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 town where rents are especially high.
To find the town with the highest rent in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year estimates of median gross rent among places with at least 1,000 people and fewer than 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 48 of the 50 states, there is at least one town 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, 42 have higher typical household incomes compared to typical incomes statewide, and 22 have median household incomes of at least $100,000. The U.S. median household income is $64,996. Scarsdale, New York, part of Westchester County, an affluent suburb of New York City, is one of the few communities with a 2020 median gross rent in excess of $3,500. It 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 accounts for 29.6% of 2020 median household income. As a result of higher incomes in the cities on the list, in 30, rent is actually relatively affordable. In Hurstborough, Kentucky, the median rent comes to just 14.8% of typical income. On the other hand, in some other places on this list, higher incomes are not sufficient to match the higher rents. In Hanover, New Hampshire, and Lincolnshire, Illinois, gross rent is greater than half of income. These are the U.S. cities where the most families need food stamps.
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