Special Report

Here's the Most Expensive City to Rent in Every State

Median rents have hit record highs across the country, thanks to inflation and pandemic-related shortages of housing and building supplies. In many parts of the country, people who choose to rent may find it difficult to meet conventional wisdom’s rule that monthly rent should not exceed 30% of one’s monthly income. While rent prices are much more affordable in some parts of the country, in the vast majority of states there is at least one city where rents are especially high. 

To find the city with the highest rent in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median gross rent among places with at least 25,000 people from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.  It is important to note that the figures reflected here are for 2020, the most recent data available through the census. While prices today are much higher across much of the country, the most expensive rental market in each state in 2020 is likely still one of the most expensive markets in 2022. The national 2020 median rent was $1,096. In 42 of the 50 states, there is at least one city with a higher 2020 median gross rent.  

Housing costs reflect the income levels of the population living there. Costs tend to be more expensive in wealthier communities. Of the 50 cities on this list, 44 have higher typical household incomes compared to their home state and more than half have median household income of at least $100,000. The U.S. median household income is $64,996. University Park, Texas, which has a 2020 median monthly gross rent of $2,095, has a median annual household income of nearly a quarter of a million dollars. This is the richest town in every state.

Nationwide, 2020 median gross rent comes to 29.6% of median household income. As a result of higher incomes in the cities on the list, in 31 rent is actually relatively affordable. The affluent Silicon Valley community of Los Altos, California, has the highest median gross rent in the country. Nevertheless, with a median household income of just over $240,000, median gross rent comes to less than 20% of income. These are the U.S. cities where the most families need food stamps.

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