Study: Minimum wage earners simply can’t afford to rent an apartment in any state


By Rollingout

To date, only 30% of Americans make a near-minimum-wage income; that leaves just about 21 million people struggling to pay rent each month. According to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in order to live comfortably (which we understands varies per household) or at most, rent a 2 bedroom apartment, one would need to earn anywhere from $13-$29 per hour.

In other words, poverty, inflation, and government benefits are calculated as if real day renters spend 30% of their income on housing. Sounds nice, but not likely! Take for instance a California resident whose fantasy wage would need to be $26.65 an hour or Washington D.C. where one would need to bring in at least $28 an hour to rent a 2-bedroom unit.

For a slightly different way of looking at it, they also detailed how many hours you’d need to work while earning those local minimum wages to afford a place for your family:

Yes, the economy appears to be improving and more jobs are being created each day, but the hourly (minimum) wages for a lot of these jobs are stagnant at best. A cruel reality as rent across the nation continues to rise as families can longer afford to purchase a home for their family!

Here’s how the report explains the impact of scarce affordable housing on low-income renters:


The tightening rental market has the most significant impact on low income renters. Many higher and middle income renters occupy units that are affordable to lower income groups, reducing the supply of affordable and available decent apartments for the lowest income renters. As a result, in 2013, for every 100 extremely low income (ELI) renter households, there were just 31 affordable and available units.

Currently, an average American needs to bring in $19.35/hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment. That’s a few dollars more than the $15.16 average hourly wage earned by average American renters and 2.5 times the federal minimum wage.

But that’s not it. This pay rate is also more than the median hourly wage of the average American worker, which is just over $17 an hour. For 13 states including California, Washington, New York, and Virginia a hopeful renter would have to earn well over $20 an hour to afford a two-bedroom place. And that’s even after California recently raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The struggle is real! How much do you pay for your housing? We’d like to know! Sound off in the comment section below…

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