It might sound like an oxymoron—or a disconcerting male health condition—but shrinkflation is real. And it’s happening to apartments around Atlanta. But not all of them.

Shrinkflation is an economics term that refers to a reduction in size (or weight) of products without a corresponding drop in price. Like those highfalutin poké bowls around Atlanta that’ve gotten lighter but remain $17.50, a RentCafe analysis shows that average apartment sizes in the ATL and Decatur have gotten smaller on average over the past decade while rent prices have swelled.

RentCafe, a national apartment search database, studied trends in multifamily living spaces in recent years across the nation’s 100 largest cities with plentiful options for apartment-seekers. As a housing crisis has intensified, builders nationwide appear to be favoring quantity over roominess, as 2022 saw the sharpest average decrease in apartment square footages, dipping 30 square feet in a single year, according to the analysis.

The trend (and sudden drop) in average apartment sizes in America's 100 largest cities. RentCafe

The sharpest decrease in Georgia was found in Decatur, where development patterns have leaned toward urbanization over the past decade. Since 2013, average Decatur apartment sizes have shrunk to 881 square feet—a reduction of 100 square feet that RentCafe reps called “spectacular” in an email to Urbanize Atlanta.   

Next up in the shrinkage department was Atlanta, where average newer apartment square footages are 69 square feet less than a decade ago. For context, analysts equated that to roughly the size of a small home office, subtracted from current floorplans.

Conversely, out in Marietta, the data suggest newer apartments come with more living space these days.

Cobb County’s largest city and county seat has seen average apartment sizes grow by 35 square feet—up to 1,060 square feet. That’s good for the fifth largest apartments of any city studied in the nation, according to RentCafe’s findings.


The rankings relied on Yardi Matrix data and were based on the top 100 U.S. cities with the largest stock of rentals in buildings with 50 units or more. Cities that hadn’t completed multifamily buildings with at least 300 units total last year were excluded. And “new apartments” were considered those built between 2013 and 2022.


On a regional basis (and on the bright side), the analysis found that newer apartments in the South are larger than any other region, tallying an average of 993 square feet in 2022. That’s 106 square feet more than the national average. (Or what Manhattanites call the living room and kitchen.)

Meanwhile, Seattle maintained its previous position at the bottom of RentCafe’s size-based findings. Apartments in the Pacific Northwest tech mecca racked up an average of just 659 square feet—good, or bad, for the nation’s smallest.  



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