May 15, 2011

Distribution of Monthly Housing Rent Costs

How much people pay for rent depends on the nature of the housing and where it is located.   You'll of course pay more to rent a 4 bedroom house in a nice suburban neighborhood than you'd pay for a cramped studio apartment in the ghetto.  The cost of rent varies a lot across the nation.   In the high cost urban areas rents are much more expensive than in the rural south.  

The 2009 American Housing Survey has data on the cost of rents.     I used table 4-13 which is the selected housing costs for renters in occupied units.   They give the number of people who pay rent at various levels.   The distribution is as follows:

RENT # people
Less than $100   247,821
$100 to $199   728,148
$200 to $249   737,987
$250 to $299   643,144
$300 to $349   580,787
$350 to $399   778,144
$400 to $449   993,290
$450 to $499   1,100,710
$500 to $599   2,985,135
$600 to $699   3,807,736
$700 to $799   3,708,979
$800 to $999   6,060,278
$1,000 to $1,249   4,776,518
$1,250 to $1,499   2,630,587
$1,500 to $1,999   2,246,719
$2,000 to $2,499   718,360
$2,500 or more   596,433
No cash rent   2,037,037

And graphically it looks like this :

You can see that the bulk of the renters fall in the middle area.    64% of renters pay between $500 and $1,250.     17% of renters pay under $500.    The remaining 19% of renters pay over $1,250.

About 2 million people pay no cash rent.  I'm not showing those in the chart.  I assume those people are getting free rent from relatives or something along those lines.

Geographically the different major regions in the USA also have different distributions of rent.   Here is a look at the percent of renters who fall into three broad groups of under $500, $500 to $1,250 and over $1,250:

The biggest difference is between the Midwest and the West.   24% of people in the Midwest pay under $500 and 12% of people in the West pay that little.  On the other end 30% of West renters pay over $1,250 and only 8% of the people in the Midwest pay that high.

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