Weird History

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

Melissa Sartore
Updated February 14, 2020 7.6k views 51 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $69

Adjusted For Inflation: $469.08

Alaska is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $189 

Adjusted For Inflation: $1,284.87

Arizona is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $109 

Adjusted For Inflation: $741.01

Arkansas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $71

Adjusted For Inflation: $482.68

California is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $126 

Adjusted For Inflation: $856.58

Colorado is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $110 

Adjusted For Inflation: $747.81

Connecticut is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $127 

Adjusted For Inflation: $863.38

Delaware is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $111 

Adjusted For Inflation: $754.61

District of Columbia is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $119 

Adjusted For Inflation: $808.99

Florida is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $112 

Adjusted For Inflation: $761.40

Georgia is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $86 

Adjusted For Inflation: $584.65

Hawaii is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $132 

Adjusted For Inflation: $897.37

Idaho is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $92 

Adjusted For Inflation: $625.44

Illinois is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $124 

Adjusted For Inflation: $842.98

Indiana is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $105

Adjusted For Inflation: $713.82

Iowa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $99 

Adjusted For Inflation: $673.03

Kansas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $94 

Adjusted For Inflation: $639.04

Kentucky is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $83 

Adjusted For Inflation: $564.26

Louisiana is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $81 

Adjusted For Inflation: $550.66

Maine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $90 

Adjusted For Inflation: $611.84

Maryland is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $127

Adjusted For Inflation: $863.38

Massachusetts is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $117 

Adjusted For Inflation: $795.40

Michigan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $115 

Adjusted For Inflation: $781.80

Minnesota is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $117 

Adjusted For Inflation: $795.40

Mississippi is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list How Much Your Rent Would Cost In 1970 In Every US State

Median 1970 Rent: $65 

Adjusted For Inflation: $441.89