Many minimum-wage workers can’t even afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report.
The national housing wage for a modest one-bedroom apartment is $17.90, while the federal minimum wage is $7.25.
A low-income worker earning the federal minimum wage would need 2.5 jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
What do you get when you combine minimum wage with increasing apartment rents? Many workers who can’t afford a place to live.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) annual report recently took a look at the Housing Wage, an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker needs to earn to afford a rental home at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair-market rent. That means spending no more than 30% of their income on housing costs — the typical rule of thumb when budgeting for housing.
NLIHC found that a worker needs to earn $17.90 an hour at a full-time job — 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year — to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. That’s over $10 more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
Let’s look at the math: If a worker holds two full-time minimum wage jobs, they’d be earning $14.50 an hour total — still under the $17.90 needed to afford rent and have 70% of your income left over for non-housing related expenses. The worker would have to take on another, part-time, minimum-wage job to make up the difference. All things considered, that’s a 99-hour work week, 52 weeks a year.
The map below shows the hourly wage needed to afford a fair-market rent, one-bedroom apartment by state, assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks a year, as calculated by the NLIHC. This is also known as the “housing wage.”
Only five states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — have one-bedrooms affordable for minimum-wage workers across 22 counties.
All of these states have minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage, but if you’re looking for housing outside of the 22 counties, even these higher minimum wages aren’t enough.
The housing wage for a one-bedroom apartment in Washington is $21.65. A worker would need income from two jobs at Washington’s minimum wage of $11.50 (the highest of all five states) to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
Workers fare a little better in
Source:: Business Insider