Of course you can choose whether to pay rent. Many people choose the alternative of paying a mortgage. Others live in their parent's basement, or they lower their rent by renting just a room.
You can also choose whether to have children.
You can also choose to live in an area with a lot of employers or with only a few employers. It might cost more to live close to employment centers, but if that lets you get rid of an extra car, you would have an extra $9,122 per year that you could pay towards rent or a mortgage.
There's no such thing as a perfectly free market, but that shouldn't stop us from trying to make the market as efficient and equitable as possible.