Weird History
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How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Updated February 14, 2020 19.0k views51 items

Basic living expenses - housing, transportation, clothing, healthcare, food - vary significantly by location. Take Los Angeles, California - the cost of living in LA in 2020 exceeds that in a Midwestern city like Omaha, NE, by 93%. The difference is even larger when you compare LA to a Southern location like Mobile, AL, with the cost of living in the former estimated at nearly 112% higher than the latter. It kind of makes you wonder - were such stark discrepancies always in place?  How about during the 1970s?

Luckily, data from the US Census Bureau can offer insight into these inquiries. As median monthly gross rent - a figure that includes both rent and utilities - rose and fell (mostly rose) throughout the latter 20th century, the Census Bureau tracked the changes. While averages can be helpful when looking at large batches of numbers, outliers and bottlenecks often skew the information. As a result, the Census Bureau offers medians. A median is the number at the center of a data set, often used for widely distributed samples. Medians separate the top and bottom halves of a sample, hitting that sweet spot right in the middle. 

With widespread stagflation - a term denoting concurrent inflation and unemployment - during the 1970s, individuals throughout the US were concerned about the high cost of living. Across the country, the median monthly gross rent was $108, a figure that, when adjusted for inflation, equals $734.21 today. With that in mind, what would rent have looked like for you during the 1970s in your state? Decades later, it might not be as different as you'd think. To see for yourself, put on some bell bottoms, load up the 8-track player with a little disco, and take a look.

  • Alabama

    Median 1970 Rent: $69

    Adjusted For Inflation: $469.08

  • Alaska

    Median 1970 Rent: $189 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $1,284.87

  • Arizona

    Median 1970 Rent: $109 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $741.01

  • Arkansas

    Median 1970 Rent: $71

    Adjusted For Inflation: $482.68

  • California

    Median 1970 Rent: $126 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $856.58

  • Colorado

    Median 1970 Rent: $110 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $747.81

  • Connecticut

    Median 1970 Rent: $127 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $863.38

  • Delaware

    Median 1970 Rent: $111 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $754.61

  • District of Columbia

    Median 1970 Rent: $119 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $808.99

  • Florida

    Median 1970 Rent: $112 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $761.40

  • Georgia

    Median 1970 Rent: $86 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $584.65

  • Hawaii

    Median 1970 Rent: $132 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $897.37

  • Idaho

    Median 1970 Rent: $92 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $625.44

  • Illinois

    Median 1970 Rent: $124 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $842.98

  • Indiana

    Median 1970 Rent: $105

    Adjusted For Inflation: $713.82

  • Iowa

    Median 1970 Rent: $99 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $673.03

  • Kansas

    Median 1970 Rent: $94 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $639.04

  • Kentucky

    Median 1970 Rent: $83 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $564.26

  • Louisiana

    Median 1970 Rent: $81 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $550.66

  • Maine

    Median 1970 Rent: $90 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $611.84

  • Maryland

    Median 1970 Rent: $127

    Adjusted For Inflation: $863.38

  • Massachusetts

    Median 1970 Rent: $117 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $795.40

  • Michigan

    Median 1970 Rent: $115 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $781.80

  • Minnesota

    Median 1970 Rent: $117 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $795.40

  • Mississippi

    Median 1970 Rent: $65 

    Adjusted For Inflation: $441.89