Struggling to make rent each month? You’re not alone. Though financial experts suggest spending no more than 30% of your monthly income on housing, half of the 43 million Americans who rent an apartment are paying more than that to their landlord, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
It’s not just residents of big coastal cities or lower-income people who are confronting too-high prices when they set out to rent an apartment. In some cities — including Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Austin — 50% or more of middle-income renters (those with incomes between $30,000 and $45,000) are devoting more than 30% of their paychecks to rent, the center found. Among lower earners across the United States, between 75% and 84% are stuck in housing that’s not affordable.
So, how much are people really paying in rent? In several major U.S. cities, including New York and San Francisco, average rent for a one-bedroom apartment tops $2,500 a month, according to the April 2017 National Rent Report from real estate website Zumper. To put that in perspective, you’d need a household income in the six figures if you wanted to spend no more than 30% of your income on rent in either city.
So where can renters without that kind of cash live?