Here Are The Cities Where The Stimulus Check Doesn’t Even Cover One Month’s Rent

By Kathy Morris - Apr. 8, 2020

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The rent’s just too high.

It’s no secret the coronavirus and subsequent spike of unemployment has many hard up. Losing your job is hard in the best of times, losing your job when businesses are shuttered and competition is high for the remaining jobs can feel impossible.

Even workers who haven’t lost their jobs may be dealing with pay cuts and other ramifications of slow business.

Congress’ stimulus package is trying to assist the suffering, with expanded unemployment benefits and a $1,200 check. However, the stimulus money isn’t adjusted for cost of living. That check may go pretty far in rural areas, but in many big cities $1,200 leaves you writing an awkward IOU for your half of the rent.

While home owners can apply for mortgage extensions, renters are more vulnerable and at the mercy of their landlords. Even in states and cities where evictions have been frozen, that only puts off the hurt for renters who will be expected to pay months of rent all at once.

We set out to highlight the cities where the stimulus check will go the furthest, and where it won’t even cover one month’s rent.

Summary Of Findings

  • The city with the highest rent is Sunnyvale, California with a median rent of $2,580– more than double the stimulus check. The city has above average salaries. However, for laid off workers faced with unemployment caps, their formerly high salaries may not be much help.
  • 8 of the 10 cities with the highest rents are in California
  • In 45% of majors cities, the check doesn’t even cover one month’s rent
  • Not a single city has cheap enough rent for the check to cover two months of rent
  • The check will cover the most rent in Cleveland, Ohio, where the median rent is only $706
  • Where is this going the furthest? The Midwest and south
  • 4 of the cities with the cheapest rent are in Ohio

The Cities Where The Stimulus Check Covers The Least Amount Of Rent

  1. Sunnyvale California
  2. Irvine, California
  3. Fremont, California
  4. San Jose, California
  5. Bellevue, Washington
  6. Huntington Beach, California
  7. Arlington, Virginia
  8. Santa Clarita, California
  9. Hayward, California
  10. San Francisco, California

While everyone is hurting from the coronavirus, workers in these 10 cities will be helped the least by the stimulus check. Of course, since high cost of living goes hand in hand with higher salaries, many may not even qualify.

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How We Determined The Cities where The Stimulus Check Helps The Least

This one was pretty simple. We got median rent for 135 major cities from the most recent American Community Survey. We then determined how much the median rent would be covered by the $1,200 stimulus check.

Of course, rent is just one bill. We didn’t calculate utilities, car payments, or insurance. Many will be trying to stretch the check across as many bills as they can. However, rent is the highest bill most people pay and a good measure of just how much of an impact the check will have in different cities.

Closing Thoughts On Cities Where The Stimulus Check Won’t Cover The Rent

In some cities, the stimulus check simply doesn’t do much to cover basic necessities. In high cost of living areas such as California, the check won’t even cover even cover one month’s rent.

Of course, since receiving the check is based on income and income is correlated with cost-of-living, many in high costs of living areas may not even qualify to begin with.

This is all well and good, for high earners who have kept their job. High earners who are newly unemployed won’t qualify either. Instead, they will be reliant on the stimulus’ unemployment benefits and subject to state caps.

You can see where you city ended up below:

Cities Where The Stimulus Check Covers The Most- And Least- Of One Month’s Average Rent

