24 Cities Where You Must Work Overtime Just to Pay the Rent

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Apartment for rent sign in front of an apartment building
dc_slim / Shutterstock.com

If you live near a coast, it’s getting tougher to pay the rent.

Across the nation, rent increases have slightly exceeded wage growth over the past 10 years, according to a report by Self.

The website says data from Zillow and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that between 2010 and 2019, the median monthly rent for a one-bedroom home rose by 20.5%, while the median hourly wage grew 17.6%.

But the situation is much tougher along the coasts. According to Self, the gap between wages and rents has “skyrocketed” in a few places:

“Overall, coastal states are the least affordable for renters. In Hawaii, California, New York, and Massachusetts, someone earning the median hourly wage would need to work between 50 and 60 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental without being considered cost-burdened.”

In the following metropolitan areas, all with populations of at least 100,000, you must work more than 50 hours a week at the local median wage simply to afford a one-bedroom place without spending more than 28% of your gross income on rent:

  1. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California: 82.8 hours per week
  2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California: 78.8 hours
  3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California: 68.0 hours
  4. Salinas, California: 67.5 hours
  5. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California: 65.5 hours
  6. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California: 63.6 hours
  7. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii: 61.2 hours
  8. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California: 60.9 hours
  9. San Diego-Carlsbad, California: 59.6 hours
  10. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, Massachusetts-New Hampshire: 59.5 hours
  11. Santa Rosa, California: 58.8 hours
  12. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida: 57.7 hours
  13. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California: 56.9 hours
  14. New York-Newark-Jersey City, New York-New Jersey-Pennsylvania: 56.6 hours
  15. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii: 56.6 hours
  16. Napa, California: 55.4 hours
  17. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida: 53.1 hours
  18. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida: 52.9 hours
  19. Danbury, Connecticut: 52.5 hours
  20. Vallejo-Fairfield, California: 51.2 hours
  21. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington: 51.1 hours
  22. Asheville, North Carolina: 51.1 hours
  23. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-North Carolina: 51.0 hours
  24. Flagstaff, Arizona: 50.9 hours

If those numbers look intimidating, we suggest you move to the Midwest or South. Self says states in those regions have the most affordable housing.

In fact, workers in metro areas in states such as Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky can log fewer than 30 hours a week on the job and still afford a one-bedroom rental.

Despite the rising cost of rent in some places, there are many areas where you can get a better deal renting than you would if you bought a home. For more, check out “13 Cities Where Renting Is Cheaper Than Owning a Home.”

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.