Consumer Alert: Average rent out of reach for many Rochesterians

Inflation increased just slightly in every category — except rent, which went way up. It remained stubbornly high in December, increasing 6.2% year over year.

And that hits folks in Rochester especially hard.

According to, the average price for a studio is $1,137. And that’s simply out of reach for so many Rochesterians.

According to the Children’s Agenda, 8% of Rochester children were homeless at some point in 2022. And 5.6% of renters were evicted.

And it’s easy to see why when you crunch the numbers.

Let’s assume this guy lives alone and makes the median household income in Rochester of $44,156.

After Uncle Sam takes his share, that leaves him with $33,206, which is $2,767 a month.

With that $1,137 average rent for a studio apartment, his rent alone is 41% of his monthly wage.

According to the Department of Labor, the average single person spent $436 a month on food in 2022. The average utility cost in Rochester is estimated at about $130 for a one-bedroom. That leaves this fella with $1,064.

Now think about all his other expenses: Health insurance. Car insurance. Gas. Cell phone. Home internet. This fella finds himself with more month than money.

And the fictional guy I just featured is doing great compared to a lot of Rochesterians: 60% of folks in the Flower City rent, and the average income in the poorest zip code in our city — 14605 — is $18,000. How then could you possibly pay rent of more than $1,100 month.

This explains why our city is facing a housing crisis.

Now this is the point in my Consumer Alert where I usually give you Deann’s Do List with solutions to empower us as consumers.

Unfortunately, I have no solutions.

I wish I did.

The citywide tenants union is holding a press conference next Wednesday, Jan. 17, at noon at City Hall to urge Rochester leaders to adopt controversial rent control policies. I’ll be there to bring you the pros and cons of those policies.