Last updated: February 2020

Renting Statistics

A curated resource for journalists & consumers on the latest data and insights about renting in the United States.

  • 36% Americans living in rental properties
  • 31% Average rental rate increase since 2010
  • 40.6% renters paying over 35% of income on rent
  • 127 hrs per week at minimum wage to afford an apartment

General Statistics

  • 44 million U.S. households rented their homes in 2019. The average age of the householder:
    • 22% were under 30
    • 33% were between 30 and 44
    • 30% were between 45 and 64
    • 15% were 65 or older
  • Nearly 109 million people made up these households, coming in around 36% of the population.
    • 50% of people under 30 live in rental housing
    • 23% of people between 30-44 live in rental housing
    • 19% of people between 45-64 live in rental housing
    • 8% of people over 65 live in rental housing
  • The number of renters has increased between 2006 and 2016 by 23 million, compared to the number of homeowners, who increased by less than 700,000 in the same period
  • 41% of rentals in the U.S. are urban, 44% are suburban, and 15% are considered rural
  • 26% of renters live in a detached single-family home
  • 18% of renters live in a building with fewer than 10 units
  • 17% of renters live in a building with 10-49 units
  • 18% of renters live in a building with 50+ units
  • 64% of renters pay an average application fee for a rental property of $50.00 and submit an average of 3.3 applications during a search for a rental property
  • 87% of renters pay a security deposit that averages $600.00
  • 30% of renters who owned dogs in 2018 moved within the previous year vs. 24% of cat owners
  • The national average monthly rent in 2019 was $1,476
  • The average value per square foot of an apartment to the owner is over $200 per square foot.
  • 65% of cities have average rents below the national average, and 35% have rates above the national average

 

Regional Statistics

  • The top 10 most expensive cities to rent in the U.S. in 2018 were:
    • $4,119- Manhattan, NY
    • $3,579- San Francisco, CA
    • $3,388- Boston, MA
    • $3,249- San Mateo, CA
    • $3,124- Cambridge, MA
    • $2,952- Sunnyvale, CA
    • $2,929- Santa Clara, CA
    • $2,904- Jersey City, NJ
    • $2,801- Brooklyn, NY

 

 

  • The biggest percentage in year-over-year rent increases were in 8.4% in Queens, NY, 6.8% in Phoenix, AZ, 6.2% in Las Vegas, and 5.2% in Charlotte, NC.
  • The top 10 cities with the highest numbers of renter households earning over $150,000 a year in 2018 were:
    • 249,000-New York City, NY
    • 71,000- San Francisco, CA
    • 67,000- Los Angeles, CA
    • 39,000- Chicago, IL
    • 29,000- San Jose, CA
    • 27,000- San Diego, CA
    • 24,000- Houston, TX
    • 23,000- Washington, DC
    • 21,000- Seattle, WA
    • 19,000- Boston, MA
  • In comparison to the numbers, the top 10 cities with the highest average ratio of renter households earning over $150,000 looks a little different:
    • 2%- San Francisco, CA
    • 1%- San Jose, CA
    • 9%- Washington, DC
    • 2%- Seattle, WA
    • 7%- New York, NY
    • 11%- Boston, MA
    • 10%- San Diego, CA
    • 6%- Los Angeles, CA
    • 7%- Chicago, IL
    • 1%- Houston, TX
  • In 2016, there were 6.6 million rural rental properties in the U.S., with 82% costing less than $1,000 a month in rent
  • 47% of rural renters are cost-burdened vs 51.1% of urban renters

 

Renter Demographics

  • Immigrants make up nearly 20% of the number of renter households in the U.S.
  • Seniors aged 55 and up are increasingly becoming renters with a 28% increase between 2009 and 2015. This represented 2.5 million senior households becoming renters during that time.
  • Top-earning renters are the fastest-growing group of renters- between 2007 and 2017:
    • Renter households earning over $150,000 increased by 175%
    • Renter households earning between $100,000 and $150,000 increased by 111%
    • Renter households earning between $75,000 and $100,000 increased by 66%
    • Renter households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 increased by 32%
    • Renter households earning less than $50,000 increased by less than 0.2%

