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California residents spend second-highest percentage on rent, study says


California’s high cost of living is forcing renters to spend a major chunk of their earnings on housing.

Among all 50 states, Californians spend the second-highest percentage of their income on rent, trailing only Hawaii.

A study published by Forbes Home found that California renters spend an average of 28.47% of their income on rent. The data is based on the average California annual income of $76,614.

California’s average monthly rent in 2021 was $1,818 — which includes the state as a whole. Areas like Los Angeles, San Diego and the Bay Area tend to be significantly higher.

Still, Californians are spending less to secure housing than their counterparts in Hawaii. Residents in the Aloha State spend more than 40% of their monthly income on rent, the study says.

Below is the complete list of where renters pay the highest percent of their income.

# State 2021 Average Yearly Income 2021 Average Monthly Income Average monthly rent (all sizes) Percentage of rent spent on income
1 Hawaii $60,947 $5,079 $2,136 42.06%
2 California $76,614 $6,385 $1,818 28.47%
3 New Jersey $77,016 $6,418 $1,765 27.50%
4 Massachusetts $83,653 $6,971 $1,823 26.15%
5 Delaware $59,931 $4,994 $1,288 25.79%
6 Alaska $65,813 $5,484 $1,403 25.58%
7 Maryland $69,817 $5,818 $1,478 25.39%
8 Rhode Island $64,376 $5,365 $1,359 25.33%
9 Oregon $61,596 $5,133 $1,284 25.01%
10 Arizona $55,487 $4,624 $1,143 24.72%

Forbes Home used data from the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine its rankings.

A spokesperson for Forbes said many of the states in the top 10 were also on the site’s list of states where people were moving to in 2021 and 2022.

“So it’s no surprise that we are seeing an average rent increase in these areas that have gotten an influx of new residents,” the spokesperson said.


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