Indiana may be best known for its obsession with sports (and limestone) but what may not be in the public domain is that the Midwestern state has one of the lowest cost of living in the United States. A dollar stretches a long way here, longer than it would in 41 states.
Anyone looking to relocate to the Hoosier State will also be happy to know home prices in Indiana are among the most affordable in the country.
As well, the state boasts a strong economy that is about the size of Norway, according to the American Enterprise Institute. It is the 16th largest state economy in the United States and this, coupled with the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the nation, makes for very interesting reading, or living rather.
The state’s economy is mainly flanked by agriculture, manufacturing and automotive industries. Also of notable importance is healthcare and education, not forgetting the two prestigious universities based here: Purdue and Notre Dame.
A report by the Indiana Business Review notes that in 2010, Indiana’s economy grew twice as fast as the rest of the nation, with similar results experienced in the subsequent three years.
With things going so swimmingly in this state, perhaps it didn’t come as a surprise when Money Magazine named Fishers, Indiana the No.1 best place to live in America in 2017.
If you are planning to make an in-state move or put down roots here, below, we reveal the 15 best places to live in Indiana.
Money Magazine named Carmel the best small city to live in the United States in 2015, but Niche.com has thrust it back into the limelight by declaring it No.1 in its Best Places to Live in Indiana ranking.
The town of more than 85,300 people is located in Hamilton County, less than 16 miles from the state’s capital, Indianapolis.
The residents of Carmel are some of the most highly educated of the cities in this state, with more than 67% of them holding a college degree. They also take their children to some of the best public schools in the nation.
The crime rate is at a bare minimum, and the area is generally made up of clean neighbourhoods that serve to add to the appeal.
$200,000 is enough to buy you a nice three-bedroom single-family home, complete with a spacious yard and own driveway.
Median home value, however, stands at $304,400 – one of the costliest in the state.
As alluded to earlier, Fishers was named the best place to live in the country in 2017 by Money Magazine. The Hamilton County city has also won accolades from other national publications, including Forbes and Business Week.
With a population of slightly more than 83,000, Fishers sits less than 20 miles from Indianapolis. The affluent community boasts some of the best public schools in the state, with safe neighbourhoods you would feel free to walk your kids in.
Home prices in the city of Fishers are testament to Indiana’s low cost of living, with median home value standing at $216,900.
The area has a wide selection of restaurants numbering over 100, and you are sure to find a couple of favourites from the plethora of options that range from elegant dining spots, to cosy family-friendly joints.
Munster is a town in Lake County that lies 15 miles west of the city of Gary. The bedroom community sits in the Chicago metropolitan area, with roughly 30 miles separating it from Chicago’s CBD, the Chicago Loop, in other words.
The crime rate in Munster is far from inviting, but it is still some way below the state average.
Homes in this area are valued at $207,500 on average, and the schools receive one of the biggest funding in the state. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the schools in Munster are some of the highest performing in Indiana.
Munster residents are also well remunerated, taking home $70,503 per household on average, which is significantly higher than many Indiana towns and cities.
Unfortunately, the unemployment rate in the area is one of the highest in the state (7.6 per cent). If that could get sorted out, life around these parts could look rosier than it already is.
Truth be told, the crime rate in Plainfield could do with a little improvement. Other than that, though, the residents here have a lot to smile about.
Located about 20 miles southwest of Indy, the mid-sized city of about 30,000 people is known for two things in particular: a low cost of living and an emphasis on community.
Median home value in Plainfield stands at $146,600, and if you are looking to get into a rental, the going rate is $935 per month.
Plainfield has a lot of trails ideal for biking and taking long walks. It is especially popular with families who appreciate the lower cost of living and family-friendly amenities, although there are plenty of professionals still living here.
Crime and safety doesn’t seem to be a strongpoint of many towns and suburbs in Indiana, and it is the same case in Warsaw.
But there is a reason we have listed it here.
If you are planning to start a business in Indiana, this is one of the few places to be. The town of 14,385 residents based in Kosciusko County is among the top 5 places to start a business in the Hoosier State, according to Nerd Wallet.
Warsaw also boasts a strong healthcare industry. Matter of fact, it is home to three major orthopaedic companies – Biomet, Zimmer and DePuy – the reason it prides itself as the Orthopaedic Manufacturing Capital of the World.
Other major employers include Medtronic, Tecomet and Paragon Medical, based in Pierceton.
Residents take home $46,195 on average per household, and although this may look like little, it very much reflects the median income in the state.
Good thing is, the cost of living here is low as it is across the Indiana board, with homes going for $115,300.
6. West Lafayette
West Lafayette is the seat of Purdue, one of the most prestigious public universities in the country. That basically makes it a college town.
Its population stands at 44,000, and the presence of a university in the area means the people are a pretty diverse bunch.
West Lafayette is a beautiful place, as anyone who has been to Purdue will admit. It has established a culture of friendliness and politeness, so any new faces in the area should blend right in.
Expectedly, most of the people here are college educated. But it would be remiss to talk about education in this Tippecanoe County town and fail to mention its public school district, one of the best performing in Indiana.
West Lafayette boasts a lovely downtown with lots of restaurants and shopping. If you are interested in the hard figures, median home value stands at $178,500, and the residents fork out $837 on average in rent.
