh most desirable city to live in out of the over a hundred metro areas that are on the list of most affordable in the U.S.

Portland, Oregon

The eighth best place to live in the country is also the third for the West Side. The cost of living in this city is even lower than the previous ones, and the average salary is above the national average. Furthermore, thanks to Portland’s strong market, the unemployment rate is below four percent, which is just another reason why Portland is among the most desirable cities in the state.

Salem, Oregon

The capital of Oregon is in second place for the entire West Coast. Even though the average for the city is below the national average, residents of Salem still spend less on expenses than any other city on the West Coast (except one). The entire metro area is under half a million people, and it increased over five percent in the past couple of years.

Anchorage, Alaska

The first place on the list of most affordable cities on the West Coast can be found way up north. The average expenses of living in Anchorage are a bit over twenty-two percent of average incomes. The median salary is over 8,000 above the average for the entire nation. It also helps that the metro area in Alaska offers easy access to the wilderness.