Here's how we found the most affordable small town in every state


Idaho Spud Day

Zechariah Judy/Flickr

Shelley is the most affordable small town in Idaho.

Business Insider recently published a list of the most affordable small town in every state.


We created this list by using data from the Census Bureau's idea of "places." Since we focused on small towns, we looked at places with 2013 population estimates between 1,000 and 10,000 residents.

One standard measure of housing affordability is housing costs as a percentage of household income. Homes that eat up less than 30% of income are generally considered "affordable," as this theoretically leaves enough income over for other needs.

The 2009-2013 American Community Survey, a tremendous resource provided by the Census Bureau to analyze numerous aspects of American life, includes data on the percentage of homes that fall under the above affordability threshold for each of the small towns we were looking at.

The ACS has affordability data for three types of households: homeowners with a mortgage, homeowners without a mortgage, and renters. To rank the towns, we averaged together the percentage of households with housing costs below 30% of income in each of the three categories, weighted by the prevalence of each category in each town.


Once we had that ranking, we were able to find the town in each state with the highest weighted average percentage of affordable homes.

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