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Denver Among Top 10 U.S. Cities With Highest Income Needed To Pay Rent

DENVER (CBS4) - As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, many Coloradans are struggling to cover expenses including rent. A new study by personal finance website SmartAsset ranks Denver among the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest income needed to pay for a two-bedroom rental.

The income needed to pay rent in Denver without being housing-cost burdened is about $82,300, according to the study. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines cost-burdened as a household that spends more than 30% of its annual income on rent or mortgage payments.

rent payments
(credit: SmartAsset)

According to the study, the average two-bedroom monthly rent in Denver was roughly $1,900 for Jan. 2020 through April 2020. Researchers determined the average rent using data from the rental platform Zumper.

The study calculated the household income renters would need to afford the average two-bedroom apartment while paying no more than 28% of their total income in rent.

In more than one in four large U.S. cities, the study found renters need to earn six figures annually to avoid being housing-cost burdened. San Francisco, California has the highest income needed to pay rent, at $194,796.

income to pay rent
(credit: SmartAsset)

In 10 of the 25 cities, the median household income exceeds the income needed to pay rent. In these locations, the average household can afford a two-bedroom apartment.

The study found El Paso, Texas has the highest median household income relative to its income needed to pay rent. Census Bureau data shows that the 2018 median household income was about $45,000. Meanwhile, the average two-bedroom apartment rent was less than $800. Researchers found the income needed to pay rent in El Paso is roughly $34,100.

RELATED: Group Blocks Denver Municipal Building To Protest Evictions

In July, Colorado launched a new housing assistance program, which allocates nearly $20 million in federal CARES Act Funding for Coloradans facing financial hardship during the pandemic. To find out if you qualify, visit

The Colorado Apartment Association also is providing resources for residents struggling with rental payments through a partnership with Resident Relief Foundation. So far, the fund has raised more than $130,000 for Colorado residents.

The Apartment Association has assembled a list of more than 100 COVID-19 resources for Coloradans, which can be found here.

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