Single Women Are More Rent Burdened Than Single Men

Living alone can be a choice or a pit stop, but one thing’s for sure: The rent is on you. Buying a home has been especially difficult over the past year, so more singles have been left to rely on leasing in a market where the typical renter is already rent burdened — that is, spending at least 30 percent of income on rent.

To spotlight the plight of solo renters, RentHop’s annual Single’s Index compared rents on studios in the 50 largest U.S. cities. The most recent study broke it down by gender using income data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and because single women typically make less money than single men, they face a larger hurdle.

When considering all renters, 17 cities in the study had a median rent for studio apartments that was at least 30 percent of the local median income. But solo women in studios were shown to be rent burdened in 25 of the 50 cities studied, while men were rent burdened in just eight.

New York was the most expensive for everyone: The median rate for a studio was found to be $3,308 a month — requiring 61 percent of an average man’s income, and over 79 percent of an average woman’s. This disparity held up even in the most affordable places, like Detroit, the third-most rent burdened city for all despite its more reasonable rents. The median studio rent there was $895 a month, requiring roughly 38 percent of a man’s income, compared with 46 percent of a woman’s. Only in Arlington, Texas, were women and men on equal footing, each paying about 28 percent of income on rent.

The affordable end of the 50-city list offered a mixed blessing: The studio rent in Wichita, Kan., the most affordable city for all, was $585 a month. But single women in Wichita still spent 21 percent of their income for it, while men needed only 15 percent.

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