This Is How Much Bostonians Have to Earn to Avoid Being Rent-Burdened

Gulp.
Photo by Greg Dubois

Photo by Greg Dubois

Forking over a huge chunk of your paycheck to keep a roof over your head is frustratingly normal in Boston—which is to say that most of the city’s residents are rent-burdened.

Rent-burdened folks are people who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Rent burden, it seems, is an all too common ailment crushing city dwellers here and in places like New York, Detroit, and Miami. With rising rents and stagnant incomes, the burden may only become heavier. But just how bogged down are Bostonians?

According to a new study from apartment search site RentCafe, we carry quite the heavy burden. Analysts determined how much renters in cities around the country should actually earn to avoid being rent-burdened, and in Boston, it’s not pretty.

“Disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe the circumstances in Boston, where one would need almost three times the median income to be out of the woods,” reads the report.

Boston renters would need to triple their median salary ($40,000) to keep their housing expenses at 30 percent of their income. That means the average Bostonian should make an annual salary of $120,000. 

Unfortunately, scraping up an additional $80,000 per year is no easy task, which is part of the reason why RentCafe pegged Boston as the second worst city in the country for renters, right behind Manhattan.

If you were hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel, there isn’t one. RentCafe suggests leaving the troubled East Coast for cities like Glendale, Ariz., Colorado Springs, Colo., or Houston, Texas, where residents pay almost exactly 30 percent of their income in rent. Happy trails?


Madeline Bilis Associate Editor at Boston Magazine @madelinebilis
mbilis@bostonmagazine.com