Rent Payments Burden Americans the Most in These Cities & States

Published: 10-03-22    Category: Leasing/Renting

Specializes in providing actionable insights into the commercial real estate space for investors, brokers, lessors, and lessees. He covers quarterly market data reports, investment strategies, how-to guides, and top-down perspectives on market movements.

Rent burdens Americans

Renting an apartment in the United States has rapidly become a burden for millions of Americans, thanks to rising inflation, housing costs, and the end of the federal eviction moratorium.

In some states, nearly 25% of renters have claimed as recently as 2022 that they’re behind on monthly rent payments.

Below are some key findings:

  • Renters in South Dakota, Alabama, and New Jersey have the most trouble making their monthly payments.
  • Renters in Miami, Houston, and Philadelphia are most behind on their rent.
  • Data shows 15% or around 6 million American households, are behind on their rent payments this fall. This has remained consistent over the last 3 years (2020, 2021, 2022).
  • Americans aged 40 to 54 had the most difficulty keeping up with rent.

Our team of analysts at found that about 15% of Americans are not currently caught up on rent. Estimates from the most recent federal data available show this equates to around 6 million American households.

Nationally, the cost to rent an apartment rose 17.6% in 2021, according to The ever-increasing cost of rent is causing financial hardship for a relatively large percentage of the population in each state.

The top 10 states that have the highest percentage of renters unable to keep up on rent are, in order:

  1. South Dakota;
  2. Alabama;
  3. New Jersey;
  4. South Carolina;
  5. Connecticut;
  6. Delaware;
  7. Arkansas;
  8. Kentucky;
  9. Louisiana; and
  10. New York.

The percentages vary from state to state: In South Dakota, 22% of renters are behind on rent, while in Idaho, only 3% are behind on their rent.

Additionally, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota had the largest increase of renters unable to keep up on rent in 2022 compared to 2021.

Percent of states not caught up on rent top 10 states most behind on rent

The top 5 metros most behind on rent in 2022 are, in order:

  1. Miami;
  2. Houston;
  3. Philadelphia;
  4. New York; and
  5. Chicago.

In Miami, 25% of renters are behind on rent, one of the highest percentages in the country; in Phoenix, only 6% are behind on rent.

Miami, Riverside, and Philadelphia metros saw the biggest increase of renters unable to keep up with rent payments in 2022 compared to 2021. In Miami, the percentage of those unable to keep up on rent rose 10 basispoints since last year.

Coincidentally, entire states are struggling to keep up on rent just as much as their respective metros: The state of New York, for instance, had 19% behind on rent compared to New York City at 18%.

Rent seems to burden those in Miami just as much as those in the rest of the state: 19% of renters in Florida were behind on their payments compared to 25% in Miami.

Texas was no exception, with 16% of the state’s population behind on rent payments compared to Houston’s 21% and Dallas’s 15%.

Finally, Illinois and Chicago are both ranked high in our report, sitting at 16% and 18%, respectively.

cities not caught up on rent 2022, 2021, and 2020 metros behind on rent payments

More middle-aged Americans are falling behind on rent than younger and older generations. 22% of those aged 40 to 54 tend to be the most behind on rent out of all age groups.

behind on rent by age

A troubling aspect of these findings is that rent costs keep increasing. While the percentage of Americans unable to keep up on rent has remained consistent over the last 3 years, it has remained consistently high at 15%. The question remains: Will Americans be able to keep up on their rent payments as costs continue to rise?

Methodology: To find out which states and cities are most behind on rent payments, analyzed the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey housing data of “Last Month’s Payment Status for Renter Occupied Housing Units” in August 2022, 2021, and 2020. To find each state and city ranking, we calculated the percent of respondents who responded to the “Not caught up on rent payments” question relative to the number of survey respondents in 2022. From there, we ranked each state and the top fifteen most populated metros based on the latest data available.

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