Housing costs are out of whack with incomes across the country, making the task of finding an affordable place to live a real struggle, even for many full-time workers.
A report titled “Out of Reach,” out this week from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, highlights the mismatch between wages and housing costs at the state, county and metro levels. The results are consistently dire: in no locality in the country can people who earn the federal minimum wage afford the typical two-bedroom apartment.
The NLIHC determined how much a person working full-time would need to make to comfortably afford fair market rent. They call that the housing wage, or the hourly wage needed so only 30 percent of a person’s income goes toward rent. Households spending more are considered “cost-burdened” — and the extra expense means they cut spending on food, health care and retirement savings.
Nationwide, the housing wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $20.30 hourly (or $42,240 annually). That means someone earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 would have to work 112 hours a week to afford the typical rent.
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