Key Highlights

  • 6 of top 10 cities where the highest number of work hours needed to pay rent in the West – California, Colorado and Washington, according to SmartAsset
  • 4 of those top 6 cities are in California with an average rent of $1,803
  • Annual rent in all 25 cities is requires more than 30% of average earnings
  • In Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose, housing costs are +50% of average earnings.

In 2017, according to the Pew Research Center, renters headed more households than at any point in time since 1965.

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In 2020, SmartAsset determined the hours of work required to pay monthly rents in the 25 largest cities in the US. SmartAsset used data based on these metrics to verify the work hours needed:

  • Average annual take-home pay
  • Average number of hours worked per year
  • Median rent

1. San Jose – 76 hours of work to pay monthly rent
– Median rent is $2,161/month or $26,000/year
– Median worker earns $40,596 after taxes with an estimated hourly wage at approximately $28/hour.

2. Los Angeles – nearly 74 hours of work to pay monthly rent
– Median rent is $1,474
– Average take-home pay is $26,740 or $19.96/hour

3. San Diego – over 73 hours of work to pay monthly rent
– Median rent is $1,697
– Average take-home pay is $32,400 after taxes and $23/hour

4. Boston – +67 hours of work to pay monthly rent
– Median rent is $1,647
– Average worker makes $33,000 after taxes or $24/hour

5. Denver – 61.4 hours to pay monthly rent
– Median rent is $1,330 (3rd lowest rent among top 10 cities)
– Average worker earns $34,335 after taxes or $21.65/hour

6. New York – +61 hours to pay monthly rent
– Median monthly rent is $1,443 across all 5 boroughs
– Take-home pay is $31,627/year or $23.52/hour

7. San Francisco – (tied with Seattle) 60.6 hours to pay monthly rent
– Median monthly rent is $1,880 (2nd highest rent among top 25 cities)
– Take-home pay is $50,002/year of $31.02/hour

8. Seattle (tied with San Francisco) 60.6 hours to pay monthly rent
– Median monthly rent is $1,699
– Take-home pay is $43,678/year or $28.04/hour
– Ranked as one of US boomtowns as defined by prosperity and robust development

9. Charlotte – nearly 59 hours to pay monthly rent
– Median monthly rent is $1,154 (2nd lowest monthly rent across top 10 cities)
– Take-home pay is $29,474 or $19.71/hour

10. Nashville (tied with Austin) 57 hours to pay monthly rent
– Median rent is $1,117/month or $13,404/year
– Take-home pay is $29,971 or $19.48/hour

11. Austin (tied with Nashville) 57.3 hours to pay monthly rent
– Median rent is $1,314
– $23.00/hour

12. Jacksonville FL – 56.0 hours
13. Portland OR – 55.4 hours
14. Phoenix AZ – 54.6 hours
15. Houston TX – 53.5 hours
16. Fort Worth TX – 52.9 hours
17. Dallas TX – 52.5 hours
18. San Antonio TX – 50.9 hours
19. Columbus OH – 50.8 hours
20. Washington DC – 50.1 hours
21. Philadelphia PA – 49.5 hours
22. Chicago IL – 48.4 hours
23. El Paso TX – 47.6 hours
24. Indianapolis IN – 46.8 hours
25. Detroit MI – 41.3 hours

Thanks to SmartAsset’s Nadia Ahmed for source data.

https://smartasset.com/checking-account/hours-of-work-needed-to-pay-rent-in-the-25-largest-cities-2020

Also read: All Home Buyers are Becoming Older, Three Satellite Cities Outshining Their Bigger Neighbors, Are Low Rates Driving Luxury Sales?