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Here's how much space you can afford to rent on a normal person's income in California

Los Angeles, California
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The amount of space you can afford to rent on a normal person's income can vary a lot depending on where you live. You'll likely be able to spread out in a city like Bakersfield, California, but you might feel cramped squeezing into under 400 square feet in Los Angeles.

To determine how much space you can afford across the country, real-estate website RENTCafé compared the median monthly household income for renters to the average rent in the 100 most populous U.S. cities, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Yardi Matrix.

The researchers adjusted each city's median income for inflation to reflect 2019 values, then determined how many square feet you could afford in each place if you don't spend more than the expert-advised 30% of your income on rent.

Here's what earning the median income could get you in the five most populous cities in California, along with each city's average apartment size and rent price. Cities are ranked from the largest amount of space you could afford to rent to the smallest.

Fresno, California

How much space you can afford on a median income: 640 square feet

Median monthly renter income: $2,525
Average apartment size: 895 square feet
Average rent price: $1,059

San Diego, California

How much space you can afford on a median income: 552 square feet

Median monthly renter income: $4,523
Average apartment size: 876 square feet
Average rent price: $2,154

San Jose, California

How much space you can afford on a median income: 551 square feet

Median monthly renter income: $5,615
Average apartment size: 885 square feet
Average rent price: $2,706

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San Francisco, California

How much space you can afford on a median income: 407 square feet

Median monthly renter income: $6,537
Average apartment size: 748 square feet
Average rent price: $3,607

Los Angeles, California

How much space you can afford on a median income: 333 square feet

Median monthly renter income: $3,455
Average apartment size: 792 square feet
Average rent price: $2,463

The data highlights that location matters: The more populated the city, generally, the less space you can afford without becoming rent-burdened. Expensive and crowded cities like Los Angeles, for example, "are places where many dream of … having a better job, a bigger income, and thus, more accessibility to the downtown lifestyle," RENTCafé reports.

However, "these cities offer the least amount of space one can afford to rent on a median income, even though they are among the cities with the highest average monthly incomes in the country."

On the other hand, you could afford nearly 900 square feet in a city like Bakersfield, California, which has a population of about 380,000. The average rent there is lower than $1,000, too.

No matter where you are on the map, however, living within your means and employing common-sense budgeting tactics can help you save. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

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