7. Fort Wayne
With a population of more than 257,000, Fort Wayne is the second largest city in the state of Indiana, and its metropolitan holds well over 415,000 people.
If good schools and a very low crime rate are what you are looking for in your ideal location, Fort Wayne isn’t for you.
The mid-sized city is best suited for those in search of a “nice” affordable place to live, with a low commute time and bustling nightlife. That just about fits the description of a young professional.
The cost of living in Fort Wayne is not in line with what you would expect of a typical city. Homes average $100,700; rent is also low, averaging $670 a month.
Indeed, GoBankingRates.com listed Fort Wayne as one of the “15 Best Places to Live If You’re Trying to Save Money”.
What about the median income, you may be curious?
It stands at $43,774.
Next up on our list of best places to live in Indiana is Batesville, a small town of 6,400 residents located in Ripley County.
It warrants an inclusion as it boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, a fact that will endear it to job hunters. There are two major employers in town namely, Hill-Rom (a healthcare company) and Batesville Casket Co.
Median household income is higher compared to many parts of Indiana, sitting at $54,464.
As well, the area is ideal for families, and the public schools in the area are among the best in the state.
Located in Johnson County is the small town of Bargersville whose population numbers just 6,500.
Despite its small size, it has a pretty strong school district, and you can’t help but infer this is one of the biggest draws for families in the area. They are also lured by the area’s status as one of the safest suburbs in a state rampant with common crime.
Life too is very affordable in Bargersville. Anyone looking to purchase a home in the area can budget for around $150,000. This is just enough to secure you a two- to three-bed two-bath property, depending on location.
Households in this town enjoy some of the highest incomes around, averaging $70,833.
The capital city of Indiana is located in Marion County. It is the 15th largest city in America by population, with the latest census figures putting the number of residents at 855,164.
As with every major city anywhere, the crime rate in the big city is wanting, but it’s not like the happy residents who reside here live in a perpetual state of fear.
It is actually highly desirable for families, Indianapolis; same case for anyone who loves a fast-paced city lifestyle but not to the crazy levels of a mammoth entity like New York.
The home prices in Indianapolis are reflective of the state’s low cost of living; so low you will be hard pressed to find many cities of this size with home values which average $118,300.
There are plenty of amazing amenities in the city that include the Indianapolis Zoo, the Children’s Museum, numerous sporting events, as well as the many amenities you would associate with a big city.
Over in Bartholomew County sits one of the best towns to live in Indiana.
Columbus is a big town of close to 46,000 people who enjoy fairly high incomes averaging $56,816. The high-paying jobs can be attributed to the presence of several big-name employers who include, among others, the manufacturing arm of Toyota, as well as Cummins Diesel.
Residents and the many visitors who come to the area enjoy a diverse range of outdoor activities that include golf, cycling, hiking and canoeing.
Columbus also boasts plenty of antique stores, specialty shops and major retailers in the vicinity, making it a darling for the shoppers at heart.
As well, it is not short of amazing places to whet your appetite, with the Bistro 310 one of the local favourites.
Westfield is one of the best places to live in Indiana, thanks to a combination of multiple factors.
For one, the Indianapolis suburb has some of the best performing schools in the state, both private and public. The residents also enjoy short commute times, due to the area’s proximity to the city.
The job sector is as healthy as you will find in the state, and the jobs on offer are some of highest paying in Indiana, with households taking home a combined $86,025.
For a place associated with a high cost of living, the fat paychecks are more than welcome. Westfield has some of the most expensive homes in the state, averaging $220,800 – which is considered high in Indiana.
Dyer is a town in Lake County whose population stands at 16,257.
It sprung into the public limelight more than 10 years ago when it was listed as one of the best 100 places to live in the U.S. by both CNN and Money Magazine, and it is a fete the town strives to uphold even to this day.
The residents of Dyer enjoy some of the highest incomes in Indiana, earning almost $80,000 a year. Property values are also among the highest in the state ($190,600).
Incidences of crime are low in relation to the rate in the state.
When you throw in outstanding schools into the whole equation, it is easy to see why families in particular flock to this beautiful town that lies just south of Munster.
Highland is another representation of Lake County on our list that goes to show the high desirability of the county.
It sits near Lake Michigan’s Calumet Shoreline, just within proximity of Gary and Hammond. The town is home to more than 23,200 people who enjoy an exceptionally safe environment.
Its residents are highly educated and they also get to school their kids in some of the best public schools around.
Daily commute time averages just under 25 minutes, although this may stretch longer if you have to go to Hammond, Gary or the Chicago area which is within driving distance.
The listing price for homes in Highland swings about the $150,000-mark. This should be music to the ears of the residents who take home an average $61,806.
We may have included it last, but you won’t find better places to live in Indiana than Zionsville. Actually, it consistently ranks among the best places to live in the U.S.
This is a suburb of Indianapolis that sits in Boone County and one that over 25,000 people call home. It has some of the best performing public schools in the country, and as far as crime goes, you won’t find a safer place in Indiana than Zionsville.
This is the most expensive area to live in Indiana, with the average home worth $337,900. To out-of-towners coming from places like New York and California, that is peanuts, but those peanuts in Indiana guarantee you one of the poshest neighbourhoods in the state.
Zionsville has the seventh highest incomes in Indiana, with residents taking home well over $100,000 a year.