How Does Cost of Living in Conway, Arkansas Compare to Other Cities?

Conway was recently named the eighth most affordable city in the United States by Kiplinger, and as part of one of the top 10 metros in the country for young professionals by Forbes, due in part to its housing affordability, cost of living, and other factors.

But how do those rankings stack up against real numbers? We decided to go in-depth, and take a look at how the City of Colleges compares to regional and peer cities, according to data from The Council for Community and Economic Research. These rankings are based on prices and data from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023.

Peer cities compared to Conway were: Bentonville, Arkansas; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Champaign, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Edmond, Oklahoma; Norman, Oklahoma; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Charleston, South Carolina; Memphis, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; and Denton, Texas.

Index Composite Puts Conway at the Top

An index composite of Conway and its peers gives a snapshot of key cost-of-living factors, including grocery, housing, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous, in addition to an overall composite score against the national average (100).

Compared to 12 of its peers across states like Oklahoma, Iowa, Tennessee, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas, and South Carolina, Conway enjoyed the lowest overall composite score (83.5). It was followed by Oklahoma City (84.1), Des Moines (86.2), and Memphis (87.8). Fayetteville (91.6) and Bentonville (91.6) were tied for seventh, respectively.

Conway was also most affordable in categories for grocery (90.6), healthcare (84.5), and miscellaneous (83.7). It’s housing index (73.6) was fourth-lowest and nearly 27% beneath the national average.

The Most Affordable Places to Live, Buy a Steak, See a Movie, and Visit the Doctor

Data from the Council for Community and Economic Research also allows to dive deep into costs for the everyday items like bread, milk, and ground beef, as well as review important costs like homes, rent, and doctor visits.

Conway had the second-lowest average rent ($799), trailing only Des Moines ($750). Oklahoma City ($855), Champaign ($912), and Edmond ($960) rounded out the top five. Fayetteville and Bentonville tied for the sixth-lowest rent at $963. The national average was $1,393.

In terms of average home price, Conway was sixth-lowest with an average home price of $367,067. It trailed Oklahoma City ($335,342), Des Moines ($340,828), Champaign ($345,065), Memphis ($355,220), and Denton ($360,434). Fayetteville and Bentonville trailed Conway with an average home price of $378,244.

Conway had the lowest average bill for a trip to the dentist’s office ($83.33), and the fourth-lowest average bill for a drip to the doctor ($108).

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