(Meredith) -- A worker in the U.S. making minimum wage can’t afford to pay rent on a basic two-bedroom apartment without working a lot of overtime, and even downsizing to only one bedroom doesn’t help much, a study found.
The national average wage workers would need to earn in order to make rent payments on a two-bedroom apartment is $22.10 an hour, according to Out of Reach, an annual report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition that examines the shortfall between wages and the costs of renting. For a one-bedroom apartment, the NLIHC’s report found you’d have to bring in $17.90 an hour.
The federally mandated minimum wage is set at $7.25, meaning workers would have to work around 122 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, just to afford a two-bedroom apartment. The NLICH calculated that a one-bedroom apartment would take 99 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.
Where you’re working and paying rent makes a huge difference, obviously, since rental markets vary widely by state, county and city. The states the report found to have the greatest disparities between wages and renting costs include the usual suspects, like Hawaii (-$19.98), Maryland (-$11.53), California (-$11.18) and New Jersey (-$9.96). But even the state with the lowest average wage needed to afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment, Arkansas, at $13.84, still has a gap of $6.59 between that and what workers make on minimum wage.
The report also looks at the effect of occupation and government programs and policies on housing costs and worker wages. Check out the full report from NLICH here.