San Luis Obispo ranked number one for unaffordable rental costs

July 21, 2020


City of San Luis Obispo residents pay the most in rent, proportional to their income, in the United States, according to a recent study by Insurify.

The study found that 43.43 percent of renters in SLO are spending more than 50 percent of their gross household income on rent. The average rent in SLO is $1,459 while more than 30 percent of the population falls under the poverty line, according to the study.

Two cities in San Luis Obispo County made the more affordable list. In Paso Robles, only 13.49 percent of renters pay more than 50 percent of their household income on rent, followed by Atascadero at 14.18 percent.

Researchers took the estimated number of renters paying 50 percent or more of their household income on gross rent in the past 12 months and compared it to the total number of renters, in cities with a population of over 50,000, to calculate their results. The study garnered median gross rental costs and the percent of the population falling below the poverty line from the American Community Survey’s most recent calculations and the U.S. Census Bureau.

If a family’s total income is less than their designated poverty threshold, they are considered to be under the poverty line.

Of SLO’s 46,997 residents, 32.4 percent fall under the poverty line, according to Data USA.

Of those, Hispanics appear to be disproportionately impacted: they are 3.2 percent of SLO’s overall population, and 13.6 percent of city residents who are living below the poverty line.

Poverty level by race in SLO in 2017:

White: 84.19 percent of the population, and 72.1 percent of people in SLO living below the poverty line
Asian: 5.80 percent of the population, and 5.3 percent of people in SLO living below the poverty line
Hispanic: 3.20 percent of the population, and 13.6 percent of people in SLO living below the poverty line
Black or African American: 2.20 percent of the population, and 2.45 percent of people in SLO living below the poverty line

With an 11.2 percent unemployment rate in San Luis Obispo County, propelled primarily by the coronavirus pandemic, many residents are having difficulty paying their rents. In SLO County, renters impacted by the pandemic, are protected from eviction until 90 days after Gov. Gavin Newsom lifts the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

County officials recommend those unable to pay their rent on time, because of the pandemic, work with their landlords on a repayment plan.

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There’s a phrase, “sun bucks”. Years ago a friend whose wife had a job in Santa Barbara was applying for jobs in Santa Barbara. He was well qualified and in response to two offers pointed out that he could earn twice the salary in Denver or Salt Lake City with half the housing cost. The answer was “we know what we need to pay to get the people we want”.

Wish they had the statistics on homeowners and how many of them pay mortgages more than 50% of their gross household earnings. I would guess it would be more than 43.43%. Want to be a homeowner in SLO? Get used to monthly property taxes being almost as much as your monthly rent. Pick your poison.

I want to live in Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Beverley Hills, or Newport Beach…or San Luis Obispo. You MUST provide me affordable rent…sorry, freely available only for those on public assistance. Move to Bakersfield, while the mentally ill, criminals, and transients enjoy the Central Coast with government agencies, and quasi-government agencies with massive payrolls for all like-minded individuals completely government funded but no accountability trip over themselves to encourage homeless migration to the Central Coast and extend benefits. The North County used to laugh at SLO as the Berkeley with the homeless. Given the state of Sunken Gardens and the Salinas riverbed, are you laughing now?