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2016 Turkey Index

November 22, 2016

With Thanksgiving just a couple days away, it’s time for the 2016 edition of our annual Apartment List Turkey Index!

Thanksgiving is the ultimate celebration of food, family, friends and football – it’s a combination that always makes for lively conversation, and if your dinner table is anything like mine, that conversation inevitably turns to a question as old as time – how much would rent cost if we all decided to pay in turkey dinners? Thankfully, we can now answer that question definitively:


To solve this all-important problem, we started with the hundreds of thousands of listings on our website and used that data to calculate the median price of a two-bedroom apartment in cities across the US. We then estimated the nationwide average price of a Thanksgiving dinner; we included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie for a total price of $51.50 (up 1.6% from last year). The average dinner price was then adjusted for each city using a grocery cost index. Finally, we divided the rent price by the city-specific dinner cost to arrive at the Turkey Index.


As you might expect, our Turkey Index varies quite a bit by location. New York City tops our list, with the monthly two-bedroom rent coming in at a pricey 70.0 turkey dinners (not to mention the time and effort of delivering all that food safely to your landlord). Other cities at the expensive end include San Francisco, Washington DC and Los Angeles, with indexes of 68.7, 51.8 and 44.7, respectively. By contrast, in Cleveland you can get by with a modest 13.1 dinners per month. Memphis (15.1), Kansas City (15.9), and Albuquerque (17.7) are all quite affordable as well. In between these two extremes are cities such as Portland (26.5), Denver (31.3) and Austin (33.6).

For reference, we’ve included data for the full set of cities included in our analysis. See the table below to compare costs across the country. Happy Thanksgiving!

CityMedian 2BR PriceTurkey Index
New York, NY$4,50070.0
San Francisco, CA$4,70068.7
Boston, MA$3,21057.8
Bethesda, MD$2,98052.0
Washington, DC$3,05051.8
Vero Beach, FL$2,50047.2
Los Angeles, CA$2,60044.7
San Jose, CA$2,60044.4
Arlington, VA$2,65044.3
Miami, FL$2,20042.0

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Chris is a senior housing economist at Apartment List, where he conducts research on economic trends in the housing market. Chris previously worked as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve and an economic consultant, and he has BA and MA degrees in economics from Boston University. Read More
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