Rents in Los Angeles are shooting up--they're now 5.9 percent above their pre-recession peak in the county--largely because of high housing prices and low rental stock. Meanwhile, the recession stalled apartment development and pushed a lot of homeowners back into the rental market. Now a new report (pdf) from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that Los Angeles actually has the highest percentage of renters in any major US metro area: 52 percent of Angelenos were renters in 2012, compared to 35 percent nationwide (and 30 percent in St. Louis, which has the lowest percentage). One of the researchers involved tells KPCC that's in part "a reflection of the high housing costs in the area and a younger population as well." The report found that renting is shooting up all over, though--more people in the US became renters in the aughts than in any period in the last 50 years, and their rent is increasingly unaffordable: Nationwide, rents went up six percent between 2000 and 2012, while renters' income fell 13 percent, and more than half of US renters are now spending more than the recommended 30 percent of income on rent (that's an all-time high). More than a quarter of renters--27 percent--now spend more than half their income on rent. As another researcher points out, less affordable rents can be catastrophic for renters and terrible for the economy as a whole: "With little else to cut in their already tight budgets, America's lowest-income renters with severe cost burdens spend about $130 less on food each month, and make similar reductions in healthcare, clothing, and savings." A real estate expert from USC's Lusk Center suggests relaxing development rules and raising the minimum wage.