Who Can Afford to Rent in California’s Many Regions in 2021?

CHPC 2021Brief_WhoCanAffordtoRentCA- coverAs California’s housing crisis has deepened in recent years, more and more families have been affected, leading some state and local leaders to consider investing scarce resources to help the households earning at (or even above) the area median income (AMI). But what does the data show concerning the ability of moderate-income households to afford market rents in different parts of the state? 

A new California Housing Partnership analysis finds that households earning 100% of AMI can afford average two-bedroom rents in every California county and in 89% of the state’s zip codes, whereas extremely low-income households cannot afford average rents in any California county. The analysis concludes that state and local leaders should continue to prioritize scarce affordable housing resources for Californians at the lowest income levels first or risk further increasing the number of households living in poverty or without a home.


​​To learn more about the data contained in this report, please contact Anthony Carroll  (, Research Assistant at the California Housing Partnership.

To learn more about the policy recommendations contained in this report, contact Mark Stivers (, Director of Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy at the California Housing Partnership.


Don’t miss our upcoming virtual policy briefing hosted by SCANPH: Affordable Housing’s Role in Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in California, taking place on Thursday, December 9th. For details visit



CHPC 2021Brief_WhoCanAffordtoRentCA- 1 Map AMI by County  CHPC 2021Brief_WhoCanAffordtoRentCA-2 Cost Burden by Income Group  CHPC 2021Brief_WhoCanAffordtoRentCA-3 Rent Affordability by Income Level  CHPC 2021Brief_WhoCanAffordtoRentCA- C Map AMI to Afford Rents