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US Cities Where Rent Is (and Isn’t) Affordable for the Average Income Earner

·2 min read
Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

It's becoming increasingly difficult to find affordable places to rent in cities across America, as the rise in rent prices continues to increase at a much faster rate than wages. According to a recent study conducted by Clever's Real Estate Witch, from 1985 to 2020, rent prices increased 149%, while income grew just 35%. That means that rent prices have increased about four times faster than income during that time period.

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Because rents are rising faster than income, many Americans are having to put a larger percentage of their hard-earned dollars toward rent. The Clever study also found that, from 1985 to 2020, the median U.S. rent-to-income ratio nearly doubled, from 9% to 17%.

Of course, the percent of income the average earner will put toward rent varies greatly from city to city, with some cities remaining affordable for the average earner, and others falling out of reach.

Here's a look at the six cities out of the 50 largest metro areas where the rent-to-income ratio is on par with or less than the national average of 17% -- and five where it has exceeded the recommended 30%.

Mike Liu / Shutterstock.com
Mike Liu / Shutterstock.com

Cities Where Rent Is Affordable for the Average Income Earner

There are four metro areas where the rent-to-income ratio is lower than the national median of 17%, and two cities where it is just about the median.

TriggerPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
TriggerPhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6. Kansas City, Missouri

  • Median rent: $978

  • Median income: $69,240

  • Rent-to-income ratio: 16.95%

Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com
Sharkshock / Shutterstock.com

5. Raleigh, North Carolina

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

4. San Antonio

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Cincinnati

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

2. Oklahoma City

f11photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto
f11photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. St. Louis

Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cities Where Rent Is Not Affordable for the Average Income Earner

A good financial rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30% of your income on rent. Unfortunately, in five of the 50 largest U.S. cities, median income earners need to spend more than that to afford the average rental.

Here's a look at the cities with the least affordable rent for the average income earner.

choness / Getty Images/iStockphoto
choness / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Los Angeles

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

4. San Jose, California

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

3. Miami

Ron_Thomas / Getty Images
Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

2. San Diego

Nicolas McComber / Getty Images
Nicolas McComber / Getty Images

1. San Francisco

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: US Cities Where Rent Is (and Isn’t) Affordable for the Average Income Earner