A minimum-wage worker needs 1.5 jobs just to afford half the rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in most of the US
Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images
- Many minimum-wage workers can't afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual report.
- The national housing wage for a modest two-bedroom rental apartment is $22.10, while the federal minimum wage is $7.25.
- A low-income worker earning the federal minimum wage would need three jobs to afford a two-bedroom apartment - or 1.5 jobs and a roommate.
A minimum-wage worker needs 2.5 full-time jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment in most of the US, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual report.But that's nothing compared to how many jobs they'd have to work to afford a two-bedroom rental apartment in most of the US - three.
The report looked at the Housing Wage, an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker - working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year - needs to earn to afford a rental home at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's fair-market rent. That's defined as spending no more than 30% of their income on housing costs - experts' rule of thumb when budgeting for housing.NLIHC found that the national housing wage for a two-bedroom rental apartment is $22.10. That's slightly more than three times the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
The map below shows the hourly wage needed to afford a fair-market rent, two-bedroom apartment by state, assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks a year, as calculated by the NLHIC. This is also known as the "housing wage."
There is no state in which a minimum-wage worker can afford a two-bedroom rental home by working a standard 40-hour work week, according to the report.This is true even in Arkansas, which has the lowest housing wage of $13.84. The state has a minimum wage of $8.50, which means workers would need to work a full-time job and a part-time job, or 65 hours a week, to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
Fourteen states have a housing wage exceeding the national housing wage of $22 - Washington, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, plus Washington DC.
Of all these states, Hawaii is the most expensive with a $36.13 housing wage. Here, workers earn a minimum wage of $10.10. With three jobs, that's $30.30 - more than the national housing wage, but still not enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the state. A worker in Hawaii would need to work nearly four full-time jobs, or 143 hours a week, to afford a two-bedroom rental.
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