SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — If you want to live in San Francisco as opposed to a suburb somewhere in the East Bay, there’s a general consensus you will have to sacrifice the luxury of privacy and space. San Francisco apartments aren’t typically the most spacious, and space is limited in the approximately 7 x 7 mile city with a population of 815,201.

A study by RentCafe looked into which Bay Area cities had the most average apartment space measured in square feet. Vallejo ranked number one with an average 487 square feet and 1.53 rooms per renter. Rooms per person is equivalent to one bedroom plus a shared living room, according to the study.

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The study also analyzed cities across the country. RentCafe compiled a top 50 list, and Independence, MO ranked first with an average apartment space of 731 square feet. No California city cracked the national list.

“California renters have least personal space,” the study said. RentCafe cited the high cost of living in the state and the crowded cities with a lack of available apartments. All California cities recorded less than 500 square feet per every apartment analyzed — except Roseville and Bakersfield.

The average rooms per California renter is 2.08. The last ranked Bay Area city, Fremont, notched an average of 0.97 rooms per renter.

Only Fontana and Salinas ranked higher than Fremont as the California cities with “least personal space per renter.” Roseville (601 square feet) and Bakersfield (504 square feet) ranked top as the two California cities with the “most personal space per renter.”


RentCafe compiled its data by analyzing the average apartment size using data across 254 cities in the U.S. — looking into apartment complexes with 50 units or more. It looked into those cities’ average apartment size and factored in household size for rented properties. The data is as of January 2022.

The average number of “rooms per renter” was calculated by the number of bedrooms plus the living room was divided by the household size (the average number of people living in the household).

For the Bay Area list, RentCafe ranked the 13 cities in the region with the most average renter space. Small apartment complexes in a major city like Oakland or San Francisco with less than 50 units were not counted in this study.

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The full study can be viewed on RentCafe’s website.