Special Report

States Where the Most People Rent Their Homes

Sundaemorning / iStock via Getty Images

A little over one-third of U.S. households rent their homes. While many associate homeownership with economic stability, renting is often a safer choice, granting more flexibility. At the same time, in cities across much of the country, for a large share of residents, particularly young ones, renting is the only financially feasible choice. 

To determine the states with the highest rental rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the share of housing units that are occupied by renters from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. 

Young people are far more likely to rent homes than buy. Well over half of all renters in the United States are under the age of 45, whereas that age group accounts for just one-quarter of homeowners. According to the census, 45.7% of Americans are under the age of 35. In Maine and West Virginia, which have the two lowest rental rates in the country, 38.7% and 40.8% of residents are under 35, the third smallest and smallest shares in the country, respectively. 

Renting has some distinct financial benefits and drawbacks. Renters are not tied long-term to a property, and as such are safe from the risk of defaulting on a mortgage or losing a substantial share of their equity if the housing market tanks, as many homeowners experienced firsthand during the 2007 bursting of the housing bubble leading to the Great Recession. 

On the other hand, renters are afforded less regulatory protection, and in high-demand and low-inventory markets like the current U.S. rental market, many landlords are hiking rents and tenants must pay larger and larger shares of their incomes. 

In states where a higher share of houses are rental units, properties tend to be less affordable than in states with fewer renters. Hawaii, Nevada, California, and New York, which have the four highest rental rates, all rank among the 10 least affordable rental markets.

Click here to see the states where the most people rent their homes
Click here to read our detailed methodology

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

50. West Virginia
> Rental occupied housing units: 26.3%
> Median rental cost: $732 (the lowest)
> Median home value: $123,200 (the lowest)
> Median household income: $48,037 (2nd lowest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

49. Maine
> Rental occupied housing units: 27.1%
> Median rental cost: $873 (19th lowest)
> Median home value: $198,000 (24th lowest)
> Median household income: $59,489 (19th lowest)

Source: Davel5957 / E+ via Getty Images

48. Minnesota
> Rental occupied housing units: 28.1%
> Median rental cost: $1,010 (23rd highest)
> Median home value: $235,700 (20th highest)
> Median household income: $73,382 (13th highest)

Source: pawel.gaul / E+ via Getty Images

47. Michigan
> Rental occupied housing units: 28.3%
> Median rental cost: $892 (22nd lowest)
> Median home value: $162,600 (11th lowest)
> Median household income: $59,234 (18th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: sframephoto / iStock via Getty Images

46. Delaware
> Rental occupied housing units: 28.6%
> Median rental cost: $1,150 (15th highest)
> Median home value: $258,300 (17th highest)
> Median household income: $69,110 (16th highest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

45. Vermont
> Rental occupied housing units: 28.7%
> Median rental cost: $999 (24th highest)
> Median home value: $230,900 (23rd highest)
> Median household income: $63,477 (23rd highest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

44. New Hampshire
> Rental occupied housing units: 28.8%
> Median rental cost: $1,145 (16th highest)
> Median home value: $272,300 (16th highest)
> Median household income: $77,923 (7th highest)

Source: dangarneau / iStock via Getty Images

43. Iowa
> Rental occupied housing units: 28.8%
> Median rental cost: $806 (6th lowest)
> Median home value: $153,900 (9th lowest)
> Median household income: $61,836 (24th lowest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images

42. Wyoming
> Rental occupied housing units: 29.0%
> Median rental cost: $853 (14th lowest)
> Median home value: $228,000 (24th highest)
> Median household income: $65,304 (20th highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

41. Idaho
> Rental occupied housing units: 29.2%
> Median rental cost: $887 (21st lowest)
> Median home value: $235,600 (21st highest)
> Median household income: $58,915 (17th lowest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

40. Utah
> Rental occupied housing units: 29.5%
> Median rental cost: $1,090 (18th highest)
> Median home value: $305,400 (10th highest)
> Median household income: $74,197 (12th highest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

39. South Carolina
> Rental occupied housing units: 29.9%
> Median rental cost: $918 (24th lowest)
> Median home value: $170,100 (15th lowest)
> Median household income: $54,864 (10th lowest)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

