GOBankingRates

People in These States Are Having the Hardest Time Paying Rent

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Nearly 5% of Americans remain unemployed, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that number is the lowest recorded since the onset of the pandemic, it’s still significantly higher than it was before COVID-19. Many other Americans are now under-employed, with cuts to their hours or loss of business.

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With so many people seeing their income reduced, it’s no surprise that many are struggling to pay their rent. But people are struggling in some states worse than in others. To get a better sense of which places have the most vulnerable renters, GOBankingRates conducted a study to determine which locales have the worst combination of high rents and high unemployment. The study included the unemployment rate, the average rent on a one-bedroom apartment and the percentage of people who missed a rent or mortgage payment last month or have no expectation to be able to pay next month, per the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

Take a closer look at which places appear to be having the toughest time paying rent, and which states have a better chance at bouncing back from the crisis.

Last updated: Oct. 22, 2021 

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51. Utah

  • December unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $944
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,281,207
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 56,213

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 4.0%

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50. North Dakota

  • December unemployment rate: 4.1%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $672
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 561,016
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 13,621

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 4.5%

Find Out: These Are the 50 Best Cities for Gen Z To Live Well on a Budget

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49. Washington

  • December unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,144
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 5,890,357
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 175,814

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 4.7%

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48. New Hampshire

  • December unemployment rate: 4.0%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $994
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 1,073,014
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 30,765

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 4.7%

Be Aware: 50 Cities With the Most Overpriced Homes

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47. Vermont

  • December unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: N/A
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 485,485
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 14,789

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 5.0%

See: How Far a $100,000 Salary Goes in America’s 50 Largest Cities

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46. Maine

  • December unemployment rate: 4.9%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $850
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 1,065,620
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 31,266

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 5.0%

Read: When Can You Get the COVID Vaccine?

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45. Wisconsin

  • December unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $763
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 4,438,719
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 134,528

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 5.1%

Check Out: In Less Than a Decade, You Won’t Be Able To Afford a Home in These Cities

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44. Massachusetts

  • December unemployment rate: 7.4%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,133
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 5,324,065
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 191,678

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 5.8%

See: A Coronavirus Downturn Will Hurt These 50 Housing Markets the Most

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43. Nebraska

  • December unemployment rate: 3.0%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $745
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 1,418,191
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 51,548

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 6.3%

Read More: 50 Cities With the Most Underpriced Homes

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42. Oregon

  • December unemployment rate: 6.4%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $997
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 3,302,727
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 135,797

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 6.4%

Find Out: 35 Surprising Cities With Low Costs of Living

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41. Hawaii

  • December unemployment rate: 9.3%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,418
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 1,073,229
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 45,709

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 6.7%

See: The Most Affordable Downtowns To Live In Across America

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40. Montana

  • December unemployment rate: 4.4%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $728
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 822,204
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 34,894

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 6.9%

Read: The Best and Worst Cities To Own Investment Property

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39. Idaho

  • December unemployment rate: 4.4%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $691
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 1,343,198
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 58,013

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 6.9%

Check Out: These Are the 50 Best Cities for Renters

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38. Virginia

  • December unemployment rate: 4.9%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,171
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 6,472,737
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 280,797

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 7.2%

Keep Reading: Cities in Every State Where Your Paycheck Stretches the Furthest

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37. Colorado

  • December unemployment rate: 8.4%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,155
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 4,454,718
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 209,615

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 7.2%

See: 30 Places in America That Are Getting Poorer

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36. Missouri

  • December unemployment rate: 5.8%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $721
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 4,617,880
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 192,722

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 7.3%

Find Out: 50 Cities Where Homeowners Stay Rooted the Longest

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35. New Jersey

  • December unemployment rate: 7.6%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,282
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 6,776,822
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 279,340

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 7.7%

Read: 30 Cities That Are Getting Too Expensive for Retirees

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34. North Carolina

  • December unemployment rate: 6.2%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $868
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 8,017,566
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 355,974

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.2%

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33. Michigan

  • December unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $761
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 7,644,458
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 326,514

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.2%

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32. Indiana

  • December unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $727
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 5,015,550
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 229,565

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.2%

See: Cheap Cities You’ll Love To Live In

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31. Arkansas

  • December unemployment rate: 4.2%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $600
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,246,527
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 88,386

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.2%

Find Out: 17 Cities That Are Getting Richer

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30. West Virginia

  • December unemployment rate: 6.3%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $596
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 1,379,576
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 52,691

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.3%

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29. Iowa

  • December unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $646
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,342,905
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 102,684

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.4%

See: 30 Cities Where You Can Thrive Without a Full-Time Job

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28. Florida

  • December unemployment rate: 6.1%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,098
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 17,085,385
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 786,106

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.4%

See: The Cheapest Neighborhoods in the 50 Biggest US Cities

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27. South Dakota

  • December unemployment rate: 3.0%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $627
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 642,658
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 30,166

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.5%

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26. Pennsylvania

  • December unemployment rate: 6.7%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $831
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 9,776,154
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 426,118

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.5%

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25. Minnesota

  • December unemployment rate: 4.4%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $876
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 4,241,624
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 216,529

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.5%

Check Out: 50 Cities Where It’s Cheaper To Buy a Home Than Rent

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24. Arizona

  • December unemployment rate: 7.5%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $965
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 5,597,268
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 288,107

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.5%

Check Out: Owning vs. Renting: What’s Better for Your Wallet?

