Affordable Housing Crisis: Minimum wage doesn’t cover the rent anywhere in the U.S.

CBS News reports earlier this summer (2018) that a job paying minimum wage doesn’t pay enough for rent anywhere in the U.S., based on a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Excerpts below:

A minimum-wage worker would have to put in lots of overtime to be able to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country. And downsizing to a [one bedroom apartment] barely helps.

Even with some states hiking pay for those earning the least, there is still nowhere in the country where a person working a full-time minimum wage job can afford to rent a decent two-bedroom apartment, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

[Even a $15 an hour minimum wage wouldn’t help in the] overwhelming majority of states, the coalition found. Nationally, someone would need to make $17.90 an hour to rent a modest one-bedroom or $22.10 an hour to cover a two-bedroom place.

Renters across the country earn an average hourly rate of $16.88, the report estimated, a finding that illustrates how even folks earning more than the minimum wage scramble to pay for housing.

The findings are based on the standard budgeting concept of not spending more than 30 percent of one’s income on housing… The study bases its definition of “modest” rental housing on a weighted average of fair market rent estimates developed annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to calculate the agency’s housing assistance to poor people around the country.

“While the housing market may have recovered for many, we are nonetheless experiencing an affordable housing crisis, especially for very low-income families,” [says] the report’s preface. “In America today, nearly 11 million families pay more than half of their limited incomes toward rent and utilities. That leaves precious little for other essentials.”

In just 22 counties–parts of AZ, CA, CO, OR, and WA–a one-bedroom apartment is affordable to a minimum wage worker, in part because each of those counties has a higher minimum wage than the federal standard of $7.25 per hour.

You can read the complete article on the CBS News website. The linked article is copyright (c) 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *