Minimum wage doesn't cover the rent anywhere in the U.S.

Galtero Lara
Junio 14, 2018

A one-bedroom is affordable only with a minimum wage job in a small number of counties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, all states that have set the minimum wage above the federal level.

The report says, "The struggle to afford modest rental homes is not limited to minimum-wage workers".

Even the $15 hourly wage touted by labor activists would not be enough to make housing affordable in the overwhelming majority of states, the coalition found. In Honolulu, residents earning minimum wage need to work 3.9 full-time jobs to afford a two-bedroom at fair market rent. In Kansas, where the state minimum wage is $7.25, you'd need to make $10.53 an hour to afford a studio.

Nationally, one would have to earn $17.90 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment or $22.10 an hour for a two-bedroom rental.

Someone earning minimum wage would have to work 103 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Charlotte, according to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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New Orleans residents need on average to earn at least $19.15 per hour to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the city and live comfortably, a report out Wednesday shows - about 61 cents more than they needed a year ago. "The rents are far out of reach from what the average renter is earning". To define "affordability", it uses the industry standard of spending no more than 30 percent of income on rent. Even in much less expensive parts of the country, a full-time minimum wage job doesn't pay well enough to afford rent.

You can afford a typical 2-bedroom apartment if you make just under $33 an hour. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wrote in the report's preface. Seven of the ten jobs expected to grow the most over the next decade pay less than the amount needed to afford a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment, according to the report. "In America today, almost 11 million families pay more than half of their limited incomes toward rent and utilities". The three occupations with the greatest projected growth that pay a median wage higher than the housing wage are general operations managers, software developers and registered nurses. At the same time, new rental construction has tilted toward the luxury market because of increasingly high development costs, the report said.

Meanwhile, the housing market is failing to meet the needs of the lowest income renters.

Most low income renters rely on older units that become affordable over time as newer units are developed.

"The housing crisis has reached historic heights, most negatively impacting the lowest income renters", said Diane Yentel, the coalition's CEO. Building that political will take a combination of increased civic engagement-to ensure that low-income renters vote at similar rates as higher income homeowners - and expanded coalitions that include the health, education, civil rights and faith-based communities, all of which have a stake in ensuring more people are affordably housed".

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