You might think that these days, renters are bound to have tough luck in any city they try but that’s not the case! That’s why we’ve created a list of the top small cities for renters in 2021, to help you find the best rentals out there. We used information on rent, jobs, income, healthcare, and education in order to make our choices. But we’re going to go beyond the statistics in order to look more closely at the top 10 renter-friendly small cities we found. Let’s dive in.

10. Omaha, NE

Average Rent: $966.67

omaha nebraska top city for renters

Omaha is Nebraska’s largest city, with over 475,000 residents, and the nation’s 40th largest. Combined with nearby Council Bluffs, IA, it makes up the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area, which is around 944,000 people. It ranks eighth in the nation in per-capita billionaires and Fortune 500 companies. Its economy is diverse, and its most popular industries include banking, insurance, telecommunications, transportation, architecture, and construction. Bank of the West, Paypal, and MetLife are all headquartered there. It’s a bustling city, chock full of great rentals.

Omaha is also home to the largest community theater in the country, the Omaha Community Playhouse. Other important cultural attractions include the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, the Holland Performing Arts Center, the Orpheum Theater, and the American Midwest Ballet.

9. Harrisonburg, VA

Average Rent: $860.70

Harrisonburg is located in the Shenandoah Valley, and its metropolitan area contains over 125,000 people. The city is noted for its diversity, with a strong Latino presence. Harrisonburg is home to James Madison University, which is one of the city’s biggest employers and cultural centers. It’s also home to a number of parks, many of which contain dozens of acres of green space, and the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum.

8. Greenville, NC

Average Rent: $1,144.68

Greenville is one of the health, entertainment, and educational hubs of its region in North Carolina, which is why it’s one of the top cities for renters. Its metropolitan area is home to nearly 118,000 people, making it a densely populated municipality. Health care and education are two of the area’s most prominent industries, because the city is home to Vidant Health’s headquarters and East Carolina University. Theater and dance are both popular arts within the city, thanks to the presences of the Greenville Theater Project, the Magnolia Arts Center, the Greenville Civic Ballet, and the North Carolina Academy of Dance Arts. You can find some wonderful rentals here.

7. Lafayette, IN

Average Rent: $830.32

lafayette indiana

Named for the famous general Marquis de Lafayette, the city of Lafayette is home to over 67,000 people. Its most notable feature is its proximity to Purdue University, which is in West Lafayette. Purdue University serves as both an employer and a cultural hub of Lafayette. Outside of the university, there are many manufacturing companies in Lafayette, such as Caterpillar. It also has a wonderful arts scene, home to the Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra. There are some great rentals in this city!

6. Fond du Lac, WI

Average Rent: $751.70

“Fond du Lac” means “bottom part of the lake” in French, and Fond du Lac has its name because it’s seated at the bottom of Lake Winnebago. The biggest employer in the area is Mercury Marines, an international maker of outboard motors. Besides this, manufacturing and mechanics are two other prominent industries within the area. Fond du Lac is the site of the Fond du Lac County Fair, a summer festival called Walleye Weekend, and an annual Fall Festival called Fondue Fest. The city’s largest park, Lakeside Park, sits right on Lake Winnebago.

5. Grand Forks, ND

Average Rent: $845.81

Grand Forks is North Dakota’s third-largest city. Along with East Grand Forks in Minnesota, it forms the Greater Grand Forks. One of the largest benefits of living in this top city for renters is that its economy is diverse. Education, health care, defense, and manufacturing all make up parts of the economy. Because it’s also home to the University of North Dakota, the city also has a variety of cultural opportunities. Grand Forks has the North Dakota Museum of Art, which is on UND’s campus, and the Chester Fritz Auditorium, where you can often catch music or plays. Musical groups such as the Greater Grand Forks Symphony, the Grand Forks Master Chorale, the North Dakota Ballet Company and the Grand Forks City band all perform often and give the city its beloved arts scene.

4. Green Bay, WI

Average Rent: $796.18

green bay wisconsin, a top city for renters

You’ll probably have heard of Green Bay due to the popularity of the Green Bay Packers. However, that’s not the only reason you should know this renter-friendly city. It’s the third-largest city in the state of Wisconsin. Green Bay’s nickname is “The Toilet Paper Capital of the World” because toilet paper was invented there. In addition to its famous football team, it’s also home to the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Railroad Museum. There’s also ARTgarage, a downtown space which fosters the local art scene, whether you’re interested in the performing, literary, or visual arts.

3. Sioux Falls, SD

Average Rent: $873.58

sioux falls south dakota, a top city for renters

Sioux Falls is the most populous city in South Dakota––a quarter of the population lives in its metro area. One of the biggest upsides of living in Sioux Falls is that it’s often dubbed one of the healthiest cities in the entire country. Wells Fargo and Citibank are Sioux Falls’ largest employers, but they’re not the only places you can find work: Sioux Falls is also home to a number of manufacturing and food processing facilities, and an Amazon distribution center is set to open there in 2022. On top of all of this, the city has a thriving visual arts scene, driven mostly by the Northern Plains Indian Art Market, and a poetry scene characterized by many open mics.  

2. Lincoln, NE

Average Rent: $859.88

lincoln ne, a top city for renters

Lincoln is the capital of Nebraska and it’s the country’s 70th most populous city. Many of its residents are employed in healthcare or medicine due to its two large hospitals and many outpatient facilities. Lincoln’s low unemployment rate (3.3%) is one of the reasons it’s an excellent pick for renters. The city is also known for a thriving music scene and a number of beloved art galleries. One of the best attractions in Lincoln is the Sunken Gardens, which was once a project for unemployed workers during the Great Depression. Expect to find plenty of great rentals here.

1. Fargo, ND

Average Rent: $897.49

fargo north dakota, a top city for renters

Fargo is the most populous city in North Dakota. Together with Moorhead, MN, West Fargo, ND, and Dilworth, MN, Fargo forms part of the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan area. It’s been ranked by ZipRecruiter as having a great job market, a great place to raise kids, and a great place to start a career. Those are just some of the reasons it’s our top city for renters. It also has three universities, which means it has a thriving cultural scene. You’ll be sure to find some great rentals here.

We hope that with this list, we gave you a closer look at all of the things the top cities for renters have to offer. If these didn’t interest you, check out our other great places to rent.

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