People everywhere are stuck inside waiting out the Covid-19 pandemic — but of course, some are more cramped than others. A new study by RentCafé offers insight into where American renters have the least amount of personal space.
To determine the average number of square feet available to renters in the 100 largest U.S. cities, the researchers divided the average size of a rental apartment by the average number of renters per household in each city. (Apartment sizes were calculated using data from Yardi Matrix, a business tool used by real estate professionals, which is restricted to buildings with 50 or more units.)
Though it didn’t take rental units in smaller buildings into account, the study gives us a pretty good idea of where renters can expect to live in tighter quarters. Household size was derived from U.S. census data, and for the purposes of the study, New York City’s boroughs were regarded as individual “cities.”
If you thought cities with the smallest average apartment sizes are where renters have the least personal space, you’d be wrong. Be it the cost of rentals or their lack of availability, some places just have more people living under the same roof, leaving less room for each.
In Santa Ana, Calif., the average apartment size is 859 square feet, smack in the middle of the size range among the top 100 cities. But because there are an average of 2.9 renters per apartment, its renters are the most crowded, with an average of only 292 square feet per person. Newark, on the other hand, has the smallest average apartment size, 697 square feet, but an average of only 1.7 renters per apartment. That made it the 11th most crowded city for renters, with 416 square feet per occupant. In all, eight of the top 10 cities with the most cramped apartments were found to be in New York and California, as seen in this week’s chart.
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