U.S. Census Bureau
U.S. Department of Commerce News


Mike Bergman                                       CB03-90
Public Information Office                                             
(301) 763-3030/457-3670 (fax)
(301) 457-1037 (TDD)
e-mail: pio@census.gov                             Ranking table [Excel]
Highs and Lows of Renting California Cities Have Highest Rents in Nation, Census 2000 Reveals Irvine, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Fremont, Calif., recorded the highest median gross rents among large U.S. cities all at or above $1,200 a month according to a report based on Census 2000 released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. The only non- California city in the top high-rent tier was Stamford, Conn. (see Table 1). The national median gross rent was $602. Brownsville, Texas, and Erie, Pa., renters paid the lowest monthly rents at $405 and $424 a month, respectively (see Table 2). According to Housing Costs of Renters: 2000 [PDF], median gross rent in Hawaii ($779) surpassed that of all other states, just as it did in 1990. New Jersey ($751) was second and California ($747) was third. Renters in California led the nation in the share of their incomes spent on rent 27.7 percent. Renters in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming spent the lowest share 23.4 percent or less. For the first time in 50 years, the proportion of household income spent on rent decreased between decades, from 26.4 percent in 1990 to 25.5 percent in 2000. (See attached chart.) The decrease occurred in almost every state, with the largest declines widely scattered: Michigan in the Midwest; Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi in the South; and New Hampshire in the Northeast. Other highlights: - Median monthly rents were lowest in West Virginia ($401), North Dakota ($412) and South Dakota ($426). - Colorado, Idaho and Utah experienced increases of more than 20 percent in median gross rent between 1990 and 2000. Rates, adjusted for inflation, rose by 10 percent or more in another four states: Arizona, Montana, Oregon and Washington. - Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only states posting double-digit percentage decreases in median gross rent, at around 11 percent. - Single-race African-American householders and those with a householder classified as two or more races paid the highest proportion of their income (27.6 percent) for rent. Single-race white householders paid the lowest (24.8 percent). Hispanic households were above the national average (27.0 percent). - Rent was highest for single-family attached units ($688), which generally were townhouses and row houses. The median for one-family detached houses was $648. The Census Bureau defines gross rent as the amount of rent, plus the estimated average monthly cost of fuel and utilities. The data are based on the sample of households responding to the long form. Nationally, about 1-in-6 housing units were included in the sample. Estimates in the report are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. -X-

Table 1: 10 Highest Rent Cities
Place Renter-occupied units paying cash rent Median gross rent
Irvine, Calif. 20,147 $1,272
Sunnyvale, Calif. 27,158 $1,270
Santa Clara, Calif. 20,337 $1,238
Fremont, Calif. 23,782 $1,196
Thousand Oaks, Calif. 10,007 $1,131
San Jose, Calif. 103,317 $1,123
Daly City, Calif. 11,964 $1,074
Simi Valley, Calif. 7,932 $1,058
Stamford, Conn. 19,283 $1,007
Huntington Beach, Calif. 28,514 $   985

Note: Because of sampling error, the estimates in these tables may not be significantly different
from one
another or from rates for geographic areas not listed in these tables.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Population and Housing decennial volumes.


Table 2: 10 Lowest Rent Cities
Renter-occupied units paying cash rent Median gross rent
Brownsville, Texas 13,633
Erie, Pa. 17,153
St. Louis, Mo. 75,581
Louisville, Ky. 51,102
Cincinnati, Ohio 88,512
Birmingham, Ala. 43,681
Dayton, Ohio 30,787
Springfield, Mo. 28,916
Evansville, Ind. 20,079
Laredo, Texas 15,425

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Population and Housing decennial volumes.


Chart: Gross Rent as a Percentage of Income: 1950 to 2000

For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions,
see www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/doc/sf3.pdf.

chart:  Gross Rent as a Percentage of Income: 1950 to 2000

Note: Income of Families and Primary Individuals for 1950-1970; household income for 1980-2000

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Population and Housing, decennial volumes.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Public Information Office
(301) 763-3030

Last Revised: May 29, 2003 at 08:59:22 AM

Skip this main site 
navigation menu Newsroom | News Releases | Broadcast Services | Tip Sheets | Facts for Features | Minority Links

Skip this navigation
Page Last Modified: May 29, 2003