New York Isn’t the State With the Highest Rent

When people think of expensive rent, they often think of New York. The Big Apple is notorious for its sky-high housing costs, which can make it hard for many people to afford living there. However, New York is not the only state with high rent prices. In fact, it is not even the state with the highest rent in the country.

Which State Has the Highest Rent?

According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the state with the highest median gross rent in 2020 was Hawaii, with a monthly rent of $1,675. This is followed by California, with a monthly rent of $1,503. New York ranked third, with a monthly rent of $1,425.

The median gross rent is the amount of rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities and fuels. It does not include other expenses such as taxes, fees, or insurance. The median gross rent is calculated from the American Community Survey, which is an ongoing survey that collects data from a sample of households every year.

Why Is Hawaii So Expensive?

Hawaii is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, tropical climate, and diverse culture. However, living in paradise comes at a price. Hawaii faces several challenges that contribute to its high rent prices, such as:

Limited land and high demand: Hawaii is an archipelago of islands, which means that there is a finite amount of land available for development. The demand for housing exceeds the supply, which drives up the prices. Hawaii also attracts many visitors, investors, and retirees, who compete with the local residents for housing.

High cost of living: Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the nation, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. Everything from food to transportation to health care is more expensive in Hawaii than in most other states. This is partly because Hawaii relies heavily on imports, which adds to the shipping and transportation costs.

Low wages and income inequality: Despite the high cost of living, Hawaii has relatively low wages and a high income inequality. The median household income in Hawaii was $83,102 in 2020, which is lower than the national median of $67,521. The income gap between the rich and the poor is also wider in Hawaii than in most other states. This makes it harder for many people to afford the rent and other necessities.

How Does New York Compare?

New York is another state with a high cost of living and a high demand for housing. However, New York has some advantages over Hawaii that make it more affordable for some people, such as:

More diversity and options: New York is a large and diverse state, with different regions and cities that offer different lifestyles and opportunities. While New York City is the most expensive and crowded city in the state, there are also other areas that are more affordable and less congested, such as upstate New York or Long Island.

More public transportation and infrastructure: New York has a well-developed public transportation system, especially in New York City, which makes it easier and cheaper for people to get around without a car. New York also has more infrastructure and amenities, such as schools, hospitals, parks, and cultural venues, that enhance the quality of life for its residents.

More economic opportunities and social mobility: New York is a global hub for business, finance, media, arts, and education, which creates more economic opportunities and jobs for its people. New York also has a higher social mobility rate than Hawaii, which means that people have a better chance of improving their economic status and moving up the income ladder.


New York is not the state with the highest rent in the country, despite its reputation for being expensive. Hawaii has the highest rent, followed by California. Hawaii’s rent prices are driven by its limited land, high cost of living, and low wages. New York has some advantages over Hawaii that make it more affordable for some people, such as more diversity, options, public transportation, infrastructure, economic opportunities, and social mobility. However, both states are still among the most expensive and challenging places to live in the U.S.

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