Renters Squeezing Into Tighter Spaces

Small apartment with constrained space

Pawel Wewiorski - Moment / Getty Images

Apartment sizes have decreased over the past decade, as has the amount of living space per renter, according to a new study from RentCafe. During the pandemic, when more people were spending more time at home, the feature renters may have noticed most is their cramped corridors.

Multifamily experts say there is a need for more space and privacy for tenants living in apartments, but inventory shortages mean renters must make compromises. Many renters have been drawn to single-family rentals since the pandemic, but inventories are tight in that sector as well.

Over the last decade, the total apartment size has been gradually declining, from 943 square feet back then to an average of 913 square feet now, according to RentCafe’s recent study. The reduction has taken place while the number of renters per unit has remained relatively constant.

California renters have the least personal space, according to RentCafe’s analysis.

Chart, cities with least personal space per renter


Meanwhile, renters tend to find the most personal space in units in the Midwest, followed by the South.