Today, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released Out of Reach 2018: The High Cost of Housing. The report shows that on average a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn $22.10 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent and $17.90 for a modest one-bedroom apartment. The report illustrates that rental housing is out of reach for millions of low-wage workers, seniors and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes, and other low income households.
Out of Reach provides the Housing Wage – the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs – for every state, county, and metropolitan area in the country. In no county can a full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent while working a standard 40-hour week. In only 22 out of the more than 3,000 counties across the U.S. can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a one-bedroom apartment. On average, a full-time minimum-wage earner would have to work 122 hours per week (approximately three full-time jobs) for 52 weeks a year to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home and 99 hours per week (two-and-a-half full time jobs) for a modest one-bedroom apartment.
It’s not just minimum wage workers for whom the rent is out of reach: the average renter earns enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in just 11% of U.S. counties and enough to afford a one-bedroom apartment in less than half (43%) of U.S. counties. Seven of the ten occupations projected to experience the greatest growth over the next decade, including medical assistants, home health aides, and food service workers, provide a median wage lower than what is needed for a full-time worker to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.
In his preface to this year’s Out of Reach report, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) states, “In the richest country in history, no family should have to make the awful choice between putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads. This is America. We have the resources to solve the affordable housing crisis. We have the solutions that work. What we need is the will to do what is right.”
Visit www.nlihc.org/oor to learn more about the Housing Wage in your state and local area and, for metro areas, by ZIP code.