Do You Know Which US City Has the Higher Rent?

Zoe Samuel

Image: John Lund/Tom Penpark/ Blend Images/gettyimages

About This Quiz

One thing that's true about city living is that generally speaking, there are a lot more jobs to go around. In rural areas, if an employer leaves the area, that's pretty devastating, and in some small towns, the loss of a single factory or headquarters can completely crush employment figures in the entire area. It's not just about 10,000 jobs actually building whatever is made at the plant; it's about the administrators, cleaners, management, and others. It's also about all the jobs created by the money those people spend in restaurants, stores and on household upkeep.

In cities, this dynamic is far less common; instead of depending on one company, an entire industry has to see a major downturn before the employment opportunities within it dry up. Trade wars, recessions and reduced growth can hit cities, but they're far more flexible. That means it's not generally hard to find some sort of employment. The problem is, what sort? Most jobs simply don't pay on levels that keep pace with the rising price of living; in no major city can a person on minimum wage rent a normal 2-bedroom apartment (which they could 50 years ago). Indeed, income inequality in cities is some of the most extreme on the planet, and there are areas where even households on $117,000 a year are well below median and can't get mortgages.

That means nearly everyone rents - but even then, some cities enjoy much more reasonable rates than others, even accounting for higher salaries and greater opportunities. Do you know which ones they are? If so, you'll ace this quiz! (If you don't, you'll probably flunk the quiz, but oh boy, do you need the answers in it!)

Which of these four cities in Maryland has the highest rent?

Usually the right answer in this quiz will be: whichever city is biggest, followed by the state capital (and definitely pick the state capital if it's the biggest). However, Maryland's so close to Washington, D.C. that the right answer here is Bethesda, a pricey suburb. We might see more of it later!

Which of these four cities in Wisconsin has the highest rent?

Being the capital, Madison is the most expensive city in the state - but only by a smidge. Milwaukee is about $70 per month cheaper!

Which of these four cities in Michigan has the highest rent?

Unsurprisingly, with the population of both collapsing, Flint and Detroit can't keep rents up these days. Lansing isn't doing too badly, but Ann Arbor being one of the nicest places to live in Michigan, it's the most expensive too.

Which of these four cities in Missouri has the highest rent?

You can't live under the Gateway Arch, which is a shame because it's going to cost you a lot to live anywhere else in St. Louis. Median rents are just shy of $1,000 a month.

Which of these four cities in Washington state has the highest rent?

Seattle is rainy, but that's probably just the sky over the city crying when it sees how much residents have to spend to live there. It's a huge industrial hub with loads of industries and major companies based there, which is why it costs so much.

Excluding the capital, which of these four cities within commuting distance of Washington DC has the highest rent?

Bethesda, Maryland, is a fiendishly expensive commuter town from which Maryland residents can reach the capital. It's over $2,200 for the median apartment there.

Which of these four cities in Virginia has the highest rent?

Fairfax is incredibly expensive because you can commute to Washington, D.C. This means it's considerably more pricey to live there than it is to live in Richmond, the state capital.

Which of these four cities in Vermont has the highest rent?

Burlington's median rent is about $1700 a month. This is high for Vermont, and higher than the median in state capital Montpelier, which is hundreds of dollars lower.

Which of these four cities in Tennessee has the highest rent?

The home of country enjoys city prices: median rent there is $1277. This is pretty darn high for Tennessee, even if in New York City it would be considered virtually free!

Which of these four cities in Indiana has the highest rent?

You'd think Indianapolis would be the priciest city in the state, but it's not! Bloomington has it pipped to the post by about $100 in median rent. There are more expensive homes available in Indianapolis, there's just a bigger range.

Which of these four cities in Nebraska has the highest rent?

It's the only city in Nebraska that most people have heard of from outside the state. It's also home to the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett. He may not live extravagantly, but you will (by state standards) if you want to live near him!

Which of these four cities in Louisiana has the highest rent?

New Orleans is home to some fascinating culture, not least that of voodoo. This is a form of magic you may wish to learn if you intend to curse your landlord next time he hikes your already ridiculously high rent.

Which of these four cities in Pennsylvania has the highest rent?

The city of Brotherly Love is also the city of horrifyingly high rent. Pittsburgh isn't far off, but Philly has it beat. That Amtrak corridor is a doozy.

Which of these four cities in Oregon has the highest rent?

Oregon's capital, Portland, enjoys its highest rents. Oregon is a very beautiful state with a nice moderate climate. You don't have to pay too much to live in a lot of it, but if you like weird (in a good way) cities with lots of comedy, music and culture, Portland's going to charge you accordingly.

Which of these four cities in Utah has the highest rent?

