Cities Where Your Stimulus Check Covers More of Your Rent

Stimulus checks are popping up in checking accounts across the country. This means you could be getting a financial boost during this very uncertain time during the coronavirus pandemic to help reduce the burden of everyday living.

There are a lot of caveats in the CARES Act that spell out how much each person gets. In general, most individuals are eligible for a $1,200 payment, while married couples who filed their 2019 taxes jointly, will get $2,400. Children under 16 net you an extra $500 per child.

You can end up with a sizable amount of money to help make a dent in your monthly bills. If you’ve lost your job, it may be enough to cover expenses until unemployment kicks into gear. But how far stimulus checks will go is really dependent on where you live.

Covering rent with your stimulus check

Are you a party of one or two? The distance your stimulus check goes to help pay large expenses like rent is dependent on where you live and how much you’re getting. As a single person, you may have enough for one month, with a little left over.

As a couple, or if you’re in a living situation with roommates, you may stretch stimulus checks a little further. Applying the money to rent can help delay the need for rent assistance while giving you a bit of a financial break in covering your usual expenses.

One-bedroom apartments

Looking at the average rents in 100 of the most populated cities in the U.S., a single stimulus check will cover a month’s rent in about 38 of them. If you can add up to $100 of your own money, then that number goes up to 46 cities.

If you’re a married couple living in a one-bedroom apartment, there are 88 cities where your check would cover the rent for one, maybe two, months.

one bedroom heat map

  • The South takes the lead with the most cities that have an average monthly rent of less than $1,200. Tulsa, OK tops the list with an average one-bedroom costing only $688 a month. Other Southern cities in the top 10 include Lubbock and El Paso, TX, Greensboro, NC and Oklahoma City.
  • San Antonio, TX is the most populated city with an average monthly rent less than the standard stimulus check. It just makes the cut at $1,131. This is good news for the percentage of the 1.5 million residents who rent. All of which are patiently waiting for the Alamo, River Walk and authentic Mexican restaurants the city is known for, to reopen.
  • For couples sharing a one-bedroom, having double the stimulus checks to apply to rent opens up the ability to live somewhere a little more expensive. Cities like Phoenix, Dallas, New Orleans, Sacramento and Philadelphia all have average monthly rents coming in below $2,400, but above $1,200.

Curious to see where your city lands? This is where your stimulus check will go the furthest in paying rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the 100 most populated cities.