City Median Rent % Of Rent Covered
Sunnyvale, California 2,580 46.51%
Irvine, California 2,399 50.02%
Fremont, California 2,381 50.40%
San Jose California 2,161 55.53%
Bellevue, Washington 2,051 58.51%
Huntington Beach, 1,936 61.98%
Arlington, Virginia 1,924 62.37%
Santa Clarita, California 1,900 63.16%
Hayward, California 1,889 63.53%
San Francisco, California 1,880 63.83%
Oceanside, California 1,815 66.12%
Rancho Cucamonga 1,778 67.49%
Torrance, California 1,746 68.73%
Alexandria, Virginia 1,736 69.12%
El Grove, California 1,707 70.30%
Seattle, Washington 1,699 70.63%
Pasadena, California 1,699 70.63%
San Diego, California 1,698 70.67%
Glendale, California 1,683 71.30%
Fullerton, California 1,673 71.73%
Oxnard, California 1,672 71.77%
Corona, California 1,654 72.55%
Boston, Massachusetts 1,647 72.86%
Anaheim, California 1,643 73.04%
Gilbert, Arizona 1,527 78.59%
Oakland, California 1,498 80.11%
Miramar, Florida 1,498 80.11%
Ontario, California 1,495 80.27%
Frisco, Texas 1,494 80.32%
Los, Angeles,California 1,474 81.41%
Honolulu,, Hawaii 1,472 81.52%
Thornton, Colorado 1,463 82.02%
Naperville, Illinois 1,463 82.02%
Escondido, California 1,456 82.42%
Plano, Texas 1,435 83.62%
Salinas, California 1,418 84.63%
Riverside, California 1,404 85.47%
Lakewood, Colorado 1,396 85.96%
Enterprise, Nevada 1,385 86.64%
Scottsdale, Arizona 1,363 88.04%
Aurora, Colorado 1,343 89.35%
McKinney, Texas 1,332 90.09%
Denver, Colorado 1,330 90.23%
Peoria, Arizona 1,329 90.29%
Palmdale, California 1,321 90.84%
Chandler, Arizona 1,319 90.98%
Austin, Texas 1,314 91.32%
Sacramento, California 1,310 91.60%
Pomona, California 1,302 92.17%
Tacoma, Washington 1,299 92.38%
Vancouver, Washington 1,298 92.45%
Portland, Oregon 1,297 92.52%
Fontana, California 1,293 92.81%
Henderson, Nevada 1,290 93.02%
Aurora, Illinois 1,287 93.24%
Chesapeake, Virginia 1,252 95.85%
Anchorage, municipality,Alaska 1,238 96.93%
Lancaster, California 1,208 99.34%
Atlanta, Georgia 1,204 99.67%
Irving, Texas 1,203 99.75%
Hialeah, Florida 1,197 100.25%
Miami, Florida 1,193 100.59%
Modesto, California 1,188 101.01%
Orlando, Florida 1,187 101.10%
Hollywood, Florida 1,178 101.87%
Bridgeport, Connecticut 1,160 103.45%
Tempe, Arizona 1,158 103.63%
Garland, Texas 1,156 103.81%
Tampa, Florida 1,132 106.01%
Stockton, California 1,132 106.01%
Madison, Wisconsin 1,125 106.67%
Mesquite, Texas 1,116 107.53%
Worcester, Massachusetts 1,112 107.91%
Chicago, Illinois 1,100 109.09%
Arlington, Texas 1,099 109.19%
Bakersfield, California 1,078 111.32%
Jacksonville, Florida 1,074 111.73%
Reno, Nevada 1,068 112.36%
Mesa, Arizona 1,057 113.53%
Baltimore, Maryland 1,057 113.53%
Dallas, Texas 1,054 113.85%
Minneapolis, Minnesota 1,052 114.07%
Phoenix, Arizona 1,049 114.39%
Joliet, Illinois 1,038 115.61%
Eugene, Oregon 1,036 115.83%
Norfolk, Virginia 1,035 115.94%
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1,032 116.28%
Houston, Texas 1,032 116.28%
Fresno, California 1,019 117.76%
Richmond, Virginia 1,016 118.11%
Salem, Oregon 1,007 119.17%
Savannah, Georgia 1,003 119.64%
Olathe, Kansas 993 120.85%
Pasadena, Texas 989 121.33%
Paradise, Nevada 984 121.95%
Glendale, Arizona 978 122.70%
Tallahassee, Florida 971 123.58%
Columbus, Ohio 954 125.79%
Clarksville, Tennessee 950 126.32%
Killeen, Texas 932 128.76%
Lubbock, Texas 929 129.17%
Metairie, Louisiana 919 130.58%
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 917 130.86%
Warren, Michigan 915 131.15%
Omaha, Nebraska 904 132.74%
Montgomery, Alabama 890 134.83%
Spokane, Washington 888 135.14%
Memphis, Tennessee 863 139.05%
Laredo, Texas 863 139.05%
Chattanooga, Tennessee 863 139.05%
Springfield, Massachusetts 862 139.21%
Columbus, Georgia 859 139.70%
Huntsville, Alabama 854 140.52%
Birmingham, Alabama 851 141.01%
Lincoln, Nebraska 843 142.35%
Knoxville, Tennessee 843 142.35%
Mobile, Alabama 837 143.37%
Detroit, Michigan 836 143.54%
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 835 143.71%
Amarillo, Texas 834 143.88%
Jackson, Mississippi 831 144.40%
Tulsa, Oklahoma 826 145.28%
Tucson, Arizona 823 145.81%
Shreveport, Louisiana 819 146.52%
Macon-Bibb, Georgia 809 148.33%
McAllen, Texas 780 153.85%
Wichita, Kansas 772 155.44%
Rockford, Illinois 755 158.94%
Cincinnati, Ohio 745 161.07%
Brownsville, Texas 744 161.29%
Toledo, Ohio 737 162.82%
Akron, Ohio 737 162.82%
Springfield, Missouri 716 167.60%
Cleveland, Ohio 706 169.97%

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Kathy Morris

Author

Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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