The eponymous salt lakes may be flat, but the city that is named for them enjoys rental prices that are anything but flat. Salt Lake City is not always more expensive than Park City (it depends on the neighborhood and time of year) but it's not kidding around, at a $1087 median rent.

Which of these four cities in Georgia has the highest rent?

Altanta is the state capital and largest city. It's thus not a surprise that it has the highest rents in Georgia - but also many of the best jobs in the state!

Which of these four cities in Kentucky - known for being in the heart of the Bluegrass region - has the highest rent?

The capital city of Kentucky is Frankfort, but Lexington is the richest. That's why Nicholasville is the priciest place to live: It's just near Lexington and offers the best of the urban, suburban and rural.

Which of these four cities in Arizona has the highest rent?

Scottsdale is the fanciest city in the state. It is outside of Phoenix proper. It enjoys 299 sunny days a year - and you have to pay for them!

Which of these four cities in the New York tri-state area has the highest rent?

Connecticut is only 8th-highest overall for rent, which makes it a good deal. However, Stamford being an NYC satellite town means it's super expensive.

Which of these four cities in Nevada has the highest rent?

Las Vegas is the most expensive city in Nevada, of course. This will not come as a surprise to anyone who has tried to get a hotel room there during Magic Live.

Which of these four cities adjacent to New York has the highest rent?

Hoboken means "land of the tobacco pipe" in Lenape. In English, it means "land of the rent that is very high because of proximity to the PATH train".

Which of these four cities in Texas has the highest rent?

It's a surprise to nobody: Austin is the priciest city in Texas! It's also one of the bluest, as well as being the state capital.

Which of these four cities in South Carolina has the LOWEST rent?

Marlboro, SC, is a small city and not expensive to rent or buy. South Carolina has some lovely cities like Charleston which have beautiful old buildings, but they're understandably priced to match how lovely they are!

Which of these four cities in Florida has the highest rent?

Rent is high in Miami, as it is the biggest and most economically significant city in Florida. The state is popular with retirees who appreciate its lack of a state income tax. However, as this means that property owners pay for services on their property taxes, that cost is passed on to renters.

Which of these four cities in North Dakota has the highest rent?

This is a suburb of Bismarck proper and considerably more expensive than the state capital. Lincoln has benefited from the fracking boom, without being over-exposed to when sinking oil prices caused rental rates to collapse in many North Dakota towns and cities, such as Williston (briefly America's most expensive town!).

Which of these four cities in Hawaii has the highest rent?

Honolulu is a staggeringly expensive place. Hawaii is paradise, sure, but paradise has to import everything, meaning it's all really expensive - and not just the rent. Even toilet paper costs more there.

Which of these four cities in Idaho has the highest rent?

Boise is the biggest city but not the priciest. That distinction belongs to Ketchum. It's not a big city and there aren't many jobs. The reason it's so pricey is because much of the land is protected, limiting housing supply, and there are a lot of skiing and hunting tourists, meaning supply is gobbled up by out-of-towners coming for a visit.

Which of these four cities in Rhode Island has the highest rent?

Melville (which shares its name with the author of Moby Dick, though it is not named for him!) is a very pricey city indeed. It is even more expensive than the ultra-fashionable Newport, jewel of Rhode Island.

Which of these four cities in Alaska has the highest rent?

Juneau is the capital of Alaska though it is not the most expensive. That distinction belongs to Anchorage, the biggest city in the state.

Which of these four cities in Colorado has the highest rent?

Englewood, CO, is a part of Denver in all but the legal sense. It's unsurprisingly the second most expensive city in Colorado, after Denver proper.

Which of these four cities in Illinois has the highest rent?

You guessed it: Chicago, America's Second City, is the most pricey in its home state of Illinois. You do get an awful lot for your money in terms of job opportunities and cultural attractions, though!

Which of these four cities in California has the lowest rent?

Shout "Eureka!" because that's where you're going to be living! If you're lucky enough to have a job you can do remotely (as there are very few local options) and you want to be near the Oregon border, anyway. It's technically a town, not a city, which is partly why it is so cheap.

Which of these four cities in Mississippi has the highest rent?

As by far the biggest city and the state capital, Jackson is most expensive. Still, by national standards, its median rent of $779 is very reasonable.

Which of these four cities in Connecticut has the lowest rent?

All the other options here are fiendishly expensive, but Waterbury is considered affordable by CT standards. It's all relative, of course!

Which of these four major cities across the nation has the highest rent?

Yep, San Francisco has New York beat! It costs just over $3,590 to rent the median one-bedroom apartment in San Fran. That means you need $100,000 a year to not technically be over-spending on the most basic apartment.

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