The personal space of the average American renter has shrunk over the years due to ever-decreasing apartment square footage, as well as insufficient supply, according to a new report from RentCafe titled, “Cities With Most Apartment Space Per Person in 2022: Renters Live Largest in the Midwest,” released this week.
In the study, RentCafe calculated renters’ personal space by dividing the total apartment size to the number of people living in a renter household. This begs the question: Is there enough for everybody?
- Renters’ personal space is shrinking, having dropped from 565 sq. ft. in 2011 to 540 sq. ft. in 2020. Smaller floor plans and insufficient new supply, which encourages people to co-rent, are all contributing factors. There’s an average of 1.69 renters per unit nationally, and each renter has the equivalent of one room and a half to themselves.
- Renters in the Midwest get the most personal apartment space. Particularly, the Kansas City metro area boasts three suburbs among the top 10 cities with the most apartment space per person. Independence, MO stands out, with a whopping 731 sq. ft. of private space per person. The average renter here has 2 rooms all to themselves, while generally not needing to share an apartment with someone else.
- The South and the Midwest dominate our top of 50 cities ranked by personal apartment space. While Midwest cities rank better, a total of 16 cities made it in the top. Meanwhile, as many as 30 Southern cities are in the same top.
- California is at the bottom of our ranking, with 10 cities offering the least private space per renter. In Fontana, renters get the least amount of space in the entire U.S., having just 295 sq. ft. of private space to roam around. To put that into perspective, there are 2.68 renters to each apartment, which means that rentals in Fontana are also among the most crammed in the country.
RentCafe notes its calculations took into consideration the total number of renters and the total square footage of apartments in over 250 cities to get an overall estimate of how much space each renter has just to themselves.
“The ideal combination of large apartments and fewer renters sharing an apartment is most likely to be found in the Midwest, where the space per person can be as high as 731 square feet,” wrote Veronica Grecu, senior creative writer and researcher for RentCafe, and author of the report. “In particular, the Kansas City metro area is the hot spot for renters looking for more living space, with three of its suburbs landing in the top 10 cities boasting the most apartment space per person.
She notes, “Millions of Americans have been working and living in the same place for more than two years, and, consequently, the need for privacy is higher than ever. Granted, there are many financial advantages to sharing a rental, but having enough private space where you can spend some ‘me time’, meditate or just be alone thinking about nothing is paramount these days. And, while not all renters are that lucky, we can help them determine where they can find the most living space per person—especially now that the rental season is in full swing.”
To view the full study including breakdowns by city, click here.