Rent Prices Are Too Expensive For Full-Time Minimum Wage Workers

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Workers need to make more than $30 an hour to afford rent on a two-bedroom home in places including California, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C.

June 30, 2017

Photo: Pixabay

The average full-time minimum wage employee cannot afford the typical rent on a two-bedroom unit in any state in the U.S., according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The Huffington Post notes that the average worker would need to make $21.21 an hour to afford rent on a two-bedroom home, without spending more than the recommended 30 percent of income on housing. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour in most of the nation.

Affordability fluctuates across the country. While full-time workers could make less than $14 an hour in Arkansas and Kentucky and still be able to afford rent on a two-bedroom home, workers need to make more than $30 an hour to afford those same homes in states including California, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C.

Minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, as the 1968 federal minimum wage translates to $10.90 an hour in 2015 dollars.

At federal minimum wage, the average American worker would need to log 117-hour weeks for 52 weeks per year to afford a two-bedroom apartment or rental home, according to the report. For the overwhelming majority, not even sharing a dual income with a federal minimum wage-earning partner would cover a two-bedroom rental in their state. 

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