Over one-third of US households live in rental housing. While many associate home ownership with economic stability, renting is often a safer choice and more flexible. Moreover, in many cities across the country, renting is the only economically viable option for the majority of residents, especially young people.
To identify the town with the highest rent, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a five-year estimate of the share of residential units occupied by lessors from the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. A town was defined as a census site with a population of 1,000 or more and less than 25,000.
Nationwide, 35.6% of homes are for rent. Of the 50 cities on this list, the numbers range from 90.8% to an estimated 100% residential units. There are the most towns on this list, with eight in California, five in Hawaii, and four in Virginia.
According to the census, 23.2% of Americans are between the ages of 18 and 34. This age group occupies a larger share of the population everywhere on this list, with the majority accounting for more than half of the population. In the University of California, Davis Census Designated Area, 93.9% of residents are between the ages of 18 and 39 in an unincorporated area with a university campus of the same name. These are the universities with the largest increase in applicants.
Population density is a factor in the share of housing units occupied by lessors. In urban areas, the majority of residents live in high-rise rental buildings rather than single-family homes. The population density of the United States is 93 people per square mile. Almost every location on this list is densely populated, with half equivalent to at least 1,000 people per square mile.
This includes two locations, Isla Vista, California and Kaser, NY. These are among the top five towns in the country in terms of population per square mile. These are nine cities with a population of over 20 million.
To identify the town with the highest rent, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a five-year estimate of the share of residential units occupied by lessors from the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.
I used the “location” area of the census. This is a category that contains embedded legal entities and census-designated statistical entities. We have defined towns based on population thresholds — at least 1,000 and less than 25,000.
Towns were ranked based on the percentage of housing units occupied by the lessor.
Additional information on median rental costs, median home prices, and median household income is also a five-year estimate from 2020ACS.