The 25 Cheapest US Cities to Startup In (by Rent)

Today, the median price of a one-bedroom in San Francisco is $3,460. If you want to start a startup there, and you’re going to quit your job to do it, you need savings of over $40,000 to give you a year’s worth of runway – for your rent alone.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, you have a year’s runway once you’ve saved up $6,600 – less than one-sixth that amount. And people say that cost of living doesn’t matter for a startup scene? It may not be a deciding factor, but cost of living is a measure of the risk you’re taking when you dive in and start a company. Whether it’s better to have more people becoming entrepreneurs or have fewer (but crazier) entrepreneurs is a debate for another day.

This week, Zumper released its National Rent Report for February listing median rent prices in the top 50 markets in the US. Their analysis? Bay Area rents remain astronomical; prices are rising in Milwaukee, Louisville, and Omaha; and rent is getting cheaper in Boston, Cleveland, and Columbus.

Zumper has data on the monthly price of one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. You can view the full report here, including data on the most expensive neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles. The most expensive and cheapest US cities (based on a one-bedroom) are below.

Cheapest US cities to startup in (by median one-bedroom monthly rent):

1. Wichita, KS ($480)

2. Tucson, AZ ($540)

3. Detroit, MI ($550)

4. Oklahoma City, OK ($580) 

5. Tulsa, OK ($580) 

6. Indianapolis, IN ($590) 

7. Albuquerque, NM ($620) 

8. El Paso, TX ($630) 

9. Memphis, TN ($650) 

10. Arlington, TX ($650) 

11. Mesa, AZ ($670) 

12. Columbus, OH ($670) 

13. Colorado Springs, CO ($680)

14. Phoenix, AZ ($690) 

15. Fresno, CA ($700)

16. Las Vegas, NV ($700) 

17. Kansas City, MO ($720) 

18. Cleveland, OH ($730) 

19. Omaha, NE ($760) 

20. Fort Worth, TX ($780) 

21. San Antonio, TX ($800) 

22. Jacksonville, FL ($800) 

23. Louisville, KY ($810)

24. Sacramento, CA ($830) 

25. Raleigh, NC ($840)

Most expensive US cities to startup in (by median one-bedroom monthly rent):

1. San Francisco, CA ($3,460) 

2. New York, NY ($3,000)

3. Boston, MA ($2,300) 

4. Washington, DC ($2,000) 

5. Oakland, CA ($1,980) 

6. San Jose, CA ($1,900) 

7. Los Angeles, CA ($1,760) 

8. Miami, FL ($1,750) 

9. Chicago, IL ($1,670) 

10. Seattle, WA ($1,630) 

11. San Diego, CA ($1,480) 

12. Philadelphia, PA ($1,350)

13. Minneapolis, MN ($1,320)

14. Denver, CO ($1,300) 

15. Portland, OR ($1,300) 

16. Atlanta, GA ($1,150) 

17. Dallas, TX ($1,150) 

18. Long Beach, CA ($1,100) 

19. Baltimore, MD ($1,100) 

20. Houston, TX ($1,090)

21. Austin, TX ($1,030) 

22. Milwaukee, WI ($1,020) 

23. Virginia Beach, VA ($950) 

24. Charlotte, NC ($930) 

25. Nashville, TN ($860)

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Written by:
Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact
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