The fourth-largest city in the country is also one of the best bargains when it comes to cost of living. Houston provides the opportunities and conveniences found in large cities, but is more affordable than many small cities. Bargain housing prices and a low tax burden keep living expenses in Houston below those in most other major metropolitan areas.

Houston’s overall after-taxes living costs are 10 percent below the nationwide average, largely due to housing costs that are 23 percent below the average.