38. Indiana
> Rental occupied housing units: 30.5%
> Median rental cost: $844 (13th lowest)
> Median home value: $148,900 (6th lowest)
> Median household income: $58,235 (16th lowest)

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

37. Alabama
> Rental occupied housing units: 30.8%
> Median rental cost: $811 (7th lowest)
> Median home value: $149,600 (7th lowest)
> Median household income: $52,035 (6th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

36. Pennsylvania
> Rental occupied housing units: 31.0%
> Median rental cost: $958 (25th highest)
> Median home value: $187,500 (21st lowest)
> Median household income: $63,627 (22nd highest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

35. Mississippi
> Rental occupied housing units: 31.2%
> Median rental cost: $789 (5th lowest)
> Median home value: $125,500 (2nd lowest)
> Median household income: $46,511 (the lowest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

34. Montana
> Rental occupied housing units: 31.5%
> Median rental cost: $836 (11th lowest)
> Median home value: $244,900 (18th highest)
> Median household income: $56,539 (11th lowest)

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images

33. South Dakota
> Rental occupied housing units: 32.0%
> Median rental cost: $761 (3rd lowest)
> Median home value: $174,600 (16th lowest)
> Median household income: $59,896 (20th lowest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

32. New Mexico
> Rental occupied housing units: 32.0%
> Median rental cost: $857 (15th lowest — tied)
> Median home value: $175,700 (17th lowest)
> Median household income: $51,243 (5th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

31. Kentucky
> Rental occupied housing units: 32.4%
> Median rental cost: $783 (4th lowest)
> Median home value: $147,100 (5th lowest)
> Median household income: $52,238 (7th lowest)

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

30. Maryland
> Rental occupied housing units: 32.9%
> Median rental cost: $1,415 (3rd highest)
> Median home value: $325,400 (8th highest)
> Median household income: $87,063 (the highest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

29. Wisconsin
> Rental occupied housing units: 32.9%
> Median rental cost: $872 (18th lowest)
> Median home value: $189,200 (22nd lowest)
> Median household income: $63,293 (24th highest)

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

28. Missouri
> Rental occupied housing units: 32.9%
> Median rental cost: $843 (12th lowest)
> Median home value: $163,600 (12th lowest)
> Median household income: $57,290 (13th lowest)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

27. Virginia
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.3%
> Median rental cost: $1,257 (9th highest)
> Median home value: $282,800 (12th highest)
> Median household income: $76,398 (10th highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: felixmizioznikov / iStock via Getty Images

26. Louisiana
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.4%
> Median rental cost: $876 (20th lowest)
> Median home value: $168,100 (14th lowest)
> Median household income: $50,800 (4th lowest)

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

25. Tennessee
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.5%
> Median rental cost: $897 (23rd lowest)
> Median home value: $177,600 (18th lowest)
> Median household income: $54,833 (9th lowest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

24. Ohio
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.7%
> Median rental cost: $825 (9th lowest)
> Median home value: $151,400 (8th lowest)
> Median household income: $58,116 (15th lowest)

Source: JaySi / iStock via Getty Images

23. Illinois
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.7%
> Median rental cost: $1,038 (21st highest)
> Median home value: $202,100 (25th highest)
> Median household income: $68,428 (17th highest)

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

22. Nebraska
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.8%
> Median rental cost: $857 (15th lowest — tied)
> Median home value: $164,000 (13th lowest)
> Median household income: $63,015 (25th highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: LawrenceSawyer / E+ via Getty Images

21. Kansas
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.8%
> Median rental cost: $863 (17th lowest)
> Median home value: $157,600 (10th lowest)
> Median household income: $61,091 (21st lowest)

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images

20. Colorado
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.8%
> Median rental cost: $1,335 (7th highest)
> Median home value: $369,900 (4th highest)
> Median household income: $75,231 (11th highest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: felixmizioznikov / iStock via Getty Images

19. Florida
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.8%
> Median rental cost: $1,218 (11th highest)
> Median home value: $232,000 (22nd highest)
> Median household income: $57,703 (14th lowest)

Source: Jon Bilous / iStock via Getty Images

18. Connecticut
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.9%
> Median rental cost: $1,201 (12th highest)
> Median home value: $279,700 (13th highest)
> Median household income: $79,855 (5th highest)