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23. Kentucky

  • December unemployment rate: 6.0%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $685
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 3,344,102
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 170,325

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.7%

See: 40 Top Cities Where Your Paycheck Goes the Furthest

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22. Connecticut

  • December unemployment rate: 8.0%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,095
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,732,423
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 141,812

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 8.9%

Find Out: The Cost To Retire in America’s Sunniest Cities

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21. Georgia

  • December unemployment rate: 5.6%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $969
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 7,955,983
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 412,446

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 9.0%

See the List: How Long $1 Million in Savings Will Last in Every State

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20. Alabama

  • December unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $726
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 3,717,378
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 177,537

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 9.2%

Read: Best Places To Live On a $50,000 Salary in Every State

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19. District of Columbia

  • December unemployment rate: 7.9%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,552
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 542,635
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 36,093

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 9.4%

Find Out: The Average Retirement Age in Every State

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18. Illinois

  • December unemployment rate: 7.6%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $859
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 9,546,424
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 511,738

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 9.6%

See: The Real Value of $100 in Every State

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17. Kansas

  • December unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $694
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,140,957
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 118,723

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 10.0%

Find Out: What You Actually Take Home From a $200,000 Salary in Every State

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16. Delaware

  • December unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,122
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 754,637
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 43,148

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 10.0%

Good To Know: The Most Expensive Suburbs in Every State

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15. Rhode Island

  • December unemployment rate: 8.1%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $924
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 817,559
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 49,851

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 10.4%

Budgeting 101: How To Create a Budget You Can Live With

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14. Ohio

  • December unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $677
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 8,822,539
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 515,662

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 10.6%

Find Out: 50 Ways To Live the Big Life on a Small Budget

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13. Nevada

  • December unemployment rate: 9.2%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $988
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,399,457
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 160,386

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 10.9%

Be Careful: 17 Biggest Budgeting Mistakes You’re Making

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12. Alaska

  • December unemployment rate: 5.8%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $974
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 524,925
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 36,488

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 10.9%

Helpful: How I’m Sticking to a Budget and Spending Less During COVID-19

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11. Oklahoma

  • December unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $685
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,916,436
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 170,910

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 11.1%

The 50/30/20 Rule: Is It the Best Budgeting Method?

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10. South Carolina

  • December unemployment rate: 4.6%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $852
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 3,969,123
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 233,903

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 11.5%

Tips: 50 Easy Things You Should Do To Save Money

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9. Texas

  • December unemployment rate: 7.2%
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $930
  • Total population (ages 18 and older): 21,356,906
  • Adults unable to pay for housing: 1,356,917

Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 11.7%

See: 37 Life Hacks That Will Save You Money

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    8. New York

    • December unemployment rate: 8.2%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,308
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 14,847,080
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 964,774

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 12.0%

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    7. Tennessee

    • December unemployment rate: 6.4%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $800
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 5,221,475
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 317,433

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 12.1%

    Find Out: 16 Ways To Save Money on Food 

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    6. Maryland

    • December unemployment rate: 6.3%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,245
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 4,586,920
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 353,007

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 12.1%

    Tips: 101 Easy Ways To Save Money Daily

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    5. Wyoming

    • December unemployment rate: 4.8%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $676
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 433,400
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 30,632

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 12.2%

    Helpful: 20 Insider Tips To Save Money on Every Part of Your Home

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    4. California

    • December unemployment rate: 9.0%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,433
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 29,939,021
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 2,232,487

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 12.3%

    Look: These States Receive the Most Disaster Aid Every Year

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    3. New Mexico

    • December unemployment rate: 8.2%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $750
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 1,589,574
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 113,055

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 12.5%

    See: 25 Tips for Saving Money With Your Spouse

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    2. Mississippi

    • December unemployment rate: 6.2%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $699
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 2,189,670
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 140,639

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 13.2%

    Try: 16 Effective Ways To Trick Yourself Into Saving Money

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    1. Louisiana

    • December unemployment rate: 7.2%
    • Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $754
    • Total population (ages 18 and older): 3,431,432
    • Adults unable to pay for housing: 300,053

    Percentage of population unable to pay for housing: 17.9%

    More From GOBankingRates

    Methodology: GOBankingRates reviewed the United States Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey to find out where Americans are having the hardest time paying rent. The survey measures the number of adults in each state who are not current on rent or mortgage payments, or who have slight or no confidence that their household can pay next month’s rent or mortgage on time as of the period Dec. 9-21, 2020. GOBankingRates ordered all 50 states and the District of Columbia from the state where the highest percentage of the adult population is unable to pay for housing (No. 1) to the state where the lowest percentage is unable to pay for housing (No. 51). They are ranked here in reverse order. GOBankingRates also provided the December 2020 unemployment rate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the December 2020 estimated rent for a one-bedroom apartment from Apartment List for each state as supplemental information. All data was collected on and up to date as of Jan. 26, 2021.