Renting and Homeownership

  • The top barriers to homeownership including being able to afford the down payment, monthly payments and bad credit.
    • 66% of white renters have concerns about down payment, compared to 50% of black renters, 63% of Asian renters, and 56% of Hispanic and Latino renters.
    • 60% of black renters have concerns about bad credit, compared to 44% of Hispanic and Latino renters, 29% white renters, and 20% Asian
  • 69% of millennial renters indicate they will always rent because they cannot afford to buy a home
  • 40% of millennial renters indicate they will always rent because they enjoy flexibility
  • 37% of millennial renters indicate they will always rent because they don’t want maintenance and other expenses associated with owning a home
  • 28% of millennial renters indicate they will always rent because owning a home is financially risky
  • Only 25% of millennial renters will be able to afford a 10% down payment on a new median-priced home in the next 5 years. Without student loan obligations, this number would increase to between 38% and 50% depending on the region.
  • In 2019, 12.3% of millennial renters nationwide plan to always rent, compared to 10.7% a year ago.
    • In Nashville, 3.6% of millennial renters plan to always rent
    • In San Jose, CA 18.2% of millennial renters always plan to rent

Economic Impact

  • The U.S. rental industry has increased by nearly 3.4% since 2014, bringing in over $176 billion in revenue in 2019.
  • The U.S. rental industry employs over 850,000 people.

The Renting Experience

  • 45% of renters regret renting vs. 8% of homeowners who regret buying
  • 47% of renters who moved in 2018 already planned to move in the following year
  • 90% of renters between the ages of 18 to 34 had one regret about their property.
  • 82% of renters over the age of 55 had regrets about their property.
    • 52% of renters feel renting prevents them from earning equity
    • 52% of renters had regrets about renting because they were unable to customize or improve the property
    • 50% felt the rent was too high
    • 40% felt their rental property was too small
    • 38% did not like the finishes or layout of their rental home
    • 34% felt there was not enough parking
    • 31% felt there were too many limitations on pet ownership
    • 29% felt their landlords were not responsive
    • 28% didn’t like their neighbors
    • 27% felt the property was in an undesirable location
    • 23% were unhappy about the length of their lease
  • 93% of renters with children are more likely to have concerns about their rental property vs. 86% of renters who do not have children
  • 43% of units renting for under $800.00 in the U.S. are in buildings that are over 50 years old
  • Nearly 50% of households living in pre-1970 low-rent units are single, 26% are families including children
  • Nearly 30% of Americans have negative connotations associated with renters.
    • 33% of renters have this belief
    • 28% of homeowners have this belief
  • 86% of Americans equate homeownership with personal success and security.
  • 73% of Americans have anxiety when rent is due
  • 62% of renters indicate they feel they are losing money by renting

Affordability:

