The Census released a trove of new data this week. The main takeaways? Inflation-adjusted median incomes in the US jumped 5.2% from 2014 to 2015 – the first annual increase since 2007, and the largest gain since 1967. Even better, these gains were spread across ethnicities, regions, age groups, and income percentiles, resulting in a significant decline in the official poverty rate.

Yesterday, the Census also released data from the 2015 American Community Survey, with statistics on income and rents in cities and states across the country. We’ll be digging into the data in the coming weeks, but here’s a sneak peak of how rents and renter incomes have changed in the past year!

Renter incomes increased by 4.1%, while median rents only climbed by 2.6%

Good news for renters! Median incomes increased by 4.1% in inflation-adjusted terms, whereas rents increased only 2.6%. This marks the fourth consecutive year in which renter incomes outpaced rents. Overall, however, renters have yet to fully make up the ground lost from 2007-2011.

Rents climbed the most in Denver, Seattle, and San Francisco

Next, we looked at how median renter incomes and rents changed in 50 of the biggest metropolitan areas across the US. As before, all numbers are inflation-adjusted to 2015 dollars.

Rent growth by metro, 2014-2015

Metropolitan area20142015Change
Denver, CO$1,079$1,1849.7%
Seattle, WA$1,180$1,2637.0%
San Francisco, CA$1,521$1,6236.7%
San Jose, CA$1,781$1,8946.3%
Austin, TX$1,064$1,1316.3%
Portland, OR$1,010$1,0716.0%
Boston, MA$1,248$1,3165.4%
Miami, FL$1,147$1,2085.3%
Oklahoma City, OK$783$8214.9%
Sacramento, CA$1,058$1,1094.8%
Dallas, TX$950$9924.4%
Virginia Beach, VA$1,060$1,1064.3%
Houston, TX$938$9784.3%
Minneapolis, MN$939$9794.2%
Philadelphia, PA$1,021$1,0624.0%
Nashville, TN$882$9174.0%
Hartford, CT$1,000$1,0393.9%
San Diego, CA$1,375$1,4273.8%
Raleigh, NC$939$9713.4%
Charlotte, NC$885$9153.4%
Salt Lake City, UT$933$9643.3%
Orlando, FL$1,036$1,0703.3%
Atlanta, GA$983$1,0153.2%
Cincinnati, OH$752$7753.1%
San Antonio, TX$900$9262.9%
Los Angeles, CA$1,311$1,3482.9%
Jacksonville, FL$967$9942.8%
St. Louis, MO$818$8392.6%
United States$935$9592.6%
Las Vegas, NV$982$1,0072.5%
Columbus, OH$848$8692.5%
Providence, RI$891$9102.1%
Chicago, IL$991$1,0122.1%
Detroit, MI$854$8712.0%
New York, NY$1,283$1,3082.0%
Tampa, FL$958$9761.9%
New Orleans, LA$904$9201.8%
Washington, DC$1,527$1,5531.7%
Phoenix, AZ$970$9861.6%
Pittsburgh, PA$744$7561.6%
Baltimore, MD$1,167$1,1841.4%
Birmingham, AL$798$8091.4%
Milwaukee, WI$837$8481.3%
Kansas City, MO$851$8590.9%
Indianapolis, IN$819$8250.7%
Richmond, VA$1,012$1,0190.7%
Riverside, CA$1,160$1,1660.5%
Memphis, TN$852$8520.0%
Cleveland, OH$753$746-0.9%
Buffalo, NY$740$733-0.9%

Overall, rents climbed the most in cities popular with millennials – Denver (9.7%), Seattle (7.0%), and San Francisco (6.7%) took the top spots, with Austin and Portland not far behind. On the East Coast, Boston (5.4%) and Miami (5.3%) topped the list; somewhat surprisingly, rents in New York only increased by 2.0%.

Rents increased in 47 out of 50 metros we examined, with only small drops in Cleveland (-0.9%) and Buffalo (-0.9%). Memphis rents were flat year-over-year.

Renter incomes soared in Nashville, San Antonio, and Raleigh

Renter income growth by metro, 2014-2015

Metropolitan area20142015Change
Nashville, TN$32,177$36,51613.5%
San Antonio, TX$34,009$38,10912.1%
Raleigh, NC$36,964$41,40312.0%
Denver, CO$41,566$46,07610.8%
Jacksonville, FL$33,397$36,81810.2%
Seattle, WA$45,898$50,4449.9%
Cleveland, OH$26,625$29,1269.4%
Memphis, TN$27,860$30,3939.1%
Milwaukee, WI$30,415$33,1108.9%
Atlanta, GA$36,451$39,6258.7%
Portland, OR$37,963$41,2688.7%
Kansas City, MO$33,958$36,7918.3%
Austin, TX$41,800$45,2338.2%
San Francisco, CA$57,103$61,7718.2%
San Jose, CA$70,352$75,4367.2%
Hartford, CT$35,437$37,9887.2%
Dallas, TX$38,496$41,1086.8%
San Diego, CA$46,805$49,7416.3%
Columbus, OH$33,348$35,3606.0%
Salt Lake City, UT$38,136$40,3725.9%
Virginia Beach, VA$37,465$39,4625.3%
Los Angeles, CA$41,773$43,9805.3%
Oklahoma City, OK$32,185$33,7945.0%
Baltimore, MD$42,742$44,7164.6%
Pittsburgh, PA$28,735$30,0344.5%
St. Louis, MO$31,437$32,7614.2%
United States$34,438$35,8634.1%
Providence, RI$30,957$32,1663.9%
Miami, FL$34,365$35,6673.8%
Philadelphia, PA$35,779$37,0583.6%
Houston, TX$38,205$39,4983.4%
Detroit, MI$29,848$30,8353.3%
Minneapolis, MN$37,452$38,6853.3%
Boston, MA$43,356$44,7013.1%
Washington, DC$58,268$59,9362.9%
Cincinnati, OH$30,601$31,4332.7%
Sacramento, CA$37,749$38,7462.6%
Phoenix, AZ$37,646$38,6292.6%
Orlando, FL$35,910$36,7992.5%
New York, NY$42,563$43,5932.4%
Indianapolis, IN$31,043$31,7122.2%
Tampa, FL$35,271$36,0042.1%
Birmingham, AL$28,543$28,9381.4%
New Orleans, LA$29,801$30,1981.3%
Riverside, CA$37,180$37,4840.8%
Chicago, IL$37,173$37,4500.7%
Richmond, VA$38,033$37,944-0.2%
Charlotte, NC$35,887$35,684-0.6%
Las Vegas, NV$39,506$37,037-6.2%
Buffalo, NY$27,605$25,733-6.8%

