Millions of Americans face massive issues regarding the abnormally unequal housing costs to hourly wages. According to the latest Out of Reach report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a typical U.S. employee would be required to earn a whopping USD 21.21 per hour to practically pay for a simple two-bedroom apartment. That is about three times more than the centralized minimum wage of USD 7.25 and nearly 30 percent more than the USD 26.38 hourly wage a typical U.S. renter earns.
In order to get the statistics, the report mapped the minimum hourly wage needed to pay off a simple rental according to the centralized Fair Market Rent (FMR) calculations. It describes the term “affordable” as utilities and housing that does not cost more than 30 percent of the annual income of a person, besides the basic standard the feds use. What’s troubling is that the minimum housing wage keeps on increasing yearly ever since NLIHC started tracking these reports.
Despite some cities and states celebrating their current “livable wages”, you cannot find a single metro area, county or state where they can afford a modest two-bedroom rental. This is still the case even if they worked 40 hours weekly or 53 weeks yearly at the federal minimum wage.
It seems that only 12 counties in Oregon, Washington and Arizona offer one-bedroom units where employees can afford, most likely because the minimum wages for these states are above the legal standard. However, the majority of these are situated in the lightly populated rural areas that are far from business districts.
Over 26 percent of renter households live in a metro area or country where it would require them to work 60 hours in a week of minimum-wage, full time just to practically pay off a measly single bedroom unit.
The demand for rentals keep on rising and several households throughout the income range are competing for similar limited units. Even though low-wage workers have received pay increases over a couple of years, it is still not enough to thrive during the affordable housing crisis.