Cities where residents pay more than 30% of income on monthly rent

Above: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels Real Estate | 26 Aug |

U.S. mortgage rates are reaching historic lows, and while many are pulling back from investing right now, most Americans spend more than 30% of their income on monthly rent. 

The home security experts and data analysts at Vio Security have calculated how much people in each city spend in rent relative to their income

Vio Security analyzed over 2,000 cities and it’s no surprise that over 80% of residents in Isla Vista, Calif., and Shirley, NY, pay more than 30%. Morrisville, NC, has the lowest percentage: only 24.5% of residents spend more than 30%.

Florida, overall, has the highest number of residents that spend more than advised, with 57% of the state exceeding the golden rule with housing: never spend more than 30% of your monthly income on rent. North Dakotans are the ones who are using the least amount of their income to pay rent—only 39.7% of residents pay more than 30%. 

Interesting Findings

• The five Arizona cities where the greatest percentage of people spend more than 30% of their monthly income on rent are Sun City West (74.2%), Eloy (59.9%) Flagstaff (58.5%), Tucson (55.8%), and Nogales (54.5%).

• The five Arizona cities where the smallest percentage of people spend more than 30% of their monthly income on rent are Queen Creek (32%), Goodyear (38.8%), Buckeye (38.9%), Chandler (39.9%), and Marana (39.9%).

• With only 24.5% of residents paying over 30% Gross Rent as a Percent of Household Income (GRAPI), Morrisville, NC, is statistically the best city for renters. Roughly half of housing units (51.3%) in Morrisville are renter-occupied, and at $95,763, the median income in Morrisville is comfortably high.

• Isla Vista, CA, leads the charge as the city that has the highest percentage of residents who spend more than 30% of their income on rent. In Isla Vista, 82.4% of residents spend more than 30% of their income on housing—likely because it’s home to many UC Santa Barbara students with little income of their own. That means over 80% of Isla Vista residents put nearly 75% of their income towards housing.

• Shirley, New York isn’t much better than Isla Vista, CA. Shirely has a median income of $84,312, plus a massive median rent of $2,032. At that rate, 81.4% of residents pay over 30% of their paycheck for housing.

• Only 39.7% of renters in North Dakota pay more than 30% GRAPI, the least of any state. Meanwhile, a whopping 57% of renters in Florida pay 30%+ GRAPI, the most of any state. Florida is the third-most populated state, and its housing costs are only getting more competitive as a result.

• Boston, New York City, and San Francisco have some of the highest housing costs in the country, but they didn’t pull significantly high on our list since they have some of the highest salaries in the country. Since salary is matched to the cost of living, these cities didn’t rank the worst on our list (but it doesn’t mean people there aren’t spending more than 30% of their paycheck on rent).

• With median rents under $600, some cities with the cheapest median rent are Johnstown, PA, East St. Louis, IL, Nogales, AZ, and West Mifflin Borough, PA—just to name a few.

• Ohio had three cities with the lowest rent on our list, and of the top 100 cities on our overall rent vs. income list, 13 of them are in Ohio—that’s more than any other state.

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