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10 cities where the cost of living has gotten cheaper

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Casper is a city in and the county seat of Natrona County, Wyoming, United States. Casper is the second largest city in the state
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Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March, fluctuations in the economy have impacted cities — for better or worse. While housing prices have increased in suburbs outside major cities like New York City, San Francisco and some parts of Chicago pushing up the cost of living, others places have gotten cheaper.

A recent report from Apartmentguide.com calculated the top 10 metro areas where the cost of living has dropped the most during the pandemic. To conduct the findings, the website looked at cost of living data (including groceries, housing, utility, transportation and healthcare) from The Council for Community and Economic Research from Q1 2020 (Jan. 1 to March 31) and compared it to data from Q3 2020 (July 1 to Sept. 30).

Here are the top cities where the cost of living has gotten cheaper since March, according to Apartmentguide.com's report.

1. Palm Coast, Florida

In Palm Coast-Flagler County, Florida, which is 40 minutes North of Daytona Beach, the overall cost of living has dropped by 3.4%. In particular, the cost of groceries is down 13.7%, and housing is down 2.2%. The area is known for its saltwater and freshwater canals, beaches and the Intracoastal Waterway. 

2. Johnson City, Tennessee

Located near the Tennessee-North Carolina border, Johnson City, Tennessee has seen its overall cost of living drop by 3.3%. The cost of groceries is down 12.6%, and housing is down 3.1%, according to Apartment.com. With lots of rivers and mountains, Johnson City is also home to East Tennessee State University.

3. Huntsville, Alabama

In Huntsville, located in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama, the overall cost of living has dropped by 3.1%, with housing down 4.8% and transportation costs down 7.4%. US News and World Report voted Huntsville one of the top 10 best places to live in America in 2018.

4. Casper, Wyoming

Located about two and a half hours from Cheyenne, Casper has seen its overall cost of living drop by 3%, with the cost of groceries down 8.5% and housing down 5%, according to Apartment.com. The area's history centers around oil and cowboys, an it's the second-largest city in the state. In 2010, Forbes named Casper on of the "Best Small Cities to Raise a Family."

5. Joliet-Will County, Illinois

About 30 miles from Chicago is Joliet-Will County, Illinois, where the overall cost of living has dropped by 3%. In particular, the cost of groceries is down 7.7% and housing is down 4.5%.The area is known as one of the fastest-growing southwestern Chicago commuter suburbs, and it's home to music venues and two casinos.

6. Minot, North Dakota

Minot's cost of living has dropped by 3%, with groceries down 4.3% and housing is down 5.7.%.The area, About two hours from Bismarck, Minot is known for the North Dakota State Fair (in non-Covid times).

7. Sussex County, Delaware

In Sussex County, which is home to Rehoboth Beach, the overall cost of living has dropped by 3%. Groceries costs are down 9.4% and transportation costs 1.2%. But housing there is actually up 3.6%. Sussex is centrally located to several cities: It's 90 minutes from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and about two hours from Philadelphia.

8. Stockton, California

In Stockton, which is about 83 miles from San Francisco, the overall cost of living has dropped by 3%. The cost of groceries is down 11% and housing is down 3.4 %. Stockton has one of the country's youngest mayors, Michael Tubbs, and is the location of a current universal basic income experiment, with one in four people there living in poverty in 2019.

9. Bakersfield, California

In Bakersfield, California, which is about two hours north of Los Angeles, the overall cost of living has dropped by 2.9%. In particular, the cost of groceries is down 6.8% and housing is down 2%, according to Apartment.com. Bakersfield was once considered a "pass through" city, but before the pandemic it was attracting young people and businesses, helping spur a downtown revival.

10. Montgomery, Alabama

State capital Montgomery's overall cost of living has dropped by 2.9%, with housing costs down 6.3% and transportation costs down 4%. The area is known as an epicenter in the civil rights movement, where Rosa Parks was jailed after refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in 1955.

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that Rehoboth Beach is located in Sussex County, Delaware.

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