Key Highlights

  • Personal space during a pandemic is a desirable amenity
  • RentCafe used data from Yardi Matrix to determine which cities offered renters the most and least personal space

Living in the midst of a pandemic with shelter-in-pace restrictions, every square inch of personal space is worth its weight in gold.

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RentCafe just released a new study that indicates which of the country’s 100 largest cities offers the most and least personal space to its occupants. RentCafe researchers divided the average size of a rental apartment by the average number of renters per household in buildings with 50 or more units in each city.

Data on household size came from US Census data and each of NYC’s five boroughs were regarded as individual “cities.”

Counter-intuitively, cities with the smallest average apartment sizes were not the cities where renters had the least personal space. Rather than unit size, cost and availability (or lack of availability) of rentals were determined which cities provided renters with the most and least personal space.

Least Personal Space


Aver. Sq’/Renter       Aver. Sq’/Apt. Size

Santa Ana CA                      292                            859

Fremont CA                        318                             832

Queens NY                          329                             724

Chula Vista CA                    340                             869

Brooklyn NY                        351                             737

Anaheim CA                        353                             851

Hialeah FLA                         356                             830

Manhattan NY                     393                             747

El Paso TX                           397                             810

Los Angeles CA                    412                             791

Most Personal Space

Louisville KY                        731                             933

Winston-Salem NC               723                             916

Omaha NB                           689                             924

Kansas City KS                     685                             898

Greensboro NC                     685                             938

Boise ID                               678                             903

Atlanta GA                            677                             976

Richmond VA                         677                             865

Raleigh NC                            674                             959

Memphis TN                          671                             919

Santa Ana has the least personal space of all the 100 largest cities in the US because it has an average of 2.9 renters living in its medium sized units. Newark NJ, on the other hand, averages only 1.7 renters per apartment in its smallest average apartment size of 697 square feet. Therefore, Newark with its smallest apartment size comes in 11th as the most crowded for renters because each renter “gets” 416 square feet of personal space.

As you can see from the above charts, eight of the ten cities with the least amount of personal space live in New York and California while North Carolina has three of the top ten cities where renters have the most personal space.


Thanks to RentCafe and The New York Times.

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