Housing Out of Reach of Many Minimum Wage Workers

To afford even a one-bedroom apartment on minimum wage, workers would have to work the equivalent of two full-time jobs in some states. (Source: National Low income Housing Coalition)

A new report concludes that housing costs outpace wages at such a rate that now a worker being paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has to work nearly 127 hours – the equivalent of more than three full-time jobs – to afford an average two-bedroom apartment.

That’s up from 122 hours reported last year in the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s “Out of Reach” report on housing affordability across the country. To afford a one-bedroom priced at the national average fair market rate, it would take federal minimum wage workers 103 hours a week.

In the study, housing is considered ‘affordable’ if it costs one-third or less of a renter’s pay.

“Today, there is not one U.S. state, metropolitan area, or county in which a minimum wage worker who clocks 40 hours a week can afford a two-bedroom apartment,” the report states. “And only in 28 of the country’s counties can a 40-hour-a-week minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom.”

None of those counties is in Alabama.

Here, a renter has to make $14.92 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment, ranking Alabama 47th on the list of housing wages in the country. At minimum wage, a renter in Alabama would have to work 82 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

You can research housing costs and incomes in your ZIP code at the National Low Income House Coalition’s site.