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California Renters Have Least Personal Space

According to a new report from RentCafe, the average apartment space per person is now about 540 square feet, based on the ratio of the average apartment size to the average number of renters living in a household across the U.S.

As the total apartment size has decreased throughout the past 10 years, so has the amount of living space per renter.

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. 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.

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.

According to new data, Midwest cities are by far the best option for renters seeking ample “alone” space. Even so, some locations in the South also provide quite generous private spaces, although the number of people sharing the same apartment is slightly higher here.

  1. Independence, MO
  • Private space per renter: 731 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 2.24
  • Average apartment size: 826 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.13
  1. Olathe, KS
  • Private space per renter: 716 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 2.21
  • Average apartment size: 845 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.18
  1. Dayton, OH
  • Private space per renter: 707 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 2.21
  • Average apartment size: 862 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.22
  1. Louisville, KY
  • Private space per renter: 706 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 2.09
  • Average apartment size: 911
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.29
  1. Jackson, MS
  • Private space per renter: 698 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 2.16
  • Average apartment size: 908 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.30
  1. South Bend, IN
  • Private space per renter: 697 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 2.22
  • Average apartment size: 829 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.19
  1. Overland Park, KS
  • Private space per renter: 694 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 1.87
  • Average apartment size: 972 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.40
  1. Birmingham, AL
  • Private space per renter: 693 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 1.96
  • Average apartment size: 963 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.39
  1. Winston-Salem, NC
  • Private space per renter: 692 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 2.08
  • Average apartment size: 907 square feet
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.31
  1. Pearland, TX
  • Private space per renter: 688 square feet
  • Rooms per renter: 1.84
  • Average apartment size: 991
  • Average renters per apartment: 1.44

The average number of renters in Texas living under the same roof is 1.76 at the state level. To that extent, Pearland is the only Texas location in the top 10 cities with the most private space per person: Renters in Pearland enjoy an average of 688 square feet of personal space. The city is also the most crowded in our top 10 list, at 1.44 people per apartment.

Personal space comes at a premium these days, and the amount of square feet you get depends on where you live. The notoriously high cost of living in California — combined with crowded cities and a lack of available apartments — is pushing more people to live under the same roof. As a result, a renter’s private space decreases dramatically throughout the state.

In fact, California hijacked the top 10 cities with the least private space per renter. Fontana offers the least personal space in the nation, at 295 square feet per renter, or about one room. In addition, an average of 2.68 renters share an apartment in Fontana. Compared to the No. 1 contender in our ranking — Independence, MO — more than twice as many renters get about one-third of the personal space in this industrial city in the Inland Empire. To put that into perspective, the amount of private space in Fontana is also about 25% below the minimum square footage a person needs to feel comfortable.

Furthermore, Fontana and Salinas are the only cities in our ranking with an average personal space of less than 300 square feet per renter, almost half the square footage on a national level. These cities also have the highest number of people who share an apartment, at 2.68 and 2.74, respectively — or one extra renter compared to the national average.

To read the full report, for more charts and methodology, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport, with more than six years of writing experience. She has served as Editor-in-Chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington. She has covered events such as the Byron Nelson, Pac-12 Conferences, the Women in Dallas Film Festival, to freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, she is an avid jazz lover and reader. She can be reached at demetria.lester@thefivestar.com.
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