RankCityStateAverage Rent (1BR)Percentage of Rent Covered By $1,200 CheckPercentage of Rent Covered By $2,400 Check
1TulsaOK$688174%349%
2LubbockTX$717167%335%
3ToledoOH$770156%312%
4WichitaKS$805149%298%
5Fort WayneIN$807149%297%
6TucsonAZ$808149%297%
7AlbuquerqueNM$856140%280%
8El PasoTX$865139%277%
9GreensboroNC$883136%272%
10Oklahoma CityOK$884136%271%
11LexingtonKY$928129%259%
12MemphisTN$933129%257%
13OmahaNE$937128%256%
14Corpus ChristiTX$944127%254%
15North Las VegasNV$945127%254%
16LincolnNE$986122%243%
17ArlingtonTX$992121%242%
18Baton RougeLA$1,003 120%239%
19BuffaloNY$1,026 117%234%
20GlendaleAZ$1,041 115%231%
21CincinnatiOH$1,044 115%230%
22ColumbusOH$1,054 114%228%
23BakersfieldCA$1,064 113%226%
24Des MoinesIA$1,067 112%225%
25IndianapolisIN$1,071 112%224%
26GarlandTX$1,071 112%224%
27MesaAZ$1,074 112%223%
28Las VegasNV$1,100 109%218%
29RichmondVA$1,104 109%217%
30LouisvilleKY$1,128 106%213%
31San AntonioTX$1,131 106%212%
32SpokaneWA$1,168 103%205%
33JacksonvilleFL$1,181 102%203%
34MadisonWI$1,193 101%201%
35StocktonCA$1,196 100%201%
36Virginia BeachVA$1,204 100%199%
37FresnoCA$1,205 100%199%
38RaleighNC$1,206 100%199%
39AnchorageAK$1,212 99%198%
40DurhamNC$1,216 99%197%
41GilbertAZ$1,221 98%197%
42Kansas CityMO$1,238 97%194%
43HoustonTX$1,243 97%193%
44BoiseID$1,263 95%190%
45Colorado SpringsCO$1,277 94%188%
46NorfolkVA$1,316 91%182%
47Fort WorthTX$1,318 91%182%
48Saint LouisMO$1,325 91%181%
49CharlotteNC$1,337 90%180%
50ChesapeakeVA$1,357 88%177%
51HialeahFL$1,361 88%176%
52PhoenixAZ$1,390 86%173%
53MilwaukeeWI$1,403 86%171%
54ChandlerAZ$1,407 85%171%
55RenoNV$1,407 85%171%
56IrvingTX$1,414 85%170%
57HendersonNV$1,415 85%170%
58ClevelandOH$1,429 84%168%
59Saint PaulMN$1,443 83%166%
60TampaFL$1,477 81%162%
61DallasTX$1,506 80%159%
62AustinTX$1,507 80%159%
63MinneapolisMN$1,518 79%158%
64OrlandoFL$1,532 78%157%
65New OrleansLA$1,552 77%155%
66AuroraCO$1,568 77%153%
67Saint PetersburgFL$1,568 77%153%
68PlanoTX$1,575 76%152%
69TacomaWA$1,575 76%152%
70PittsburghPA$1,609 75%149%
71DetroitMI$1,641 73%146%
72SacramentoCA$1,658 72%145%
73AtlantaGA$1,707 70%141%
74RiversideCA$1,721 70%139%
75BaltimoreMD$1,722 70%139%
76NashvilleTN$1,759 68%136%
77ScottsdaleAZ$1,798 67%133%
78PortlandOR$1,897 63%127%
79Santa AnaCA$1,964 61%122%
80DenverCO$1,992 60%120%
81PhiladelphiaPA$2,116 57%113%
82HonoluluHI$2,142 56%112%
83Chula VistaCA$2,163 55%111%
84AnaheimCA$2,176 55%110%
85NewarkNJ$2,291 52%105%
86FremontCA$2,333 51%103%
87ChicagoIL$2,388 50%101%
88San DiegoCA$2,512 48%96%
89MiamiFL$2,561 47%94%
90SeattleWA$2,585 46%93%
91IrvineCA$2,680 45%90%
92Long BeachCA$2,742 44%88%
93WashingtonDC$2,766 43%87%
94Jersey CityNJ$3,007 40%80%
95San JoseCA$3,128 38%77%
96Los AngelesCA$3,269 37%73%
97OaklandCA$3,346 36%72%
98BostonMA$3,760 32%64%
99New YorkNY$4,275 28%56%
100San FranciscoCA$4,704 26%51%

Two-bedroom apartments

If you happen to live alone in a two-bedroom, not to worry. There are 18 cities out of the 100 most populated in the U.S. that have average monthly rents less than $1,200. If there are two of you picking up the tab, that number jumps to 77 cities.

Number 77 is Atlanta, and at only $2,233 on average for rent, you still have enough left over to order delivery from your favorite restaurant.

2 bedroom heatmap

  • It’s the South and Midwest that offer the best average monthly rent for two-bedroom apartments. Wichita, KS ranks No. 1 with an average rent of only $827. With $2,400 in stimulus money, that’s almost three month’s rent, should you need it.
  • Houston is the largest city in the country where two people sharing a two-bedroom apartment can get a month’s worth of rent from their $2,400 in stimulus money. The average two-bedroom apartment there is about $1,650, so you’ll even have money left over.
  • Even a little break is better than nothing if you live in the most expensive U.S. cities. Los Angeles, New York, Boston and San Francisco residents can use their $2,400 stimulus checks to pay up to 44 percent of a month’s rent in a two-bedroom apartment.

A second bedroom opens up a lot of space but generally is more expensive. Here’s a look at how much rent relief you’ll get from stimulus checks in the 100 most populated cities.

