Rising rental rates are hitting renters with low-to-middle income hard. The gap between wages and housing costs is continuing to widen, which puts millions of Americans in a tough position.

Many are choosing to rent instead of buy, so the demand for rental housing is causing some rental rates to skyrocket. A new study by the Center for Housing Policy revealed that 1 in 4 working households in America, which amounts to about 10.6 million families, spend more than half of their pre-tax income on housing. These rental trends have especially affected extremely low-income households, or those earning at or below 30 percent of area median income.

This serious gap between rental cost and wages is causing some Americans to take action in order to pay the bills each month, such as working overtime or taking on a roommate. But how did this rise in rental costs happen? There are a number of factors that may have been the cause of this rift.

With a boost in the economy, people are getting out on their own and finding their own place to rent. This crowd often makes up young professionals just out of college, looking to leave mom and dad’s nest.

Another cause may be be that there’s simply not enough rentals. It takes time to approve and build housing, so there has not been an increase in units to match the rise in individuals who are looking to rent. Many are simply unwilling to buy a home at this time, so they opt to lease, which adds many more renters to the market looking for an apartment.