The recession may have officially ended, but that doesn't mean good times are here again for renters in Walnut Creek.

More than 42.6 percent of Walnut Creek and East Bay area renters are spending more than 35 percent of their income just to pay rent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. That's up almost 2 percent from the 2009 figure of 40.2 percent of renters who were paying more than 35 percent of their income. In Walnut Creek, the median gross rent is $1,345, which includes utilities. The national median gross rent is $871 per month.

Nationwide, 44 percent of all renter households had a housing cost burden in 2011, an increase of 1.8 percentage points from 2009. A housing burden is determined to exist when a household spends 35 percent or more of income on housing costs.

With a decline in the homeownership over the last several years due to the mortgage and foreclosure crisis that forced people out of their homes and made mortgage lending more dicey, larger percentages of households turned to renting their homes between 2009 and 2011.

The East Bay area's percentage of "burdened renters" was the same as cities such as Buffalo, N.Y., Indianapolis, St. Louis and Phoenix, all at around 42 percent.

As the Disney-Sea World epicenter in central Florida, Orlando-Kissimmee renters were among the most burdened in the country, with 52.87 percent of renters paying more than 35 percent of their income for housing costs even as gross rents there fell from $1,038 a month to $970.

In Tampa, 49 percent of renters are considered burdened; in San Diego, 48 percent of renters are burdened while Georgia's major metro area, Atlanta, sees 45 percent of its renters are burdened.

Only 80 of the 366 metro areas experienced a statistically significant change in median gross rent between 2009 and 2011, with 23 areas seeing an increase and 57 areas experiencing a decrease.