The Least Affordable U.S. Cities For Rent On An Average Salary

By U Cast Studios
February 7, 2024

The Least Affordable U.S. Cities For Rent On An Average Salary
Image Courtesy Of Visual Capitalist
A chart listing the least affordable U.S. cities.

In 2023, 34% of the 131 million households in the U.S. lived in rented homes.

This article was written by Pallavi Rao and originally published by NeoMan Studios and Visual Capitalist.

But which U.S. cities are the least affordable to rent in? With runaway housing prices and local salaries struggling to keep up, some of America’s largest metros feel quite unaffordable.

To answer the question more concretely, CashNetUSA found rental price data (as of August 2023) from and compared it to city salary data to calculate the percentage of properties available to rent for 30% or less of the local average income.

Which Cities are the Least Affordable?

It turns out that plenty of places are shockingly unaffordable for renters. In MiamiCambridge, and Boston, fewer than 10% of the rental listings are affordable on a the average salary.

For context, Miami’s annual mean salary is close to $59,000, and the Boston-Cambridge area comes in at $80,000 a year. These places are also expensive for homeowners, with both Boston and Miami being in the 10 most expensive cities in the U.S. to buy a home in.

Here are the results for all cities in CashNetUSA’s study, sorted from most to least affordable:

Note: Data current as of August, 2023.

Joining Boston and Miami in the most unaffordable cities is Chula Vista in California, where exactly one in 10 the rental listings could be classified as affordable. That’s fewer than New York’s results (11.63%).

California has four of the top 20 most unaffordable cities for renters, and ranks fifth in the list of states by income inequality.

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