Looking at the data on median renter incomes, it appears that the metropolitan areas with the biggest increases were all located inland. Nashville, San Antonio, and Raleigh took the top spots. This is perhaps unsurprising – in our recently released renter survey, renters in those three cities all rated the local job market at an A- or higher.

Elsewhere in the country, other strong performers included Denver, Jacksonville, Seattle, Cleveland, and Memphis, all of which saw renter incomes grow by 9% or more. Overall, one of the biggest takeaways was that renter incomes grew by a solid 5% or more in 23 of 50 metros we studied, and 2.5% or more in 38 metros.

Only four metros – Richmond (-0.2%), Charlotte (-0.6%), Las Vegas (-6.2%), and Buffalo (-6.8%) – saw renter incomes fall from 2014-2015.

Incomes grew faster than rents in 35 out of 50 metros

Difference in rents vs income

Metropolitan areaChange in rentsChange in renter incomesDifference
Cleveland, OH-0.9%9.4%10.3%
Nashville, TN4.0%13.5%9.5%
San Antonio, TX2.9%12.1%9.2%
Memphis, TN0.0%9.1%9.1%
Raleigh, NC3.4%12.0%8.6%
Milwaukee, WI1.3%8.9%7.5%
Jacksonville, FL2.8%10.2%7.5%
Kansas City, MO0.9%8.3%7.4%
Atlanta, GA3.2%8.7%5.5%
Columbus, OH2.5%6.0%3.6%
Hartford, CT3.9%7.2%3.3%
Baltimore, MD1.4%4.6%3.2%
Seattle, WA7.0%9.9%2.9%
Pittsburgh, PA1.6%4.5%2.9%
Portland, OR6.0%8.7%2.7%
Salt Lake City, UT3.3%5.9%2.6%
San Diego, CA3.8%6.3%2.5%
Los Angeles, CA2.9%5.3%2.4%
Dallas, TX4.4%6.8%2.4%
Austin, TX6.3%8.2%1.9%
Providence, RI2.1%3.9%1.8%
St. Louis, MO2.6%4.2%1.6%
United States2.6%4.1%1.6%
San Francisco, CA6.7%8.2%1.5%
Indianapolis, IN0.7%2.2%1.4%
Detroit, MI2.0%3.3%1.3%
Washington, DC1.7%2.9%1.1%
Denver, CO9.7%10.8%1.1%
Virginia Beach, VA4.3%5.3%1.0%
Phoenix, AZ1.6%2.6%1.0%
San Jose, CA6.3%7.2%0.9%
New York, NY2.0%2.4%0.4%
Riverside, CA0.5%0.8%0.3%
Tampa, FL1.9%2.1%0.2%
Oklahoma City, OK4.9%5.0%0.1%
Birmingham, AL1.4%1.4%0.0%
Cincinnati, OH3.1%2.7%-0.4%
Philadelphia, PA4.0%3.6%-0.4%
New Orleans, LA1.8%1.3%-0.4%
Orlando, FL3.3%2.5%-0.8%
Houston, TX4.3%3.4%-0.9%
Richmond, VA0.7%-0.2%-0.9%
Minneapolis, MN4.2%3.3%-1.0%
Chicago, IL2.1%0.7%-1.4%
Miami, FL5.3%3.8%-1.5%
Sacramento, CA4.8%2.6%-2.2%
Boston, MA5.4%3.1%-2.3%
Charlotte, NC3.4%-0.6%-3.9%
Buffalo, NY-0.9%-6.8%-5.9%
Las Vegas, NV2.5%-6.2%-8.8%

Comparing the difference in incomes and rents, incomes grew faster than rents in 35 out of 50 metros we studied. Cleveland renters ended up best off overall – rents there actually fell 0.9%, even as incomes grew 9.4%, for a net 10.3% gain. Other inland cities with strong income growth did well too, with Nashville, San Antonio, Memphis, and Raleigh rounding out the top five.

Interestingly, in Denver, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, and other cities popular with millennials, most gains in renter incomes were swallowed up by increases in rents. Denver, for example, had the 4th highest increase in renter incomes (+10.8%), but rents also grew by 9.7%, for a net 1.1% gain – lower than the national average. Baltimore, on the other hand, had relatively modest increases in both rents (1.4%) and income (4.6%), but which resulted in a larger net increase.

A good year for renters

Despite the steady stream of headlines bemoaning rising rents, overall, 2015 was a good year for renters. Renters in inland cities did much better than those on the costly coasts, however, with significant increases in incomes and fairly moderate increases in rents. If those trends continue, we may see more renters migrating away from coastal cities and towards Nashville, Cleveland, and other vibrant cities on the interior.