  • The average rent increase in the past 5 years has been 3.2%.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Americans are stressed about paying rent each month.
    • 6% feel making rent is extremely stressful
    • 9% indicate making rent is very stressful
    • 27% indicate making rent is moderately stressful
    • 31% indicate making rent is slightly stressful
    • 27% indicate making rent is not at all stressful
  • 31% of renters paid more in 2019 for their home than they budgeted:
    • 26% indicated their budget was not realistic for their desired neighborhood
    • 23% indicated their budget was not realistic for desired size of rental property
    • 23% indicated they fell in love with a property above their price point
  • 29% of renters in single-family properties are paying more than they initially budgeted vs. 40% of renters in multifamily apartments
  • The number of low-rent properties has shrunk by 4 million since 2011
  • The median-wage worker cannot afford a 1-bedroom apartment in most counties in the United States.
  • The 2019 national housing wage is $22.96 for a 2-bedroom rental and $18.65 for a 1-bedroom rental
  • Most rents are out of reach. National averages:
    • $231- Affordable rent for a household relying on SSI income
    • $377- Affordable rent for a household relying on the income of one person making the Federal minimum wage
    • $644- Affordable rent for a family of four with income at poverty level
    • $913- Rent affordable to full-time worker making average renter wage
    • $970- Average Fair Market Rent for 1-bedroom apartment
    • $1,194- Average Fair Market Rent for 2-bedroom apartment
  • A worker earning the 2019 Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr must work 127 hours/week to afford a two bedroom rental home.
  • In 2017 only 37 units were available for every 100 extremely low income households (who earn up to 30% of the region’s median income
  • In 2018, 87% of new apartments built were considered high-end
    • 100% of apartments built in over half of the 30 largest cities in the U.S. were high-end developments
  • 28 million households in the U.S. are cost-burdened (spending more than 30% of income on rent)
    • 8 million households are severely rent-burdened
  • More than 10% of U.S. households spend at least half of their total income on housing
  • The number of cost-burdened renters has increased from 49.5% in 2017 to 49.7% in 2018.
  • 8% of cost-burdened renters earned less than $15,000 in 2017
  • Persons of color are more likely to be cost-burdened:
    • 9% of black renters
    • 5% of Hispanic or Latino renters
    • 7% of Asian renters
    • 6% of white renters
  • Over 805,000 renter households were threatened with eviction in 2017
    • 60% said they would move to a new home
    • 34% would have to move in with family or friends
    • 5% would split up households or move to a homeless shelter
  • Households with children are more likely to face eviction:
    • 1% of single-parent households struggled to make rent within previous 3 months in 2017 vs. 14.7% for single households with no children
  • 3% of evictions in 2017 were due to non-payment of rent
    • 5% were due to lease violation
    • 7% were due to the property being put to another use
    • 4% were due to foreclosure
  • More than 54% of renters delayed medical care to make rent
    • 42% of renters delayed routine check-ups
    • 38% of renters avoided seeking treatment while ill
    • 35% of renters delayed buying over-the-counter medication while ill
  • 31% of medical professionals indicate 25% of their patients have concerns about affordable housing, this number increases to 42% in large metropolitan areas
  • 78% of medical professionals believe their lower-income patients would pay rent before medical bills
  • Severely rent-burdened renters indicated to medical professionals that their health had been affected by housing-related issues:
    • 47% indicated lack of access to outdoor spaces in their rental property
    • 48% indicated exposure to indoor toxins in their rental property
    • 38% indicated air quality concerns in their rental property
    • 89% indicated finances, particularly rent- are the biggest source of stress
  • 48% of Millennial parents expect to contribute all of their children’s rent in 2017 vs 18% of other affluent parents.
  • The number of renters who get assistance from parents or other family in paying rent:
    • 20%- Gen Z, receiving an average of 67% of their rent
    • 7%- Millennial, receiving an average of 47% of their rent
    • 5%- Gen X
    • 5%- Baby Boomers & Silent Generation

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people rent their homes in the U.S.?

In 2019, 44 million householders were renting their homes. This accounts for nearly 36% of the entire U.S. population.

How much does a worker have to make to afford an apartment?

In 2019, the average wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment was $22.96, and $18.65 for a 1-bedroom rental. Unfortunately, in many states, the numbers are much higher. For example, in California, a worker must make $34.69 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment. In West Virginia, a worker making $14.60 can afford a two-bedroom apartment.

 

A median-age worker cannot afford a 1-bedroom apartment in 90% of counties in the United States. In fact, a worker making the Federal minimum wage would have to work over 127 hours a week to afford the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment.

 

What is the average cost to get into an apartment?

Over 64% of renters pay an application fee that is usually around $50.00 to cover the administrative work and background check fees. If approved, 87% of renters pay a security deposit averaging at about $600.00. Pet deposits can run as high as $1500.00.

Where are people renting the most?

Most renters are in suburban areas, making up 44% of the renter population. Urban dwellers make up 41%, and those renting in rural areas account for 15% of the population of the U.S. renting their homes.

Which cities have the highest rent?

65% of cities have rents below the national average, and 35% have rates above the national average. Within that 35% are the usual suspects: Manhattan and San Francisco are consistently the most expensive cities for rentals, but within some neighborhoods, there are still many rentals available at far below the averages listed for each city.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that some neighborhoods are insanely expensive, sending the averages for the rest of the city up. Other cities that have high average rents are Boston, MA, San Mateo, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Cambridge, MA, Sunnyvale, CA, Santa Clara, CA, Jersey City, NJ, Miami Beach, FL, and Brooklyn, NY.

What does cost-burdened mean?

Cost-burdened means that a renter or household is paying more than 30% of their income to pay for rent and other fees associated with renting their home. The United States National Housing Act of 1937 set to establish standards for public housing eligibility, and the revision in 1981 determined that renters who pay more than 30% of their income are considered cost-burdened. 

 

In most cities, over half of renters are considered severely cost-burdened. This threshold is over 50% of income spent on rent. These households are frequently at risk for eviction and often have to make sacrifices in other areas, such as buying food or medical expenses.