RankCityStateAvereage Rent (2BR)Percentage of Rent Covered By $1,200 CheckPercentage of Rent Covered By $2,400 Check
1WichitaKS$827145%290%
2TulsaOK$900133%267%
3ToledoOH$924130%260%
4LubbockTX$929129%258%
5AlbuquerqueNM$998120%240%
6El PasoTX$1,001 120%240%
7BakersfieldCA$1,005 119%239%
8MemphisTN$1,014 118%237%
9TucsonAZ$1,020 118%235%
10Fort WayneIN$1,039 115%231%
11Des MoinesIA$1,042 115%230%
12North Las VegasNV$1,044 115%230%
13Oklahoma CityOK$1,056 114%227%
14GreensboroNC$1,071 112%224%
15LincolnNE$1,120 107%214%
16LexingtonKY$1,155 104%208%
17Baton RougeLA$1,162 103%207%
18OmahaNE$1,184 101%203%
19Corpus ChristiTX$1,207 99%199%
20LouisvilleKY$1,270 94%189%
21RichmondVA$1,280 94%188%
22IndianapolisIN$1,294 93%185%
23ColumbusOH$1,302 92%184%
24Las VegasNV$1,315 91%183%
25Virginia BeachVA$1,317 91%182%
26SpokaneWA$1,317 91%182%
27JacksonvilleFL$1,325 91%181%
28ArlingtonTX$1,331 90%180%
29MesaAZ$1,333 90%180%
30RaleighNC$1,367 88%176%
31FresnoCA$1,395 86%172%
32BoiseID$1,403 86%171%
33ChesapeakeVA$1,409 85%170%
34GilbertAZ$1,410 85%170%
35San AntonioTX$1,422 84%169%
36AnchorageAK$1,433 84%167%
37BuffaloNY$1,441 83%167%
38CincinnatiOH$1,442 83%166%
39StocktonCA$1,453 83%165%
40DurhamNC$1,455 82%165%
41Saint LouisMO$1,462 82%164%
42GlendaleAZ$1,498 80%160%
43MilwaukeeWI$1,508 80%159%
44NorfolkVA$1,517 79%158%
45MadisonWI$1,536 78%156%
46Colorado SpringsCO$1,538 78%156%
47Kansas CityMO$1,544 78%155%
48GarlandTX$1,553 77%155%
49CharlotteNC$1,578 76%152%
50HendersonNV$1,588 76%151%
51Fort WorthTX$1,632 74%147%
52HoustonTX$1,644 73%146%
53RenoNV$1,647 73%146%
54ChandlerAZ$1,688 71%142%
55PhoenixAZ$1,707 70%141%
56IrvingTX$1,765 68%136%
57TacomaWA$1,770 68%136%
58HialeahFL$1,773 68%135%
59HonoluluHI$1,806 66%133%
60AustinTX$1,813 66%132%
61AuroraCO$1,822 66%132%
62BaltimoreMD$1,830 66%131%
63OrlandoFL$1,850 65%130%
64TampaFL$1,870 64%128%
65PittsburghPA$1,891 63%127%
66Saint PetersburgFL$1,923 62%125%
67Saint PaulMN$1,936 62%124%
68SacramentoCA$1,957 61%123%
69DetroitMI$2,030 59%118%
70DallasTX$2,049 59%117%
71ClevelandOH$2,055 58%117%
72RiversideCA$2,091 57%115%
73PlanoTX$2,134 56%112%
74NashvilleTN$2,136 56%112%
75MinneapolisMN$2,147 56%112%
76New OrleansLA$2,176 55%110%
77AtlantaGA$2,233 54%107%
78PortlandOR$2,451 49%98%
79Santa AnaCA$2,479 48%97%
80ScottsdaleAZ$2,543 47%94%
81AnaheimCA$2,616 46%92%
82DenverCO$2,735 44%88%
83NewarkNJ$2,754 44%87%
84MiamiFL$2,889 42%83%
85PhiladelphiaPA$2,898 41%83%
86Chula VistaCA$2,969 40%81%
87FremontCA$3,018 40%80%
88ChicagoIL$3,193 38%75%
89San DiegoCA$3,277 37%73%
90IrvineCA$3,292 36%73%
91San JoseCA$3,667 33%65%
92WashingtonDC$3,694 32%65%
93Long BeachCA$3,748 32%64%
94SeattleWA$3,996 30%60%
95Jersey CityNJ$4,168 29%58%
96OaklandCA$4,347 28%55%
97Los AngelesCA$4,655 26%52%
98New YorkNY$5,416 22%44%
99BostonMA$5,454 22%44%
100San FranciscoCA$5,482 22%44%

Getting paid

If you received your previous tax refund through direct deposit, that’s most likely how you’ll get your stimulus check. It’s also the fastest method of delivery, and many people have already had their checks pop up in their accounts.

The alternative option is getting your check through the mail, but this takes longer. You can check on the status of stimulus checks on the IRS website.

Making the most of stimulus checks

However you decide to spend your stimulus check, putting it back into the economy in some way is what the money is all about. “The objective of a stimulus package is to reinvigorate the economy and prevent or reverse a recession by boosting employment and spending,” says Adam Hayes from Investopedia.

Whether that means you cover rent, pay your bills, treat yourself to an Amazon splurge or spend a little extra on groceries, putting that money out there helps everyone. Get out there and give the economy a little boost and yourself a break.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory from March 2019 to March 2020. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
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Lesly GregoryLesly Gregory has over 15 years of marketing experience, ranging from community management to blogging to creating marketing collateral for a variety of industries. A graduate of Boston University, Lesly holds a B.S. in Journalism. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, three cats and assorted fish.

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