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

17. Oklahoma
> Rental occupied housing units: 33.9%
> Median rental cost: $818 (8th lowest)
> Median home value: $142,400 (4th lowest)
> Median household income: $53,840 (8th lowest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

16. Arkansas
> Rental occupied housing units: 34.2%
> Median rental cost: $760 (2nd lowest)
> Median home value: $133,600 (3rd lowest)
> Median household income: $49,475 (3rd lowest)

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

15. North Carolina
> Rental occupied housing units: 34.3%
> Median rental cost: $932 (25th lowest)
> Median home value: $182,100 (19th lowest)
> Median household income: $56,642 (12th lowest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: razyph / iStock via Getty Images

14. Arizona
> Rental occupied housing units: 34.7%
> Median rental cost: $1,097 (17th highest)
> Median home value: $242,000 (19th highest)
> Median household income: $61,529 (23rd lowest)

Source: Jacob Boomsma / iStock via Getty Images

13. Alaska
> Rental occupied housing units: 35.2%
> Median rental cost: $1,240 (10th highest)
> Median home value: $275,600 (15th highest)
> Median household income: $77,790 (8th highest)

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

12. New Jersey
> Rental occupied housing units: 36.0%
> Median rental cost: $1,368 (4th highest)
> Median home value: $343,500 (6th highest)
> Median household income: $85,245 (2nd highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

11. Georgia
> Rental occupied housing units: 36.0%
> Median rental cost: $1,042 (20th highest)
> Median home value: $190,200 (23rd lowest)
> Median household income: $61,224 (22nd lowest)

Source: aiisha5 / iStock via Getty Images

10. Washington
> Rental occupied housing units: 36.7%
> Median rental cost: $1,337 (5th highest)
> Median home value: $366,800 (5th highest)
> Median household income: $77,006 (9th highest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

9. Oregon
> Rental occupied housing units: 37.2%
> Median rental cost: $1,173 (13th highest)
> Median home value: $336,700 (7th highest)
> Median household income: $65,667 (18th highest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

8. North Dakota
> Rental occupied housing units: 37.5%
> Median rental cost: $828 (10th lowest)
> Median home value: $199,900 (25th lowest)
> Median household income: $65,315 (19th highest)

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

7. Massachusetts
> Rental occupied housing units: 37.5%
> Median rental cost: $1,336 (6th highest)
> Median home value: $398,800 (3rd highest)
> Median household income: $84,385 (3rd highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Barbara Smyers / iStock via Getty Images

6. Texas
> Rental occupied housing units: 37.7%
> Median rental cost: $1,082 (19th highest)
> Median home value: $187,200 (20th lowest)
> Median household income: $63,826 (21st highest)

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

5. Rhode Island
> Rental occupied housing units: 38.4%
> Median rental cost: $1,031 (22nd highest)
> Median home value: $276,600 (14th highest)
> Median household income: $70,305 (15th highest)

[in-text-ad]

Source: JMKnewLife / iStock via Getty Images

4. Hawaii
> Rental occupied housing units: 39.7%
> Median rental cost: $1,651 (the highest)
> Median home value: $636,400 (the highest)
> Median household income: $83,173 (4th highest)

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

3. Nevada
> Rental occupied housing units: 42.9%
> Median rental cost: $1,159 (14th highest)
> Median home value: $290,200 (11th highest)
> Median household income: $62,043 (25th lowest)

Source: Richard Par / iStock via Getty Images

2. California
> Rental occupied housing units: 44.7%
> Median rental cost: $1,586 (2nd highest)
> Median home value: $538,500 (2nd highest)
> Median household income: $78,672 (6th highest)

[in-text-ad-2]

Source: Kirkikis / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

1. New York
> Rental occupied housing units: 45.9%
> Median rental cost: $1,315 (8th highest)
> Median home value: $325,000 (9th highest)
> Median household income: $71,117 (14th highest)

Methodology

To determine the states with the highest rental rates, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of the share of housing units that are occupied by renters from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

States were ranked based on the percentage of housing units that are occupied by renters. To break ties, we used the number of housing units that are occupied by renters.

 

Additional information on median rental cost, median home value, and median household income are also five-year estimates from the 2020 ACS. Because the Census Bureau didn’t release one-year estimates for 2020 due to data collection issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, all ACS data are five-year estimates.

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.