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    15 US Cities Where The Average Rent Is Less Than $1,800 A Month

    Just think of your landlord's shocked Pikachu face when they hear these rates.

    We all know that cities like New York, LA, and San Fran are ridiculously expensive to live in (with a one-bedroom in the latter going for $2,800 a month, on average 😬).

    Nickelodeon / Via Giphy / giphy.com

    Ouch.

    But as jobs begin offering workers more flexibility, you may have the ability to clock in from a noticeably more affordable city — perhaps one of these more renter-friendly metros?

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    AdvisorSmith, a site that provides resources for small businesses, used income data from the US Census Bureau paired with rental rates to compare 500 US cities and determine the most affordable cities for renters.

    To get their ranking, they compared a city's average weighted rent with its median household income to come up with what metros have a low rent-to-income ratio (cities where people spend a smaller percentage of their income on rent). 

    As an FYI, personal finance advice often says you should try to spend no more than 30% of your income on rent. That's often just not doable, especially if you live in a major city. However, all of the cities on this list have average rents that are less than 30% of their median household income. NYC wishes. 


    For this roundup, we're highlighting only what the study calls "large cities" (or cities with 300,000-plus people), to make that move from NYC a little less jarring. And remember — packing up and moving to a new city is so much easier said than done, but checking out the prices in other cities can be a great first step to figuring out where you ~really~ want to be.

    1. Wichita, Kansas

    View of Wichita at night
    Henryk Sadura / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

    Wichita is more than the birthplace of Pizza Hut and White Castle (both true), it also happens to have the lowest weighted average rent on this list — at $765 a month. Low rent paired with a healthy median household income of $52,620 gives this city in south-central Kansas a super-low rent-to-income ratio of 17.4%.

    2. Omaha, Nebraska

    River running through Omaha
    Shannon Ramos / Getty Images/EyeEm

    The weighted average rent in Omaha jumps to $970, but it's buffered by a higher household income of just over $60,000 AND the city's location on both the Missouri River and the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail. 

    Omaha's rent-to-income ratio ends up at a doable 19.4%.

    3. Louisville, Kentucky

    Louisville skyline at night
    Traveler1116 / Getty Images

    Louisville has more going for it than the annual Kentucky Derby. The city boasts a low weighted rent of $916 on average and a median household income of $53,436. The result is a rent-to-income ratio of 20.6%

    After a couple years in such an affordable city, you might even be able to join the craze and buy a race horse (if that's your thing). 

    4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Boat on a waterway running through Oklahoma City
    Denistangneyjr / Getty Images

    Most people don't know that Oklahoma City — the state's capital and largest city — still retains much of its cowboy culture. Yep, that's right, you can try out that Western getup collecting dust in your closet while enjoying the perks that come from low rent (just over $1,000 a month on average) and a median household income of $55,557. That works out to a rent-to-income ratio of 21.7%.

    5. Lexington, Kentucky

    Country road near Lexington
    Catnap72 / Getty Images

    Lexington has such a reputation in the horse community that the Queen of England herself vacationed here. But whether you're into horses or not, you will surely enjoy Lexington's low weighted average rent of $1,035 and the city's median household income of $57,291. Crunch the numbers, and that puts the rent-to-income ratio at 21.7%.

    6. Portland, Oregon

    Autumn trees in Portland
    Posnov / Getty Images

    Perhaps best known for its hipster culture — which includes food trucks, breweries, and stellar donut shops — Portland also offers its inhabitants a surprisingly low weighted average rent ($1,292) that when paired with the noticeably higher median household income of over $71,000, results in a 21.8% rent-to-income ratio. Not bad, Portland, not bad.

    7. Tulsa, Oklahoma

    View of the Tulsa skyline from a park
    Denistangneyjr / Getty Images

    NYC's Empire State Building isn't the country's only example of art deco architecture — in fact, Tulsa is renowned for its art deco landmarks, including the  Philcade and Philtower buildings. 

    Even if architecture isn't your jam, it's hard to turn your nose up at the city's shockingly low average rent ($876 a month). Just keep in mind the household income is also a bit lower than most cities on this list — coming in at $47,650 and bringing the rent-to-income ratio to 22.1%.

    8. Columbus, Ohio

    Columbus skyline during the day
    Traveler1116 / Getty Images

    Columbus often gets overlooked in the ranking of the nation's biggest cities, but for city dwellers who love nature, it's hard to beat. Columbus's Scioto Mile, a string of parks on both sides of the Scioto River, provides residents with easy access to the waterfront and miles of trails just waiting to be biked, run, or walked.

    Rent in the city is $991 on average, with a household income of $53,745. The result is a rent-to-income ratio of 22.1%.

    9. St. Paul, Minnesota

    St. Paul skyline at sunset
    Gian Lorenzo Ferretti Photograph / Getty Images

    St. Paul makes up one-half of the iconic Minnesota Twin Cities (see #14 for info on its twin) and sits right on the Mississippi River. Rent in St. Paul averages out to be around $1,069, while the median household income of $57,876 brings the rent-to-income ratio to 22.2%.

    10. Seattle, Washington

    Seattle skyline with mountains in the distance
    Chinaface / Getty Images

    This beloved coastal city may have the highest weighted average rent on this list — $1,743 — but the higher household income of $92,263 (also the highest on this list) counteracts the pricey rent, bringing the rent-to-income ratio down to a doable 22.7%.

    11. Fort Worth, Texas

    Sun rising through buildings in the Fort Worth skyline
    Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images

    Just west of Dallas is the more-affordable city of Fort Worth, which also happens to be one of the fastest growing cities in the US. With a quick peek at the city's average rent — $1,175 — and higher household income — $62,187 — it's easy to see why. Residents of the Texas city enjoy a healthy rent-to-income ratio of 22.7%.

    12. Kansas City, Missouri

    Fountain in a square in Kansas City
    Derek Slagle / Getty Images

    Sometimes called the "BBQ capital" for its iconic steaks and BBQ, Kansas City is also a music city, with a rich jazz legacy that continues today. All that BBQ and jazz music should be within budget thanks to the city's $1,046 average weighted rent, $54,194 median household income, and 23.2% rent-to-income ratio.

    13. Cincinnati, Ohio

    Cincinnati skyline at dawn
    Tetra Images - Henryk Sadura / Getty Images

    Believe it or not, Cincinnati, which is often overshadowed by bigger, better known cities, is home to a thriving arts scene (think theater, ballet, and music). That Midwest dose of culture is paired perfectly — at least IMO — with the city's iconic chili, which is served on top of spaghetti and hot dogs.

    Cincinnati's weighted average rent is the second lowest on this list (!!) at $791, but the median household income is a low $40,640, resulting in a rent-to-income ratio of 23.3%.

    14. Minneapolis, Minnesota

    View of parks surrounding Minneapolis
    Davel5957 / Getty Images

    In addition to being St. Paul's twin city, Minneapolis also boasts a lower than average rent-to-income ratio of 23.8% thanks to its weighted average rent of $1,244 and median household income of $62,583.

    15. Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Downtown Albequerque on a cloudy night
    Ferrantraite / Getty Images

    This high-desert city is full of historic adobe buildings and Native American and Spanish influences. Residents enjoy a weighted average rent of $1,052 and a household income of $52,911, bringing the rent-to-income ratio to 23.9%.

    How does your city compare? Share what rental rates are like in your area in the comments.

    And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts