The 16 cities where Americans struggle the most to pay rent

Richard Heyes/FlickrSan Francisco is on the list.
  • Residents in 16 cities across America are spending a higher share of their income on rent than the national level, according to Zillow.
  • It’s toughest for low-income earners.
  • Home prices have increased faster than incomes since the recession, and rising mortgage rates are making the market more expensive.

Housing is getting more unaffordable across America.

That’s largely because since the recession, home prices have been rising faster than incomes, and builders aren’t able to keep up with the demand for affordable housing.

It’s affecting both homeowners who pay mortgages and people who rent. According to Zillow, the median US rent requires 28.4% of the median income, up from the historic average of 25.8%.

The financial burden is worst for low-income renters. In Los Angeles for example, rent costs more than 100% of the typical income for the lowest-earning residents. “That leaves few options to realistically afford rent and other expenses on a typical income, outside of a housing subsidy, doubling up with roommates or taking on a second or even a third job to help make ends meet,” Zillow said in its report.

The list below, based on Zillow’s data, highlights the US cities where the share of income spent on rent during the second quarter was higher than the overall national level of 28.40%, and is ranked from the least to the most. Financial planners generally recommend spending no more than 30% of gross income on rent.

In all 16 cities, renters are spending more of their money on housing than the historic trend.


Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Median income: $US54,876

Share of income spent on rent: 28.40%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 21.8%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Houston, Texas

f11photo/Shutterstock

Median income: $US47,010

Share of income spent on rent: 28.80%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 24.40%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Portland, Oregon

Shutterstock

Median income: $US58,423

Share of income spent on rent: 29.90%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 23.50%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Seattle, Washington

Median income: $US74,458

Share of income spent on rent: 30.90%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 23.80%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Tampa, Florida

Ramunas Bruzas/Shutterstock

Median income: $US45,874

Share of income spent on rent: 31%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 27.60%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Orlando, Florida

Shutterstock

Median income: $US44,007

Share of income spent on rent: 31.50%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 22.70%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Denver, Colorado

EdgeOfReason/Shutterstock

Median income: $US56,258

Share of income spent on rent: 32%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 23.60%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Sacramento, California

Median income: $US52,071

Share of income spent on rent: 32.40%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 31.80%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Boston, Massachusetts

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Median income: $US58,516

Share of income spent on rent: 32.70%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 26.40%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


San Jose, California

Median income: $US90,303

Share of income spent on rent: 35.60%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 26.10%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Riverside, California

Median income: $US58,979

Share of income spent on rent: 36.80%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 32.70%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


New York, New York

Median income: $US55,191

Share of income spent on rent: 37.70%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 26.30%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


San Francisco, California

Median income: $US87,701

Share of income spent on rent: 39.20%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 30.60%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


San Diego, California

Shutterstock

Median income: $US68,117

Share of income spent on rent: 40.30%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 34.70%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Median income: $US41,645

Share of income spent on rent: 40.30%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 28.60%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California

Shutterstock

Median income: $US55,151

Share of income spent on rent: 46.90%

Historic share of income spent on rent (1985-2000): 36.30%

Sources: Zillow, Census Bureau


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