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Where to Find the Cheapest Rent in America (2024)

Amy Mueller

By Amy Mueller

Jan 15, 2024


While median household income has been increasing and rent decreasing throughout the back half of 2023, housing costs are still one of the most daunting expenses Americans face each month. The national median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,379 per month in December 2023 — but in many American cities, average rent prices are much higher (or, thankfully, much lower). In New York City, NY, for example, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was over $4,400 per month in December, while in Toledo, OH, it was only $650.

There are many more affordable locations where residents enjoy a lower cost of living, including more affordable rent prices. We looked at 100 major cities across the country to find the cheapest places to live in the US right now. 

1. Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, KS

  • Population: 389,938
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $693 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $850 per month

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, with a population just shy of 400,000. Nicknamed the “Air Capital of the World” for its history of aircraft design and manufacturing, Wichita is also a regional hub for culture, shopping, and entertainment. The city offers great restaurants, breweries, live music venues, museums, and more than 100 miles of bike trails among other compelling city amenities. Job opportunities in Wichita span across industries, including manufacturing, aviation, energy, and IT systems. The median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Wichita, KS is $693 per month.

2. El Paso, Texas

El Paso, TX

  • Population: 681,728
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $825 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $1,050 per month

Located in the South on the Rio Grande near the border of Mexico, El Paso is the sixth-largest city in Texas. The southern Texas city has a variety of recreational and cultural offerings, like excellent access to beautiful climbing and hiking destinations, including Franklin Mountains State Park or the El Paso Museum of Art. Plus, it’s one of the most affordable cities in the US between its rent prices and generally low cost of living. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in El Paso, TX is $825 per month.

3. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, MO

  • Population: 300,576
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $825 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $1,150 per month

The second largest city in Missouri, St. Louis has been nicknamed the “Gateway to the West” — and it has the Gateway Arch landmark (the tallest arch in the world) to prove it. The city’s downtown areas are walkable, landing it a spot on our 10 Cheapest Walkable Cities list this year, and filled with exciting nightlife opportunities. Not to mention, out of all the major cities in the US, it has one of the lowest costs of living — as well as ample career opportunities and a relatively low unemployment rate, leading to its ranking as one of the best cities for new grads. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in St. Louis, MO is $825 per month.

4. Louisville, Kentucky

louisville, KY

  • Population: 617,638
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $850 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $1,032 per month

Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville is situated on the Ohio River near the Indiana border. The city features a beautiful blend of old-style architecture and contemporary design, giving Louisville a distinctive feel, both traditional and modern. Known widely as the home of The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Louisville also offers residents much more than just horse racing, including live music and an exciting arts scene. On top of affordability, the Louisville metro areas also offers its residents some amazing food and drink destinations, which earned it a spot on our Best Foodie Cities for Renters list. Key industries in Louisville include manufacturing, healthcare, business services, and tourism. Just beware: Louisville is catching on. We ranked it as one of the most competitive rental markets in the US in 2023. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Louisville, KY is $850 per month.

5. Lexington, Kentucky

Lexington, KY

  • Population: 323,152
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $850 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $1,100 per month

Lexington may only be the second largest city in Kentucky, but it packs a big punch. Known as the “Horse Capital of the World” and the “Athens of the West,” Lexington offers its residents tons of recreational, cultural, and professional opportunities — whether its due to its unmatched number of horse farms, its proximity to national parks and hiking trails, or its thriving education, healthcare, and manufacturing industries. The low cost of living and healthy job market make Lexington an attractive city for renters of all ages. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Lexington, KY is $850 per month.

6. Omaha, Nebraska

omaha, ne

  • Population: 478,192
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $875 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $1,168 per month

Omaha is the largest city in Nebraska, situated on the Missouri River. The city is considered a great place to raise a family with its low cost of living, great schools, and low crime rates. But Omaha has something for everyone, including a lively music and entertainment scene, arts and theatre, and excellent access to city parks and other outdoor activities. While the Midwest is still one of the most affordable places to rent in the US, it’s also one of the hottest — meaning that it’s becoming more expensive and more competitive. In fact, the Omaha metropolitan area was one of a couple Midwestern markets ranked as the most competitive rental markets this past year. Omaha also offers many charming neighborhoods with friendly neighbors. There are several Fortune 500 companies in Omaha including Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific Railroad, and Mutual of Omaha Insurance. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Omaha, NE is $875 per month.

7. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, OK - OKC

  • Population: 655,057
  • Average rent for a one-bedroom: $889 per month
  • Average rent for a two-bedroom: $1,049 per month

The largest city in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, or OKC, is also the state capitol. It’s known as a safe and welcoming city with a strong sense of community. In addition to its low cost of living, OKC offers plenty of recreational opportunities, especially in the eclectic Bricktown neighborhood, where you’ll find great restaurants, entertainment, museums, a park, and shopping. The city is quite easy to get around, whether you live in the heart of the city or surrounding neighborhoods. The job market is also healthy, with opportunities across many fields including aerospace, manufacturing, and healthcare. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oklahoma City, OK is $889 per month.

8. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa, OK

  • Population: 401,190
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $895 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $1,095 per month

Known as “T-Town,” Tulsa is located close to the Arkansas River in scenic Green Country. It’s a vibrant city, with great entertainment, arts, and outdoor recreation amenities, plus a thriving restaurant scene. We ranked Tulsa at #2 on our Best Foodie Cities for Renters list. Jobs in Tulsa span many sectors including aerospace, energy, and healthcare, and there’s also a growing tech startup scene. The city is also home to two universities: the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University. The median rent for a one-bedroom in Tulsa, OK is $895 per month.

9. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, TN

  • Population: 651,073
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $899 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $995 per month

Located on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, Memphis is a city defined by its music history, which continues to thrive today. But there’s plenty to do here beyond grooving on Beale Street, including enjoying the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene and numerous city parks including the Shelby Farms Park and the Memphis Botanic Garden. Memphis residents are drawn to the city’s laid-back vibe and southern hospitality, not to mention great BBQ. Major employers in Memphis include FedEx, AutoZone, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Memphis, TN is $899 per month.

10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

milwaukee, wi

  • Population: 590,157
  • Median rent for a one-bedroom: $900 per month
  • Median rent for a two-bedroom: $1,000 per month

Located on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is the most populous city in Wisconsin. The city offers many amenities and a high quality of life for residents, including easy transit around the city, diverse nightlife options, award-winning restaurants, and of course, its legendary breweries. Milwaukee also has great access to greenspaces, with its 140 parks, including the popular Lake Park, designed by the same person who designed Central Park in New York City. Plus, it’s also one of the most walkable cities in the US. It’s also home to two universities: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee campus and Marquette University. The key industries in Milwaukee include advanced manufacturing, energy and power, and food and beverage. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee, WI is $900 per month.

The Cheapest Large Cities to Rent in the US

Below is the list of all of the large cities that we looked at with monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment below the national median of $1,379.

CityPopulationMedian Rent (1BR)Median Rent (2BR)
Wichita, KS389,938$693$850
El Paso, TX681,728$825$1,050
St. Louis, MO300,576$825$1,150
Louisville, KY617,638$850$1,032
Lexington, KY323,152$850$1,100
Omaha, NE478,192$875$1,168
Oklahoma City, OK655,057$889$1,049
Tulsa, OK401,190$895$1,095
Memphis, TN651,073$899$995
Milwaukee, WI590,157$900$1,000
Indianapolis, IN876,384$908$1,125
Tucson, AZ548,073$908$1,245
Albuquerque, NM560,513$934$1,122
Cincinnati, OH303,940$934$1,297
Detroit, MI670,031$950$995
Cleveland, OH381,009$983$950
Corpus Christi, TX326,586$983$1,238
Minneapolis, MN429,606$1,025$1,495
St. Paul, MN308,096$1,049$1,417
San Antonio, TX1,547,250$1,050$1,325
Colorado Springs, CO478,221$1,075$1,340
Kansas City, MO495,327$1,076$1,200
Columbus, OH898,553$1,088$1,295
Pittsburgh, PA300,286$1,100$1,395
Jacksonville, FL911,507$1,150$1,325
Las Vegas, NV651,319$1,184$1,472
Baltimore, MD593,490$1,225$1,558
Fresno, CA531,576$1,267$1,500
Houston, TX2,320,270$1,284$1,593
Philadelphia, PA1,584,060$1,295$1,522
New Orleans, LA390,144$1,295$1,400
Fort Worth, TX909,585$1,297$1,575
Raleigh, NC474,069$1,300$1,497
Phoenix, AZ1,680,990$1,326$1,607
Austin, TX978,908$1,346$1,767
Dallas, TX1,343,570$1,359$1,915

For more information on rent prices in cities across America, check out our National Rent Report.

Methodology

For this report, ApartmentAdvisor analyzed rental listings available on our platform in December, calculating median one-bedroom rent prices in 50+ major US cities with populations larger than 300,0000 people, focusing on cities where the median rent for a one-bedroom unit was less than $1,000 per month. Listings on ApartmentAdvisor come from both small and large property owners and include luxury and non-luxury rental units. Rental data came from ApartmentAdvisor. Population data came from the U.S. Census Bureau.

ApartmentAdvisor also tracks more detailed rental price and inventory data for 100 major cities in the United States, which can be found on our Market Reports page. To learn more about housing costs across the country as well as the national averages for rent prices, refer to our National Rent Report.

We rate and sort every listing based on fair market rent.

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