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Renting on a $45K Salary in Top American Cities

Renters in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Denver find out what they can afford.

When we posted this article about the New York, Chicago, and Atlanta apartments you can rent on a $50,000 salary, the response was immediate. Comments came pouring in. After the buzz that article generated, we felt compelled to continue our research about the kinds of apartments you can find if you earn the mean American wage (as reported Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2016).

To test our mettle, we challenged ourselves to find apartments in Dallas, Denver, and Los Angeles for $5,000 under the mean salary. We crunched numbers in Dallas and Denver, we assumed that you’d pay 30% of your annual $45,000 income on rent, or $1,125 a month. For Los Angeles rentals, we bumped the percentage to 40% of your annual gross income. Considering that many Angelenos pay more of their salary on rent, their monthly budget is $1,500.

While it isn’t easy to find gems at this price in every market, they’re out there. Here are some examples that confirm it’s possible to find a space of your own without having to eat ramen noodles every night to live there.

What a $45K Salary Looks Like in Dallas

Northwest Dallas/Love Field

renting on 45KWith a median income of $47,000 and 46% of the area’s residents listed as single, the Northwest Dallas/Love Field neighborhood gets part of its moniker due to its proximity to the national airport that’s smaller and less busy than DFW. Median rental units run about $1,500 per month, but that shouldn’t deter you. Available spaces that fit into the $1,125 rent budget include units at Lakewood Plaza Apartments.

The building itself offers studios for $845 and one bedrooms for $1,045. Inside, you’ll find restored original hardwood floors and tile alongside new appliances.


Historic District

reality of renting 45KIf living where the action is happens to be high on your list, the Historic District won’t disappoint—81% percent of its residents are single, while 69% are college educated. Although median rent is $2,975, you might consider checking out the offerings at Lone Star Gas Lofts II. A 677-square-foot studio rents for $970 a month and a 763-square-foot, one-bedroom unit goes for $1,161.

The building touts its proximity to the Dallas Farmers Market (three blocks) and Main Street Garden (one block). Meanwhile, 11% of residents use public transit for their daily commute and 17% walk.



Hollywood Heights

Just 10 minutes from downtown you’ll find the neighborhood of Hollywood Heights. Fifty percent of its residents are single and 35% are college educated. Median income is $38,138 and median rent is $1,650. Nestled in this area lies Lakewood on the Trail. Although it was built in 1987, the property is being renovated and updated. Tenants enjoy amenities that include an all-new fitness studio, and a cyber cafe with free Wi-Fi, Starbucks coffee, and computers. Its social areas include an outdoor kitchen and fire pit. A 470-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment here starts at $977.

What a $45K Salary Looks Like in Los Angeles


Median rent in Westlake runs $2,445, while 38% of its residents are single and 16% are college educated. For $1,475 per month, or slightly under 40% of a $45,000 salary, the newly renovated one-bedroom unit located at 1631 S Burlington Ave has laminate flooring throughout. This apartment offers tenants easy access to the 10 Freeway, even though 41% of the area’s residents use mass transit to commute. In addition, the unit is near restaurants, shopping galleries, libraries, and other interesting spots.

The location offers tenants easy access to the 10 Freeway (even though 41% of the area’s residents use mass transit to commute.) In addition, the unit is near restaurants, shopping galleries, libraries, and other interesting spots.


The mere name Hollywood probably stirs up thoughts about glitz, glamour, and bling. Even so, the most iconic places on Earth still need that community feel.

This location plays host to one of the biggest farmers markets in the country every Sunday and is known for its live music venues. Median rent is steep at $4,000 per month, but a 326-square-foot studio at the Vida starts at $1,575. Located just off Interstate 101, the Vida offers complimentary Wi-Fi in common areas, a Jacuzzi, and a music rehearsal space.

Median household income in this area is $34,191. Thirty-five percent of its residents are college educated and 58% of its residents are single.


Wilshire Center/Koreatown

rent on 45KIf you have a penchant for Korean barbecue, Wilshire Center/Koreatown is the place for you.

A 450-square-foot studio near mass transit at the Towers on Western runs $1,395 per month, far below the median rental price of $3,525. In addition to Korean barbecue, the area offers 24-hour spas, coffee shops, and BYOB private karaoke.

Forty-three percent of the area’s residents are single, while 31% are college educated. Median income in this neighborhood is $32,794.

What a $45K Salary Looks Like in Denver

Virginia Village

rent on 45KLocated away from center city yet not too far from to the city’s light rail service, Virginia Village offers easy access to the Cherry Creek Trail and Infinity Park. At the Lodge Apartment House, residents can enjoy an outdoor and indoor pool, tennis court, and fitness center. Pets are welcome in the building and able to take advantage of a nearby Bark Park.

Forty-nine percent of the area’s residents are single, while 55% are college educated. Median rent runs tenants $2,275. Even so, a 594-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment at the Lodge Apartment House starts at $1,081.


Cherry Creek

rent for 45K


A listing at Luango at Cherry Creek Luxury Apartments prices a 689-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment for $1,181 and doesn’t skimp on the amenities. The complex has a Wi-Fi cafe, a picnic area with grills, and a media room. Residents also have access to a year-round heated pool and spa.

The complex’s 80231 zip code has a median rent of $2,200 and median income of $35,000. Forty-six percent of the residents are single, while 52% are college educated.


Dayton Triangle, Aurora

renting on 45KNearby Dayton Triangle, Aurora offers sweeping prairie grass and serious mountain views. It also has living quarters that won’t break the bank. Median rent here is $1,995 and median income is $38,295. Forty-four percent of the residents are single, while 42% are college educated. At Apres, a 750-square-foot, one-bedroom starts at $1,140 and offers tenants fireplaces, a fitness center, and pool access.

Which apartment do you like best in each city? Let us know in the comments.