Weird History
18.6k readers

What Your Rent Cost In 1940 By State

February 18, 2020 18.6k views49 items
Editor's Note: Voting and Reranking have been closed.

Housing, clothing, transportation, and food are all basic living expenses, though rent lays claim to the majority of what a person spends each month. The US Census Bureau has been tracking median monthly gross rent - a figure that combines rent, fuels used in the home, and utilities - since the mid-20th century. Median monthly gross rents are determined by looking at the middle of a data set. With the highest and lowest rents equally distributed around that figure, outliers and groupings in the set (known for skewing averages), have less impact on median figures themselves.

Data from 1940 reflects median monthly gross rents as the US began to emerge from the Great Depression and ready itself for the Second World War. Looking at the numbers, the cost of living in the 1940s was an absolute dream. In 1940, nearly two decades before both Hawaii and Alaska received statehood in 1959, the median monthly gross rent across the United States was $27. Adjusted for inflation, that's $501.09 today. For comparison, the median monthly gross rent in 2000 was $602, equivalent to $920.02 now.

Below you'll find the unadjusted and adjusted figures for median monthly gross rent in each state in 1940. Take a look at just how much those numbers have changed in 80 years and you may find yourself looking for a time machine.

  • Median 1940 Rent: $12

    Adjusted For Inflation: $222.71

  • Median 1940 Rent: $18

    Adjusted For Inflation: $334.06

  • Median 1940 Rent: $12

    Adjusted For Inflation: $222.71

  • Median 1940 Rent: $27

    Adjusted For Inflation: $501.09

  • Median 1940 Rent: $22

    Adjusted For Inflation: $408.30

  • Median 1940 Rent: $34

    Adjusted For Inflation: $631.01

  • Median 1940 Rent: $30

    Adjusted For Inflation: $556.77

  • Median 1940 Rent: $45

    Adjusted For Inflation: $835.16

  • Median 1940 Rent: $16

    Adjusted For Inflation: $296.95

  • Median 1940 Rent: $13

    Adjusted For Inflation: $241.27

  • Median 1940 Rent: $21

    Adjusted For Inflation: $389.74

  • Median 1940 Rent: $33

    Adjusted For Inflation: $612.45

  • Median 1940 Rent: $24

    Adjusted For Inflation: $445.42

  • Median 1940 Rent: $23

    Adjusted For Inflation: $426.86

  • Median 1940 Rent: $19

    Adjusted For Inflation: $352.62

  • Median 1940 Rent: $16

    Adjusted For Inflation: $296.95

  • Median 1940 Rent: $15

    Adjusted For Inflation: $278.39

  • Median 1940 Rent: $25

    Adjusted For Inflation: $463.98

  • Median 1940 Rent: $27

    Adjusted For Inflation: $501.09

  • Median 1940 Rent: $34

    Adjusted For Inflation: $631.01

  • Median 1940 Rent: $33

    Adjusted For Inflation: $612.45

  • Median 1940 Rent: $28

    Adjusted For Inflation: $519.65

  • Median 1940 Rent: $11

    Adjusted For Inflation: $204.15

  • Median 1940 Rent: $22

    Adjusted For Inflation: $408.30

  • Median 1940 Rent: $23

    Adjusted For Inflation: $426.86