Finding affordable housing for the majority of Americans is becoming increasingly stressful and difficult given the scarcity of quality homes nationwide and hourly pay is stagnant.
A new report sheds light on the hardships many endure to find a quality place to live while trying to earn a competitive wage.
In 2022, the national housing wage is $25.82 per hour for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $21.25 per hour for a modest one-bedroom rental, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a housing advocacy group.
The NLIHC released its 2022 "Out of Reach" report, an in-depth study examining how many hours an individual must work to afford a one or two-bedroom rented apartment in their state — the "housing wage."
According to Out of Reach, in no state, metropolitan area, or county can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, and these workers cannot afford modest one-bedroom apartments in 91% of U.S. counties.
States and territories were ranked from most expensive to least expensive in the study. The most expensive states are:
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
- Washington state
- New Jersey
Hawaii’s minimum wage is $10.00 per hour with the average wage to rent for housing at $20.59. To rent a two-bedroom household in the state, a person has to earn $40.63 an hour.
To put this into perspective, a person would have to work four full-time jobs at minimum wage, working 161 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the state.
The report reveals Californians are among those who have it the worst. According to the report, the average Californian needs to earn an hourly wage of $39.01 and work full-time to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
California’s minimum wage is currently $15 an hour for most employees and $14 at businesses with 25 or fewer employees.
"In my state of California alone, there is a shortage of more than 960,000 rental homes that are affordable and available to the state’s lowest-income families. Nationwide, there is a shortage of 7 million of such rental homes," Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California and the Chairwoman of the US House Committee on Financial Services, said in a statement. Meanwhile, on any given night in America, more than 580,000 people are without homes, including over 161,000 Californians, many of whom are people of color."
In Massachusetts, the minimum wage is $14.25 per hour and to afford a two-bedroom apartment, an individual needs to make $37.97 an hour.
Renting a two-bedroom apartment in the state would require an individual to work 2.7 full-time jobs and 107 hours per week, the report finds.
According to the report, in Washington state the fair market for a two-bedroom rental is $1,629. To avoid this level of rent and utilities without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $5,430 a month ($65,161 annually).
That means the average Washingtonian would need to make $31.33 per hour (working full-time) to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
Washington's minimum wage statewide is $14.49 with some municipalities like Seattle paying higher. The report ranks the top five most expensive areas in the state and how much you'd need to earn to afford a two-bedroom.
The minimum wage in D.C. is $16.10 an hour, that means a renter would have to work 1.9 full-time jobs to earn a one-bedroom apartment. with the average renting wage is $36.68. To rent a two-bedroom apartment a renter would need to make $34.33 an hour meaning you would have to work 2.1 full-time jobs to earn afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to the report.
The study finds that earning the New York state’s minimum wage of $13.20 an hour would require someone to work 114 hours a week to afford a 2-bedroom rental or 99 hours per week to afford a 1-bedroom rental.
According to the report, the average New York City resident needs to earn an hourly wage of $45 and work full-time to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
New Jersey’s minimum wage is $13 an hour with the average renter wage at $23.39 per hour. If you wanted to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the state, a renter would need to make $31. 32 an hour. The individual would have to work 2.4 full-time jobs on an average of 96 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom residence.
The average minimum wage in Colorado is $12.56 an hour with the average renter wage at $23.55 an hour. According to the report, the average hourly wage needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment is $28.94. This means, a person would need to work 2.3 jobs to afford a two-bedroom place in the state.
Connecticut’s minimum wage is $14 an hour with the average renter wage at $21.30. To afford a two-bedroom apartment in the state, an individual would have to make $27.80 an hour. This means you would have to work two full-time jobs at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
The average minimum wage in Maryland is $12.50 an hour with the average renter wage at $21.52. If you’re looking to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the state, you would need to make $28.93 per hour. This means you would have work 2.3 full-time jobs and 93 hours a week.
The Out of Reach report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition revealed that Michiganders are right in the middle in terms of how much it costs to pay the rent.
According to the report, on average, renters need to make $19.10 per hour and work full-time to afford a two-bedroom apartment. That comes out to 77 hours per week at minimum wage to afford rent. To afford a one-bedroom, the median average is $15.22 and you'd have to work 62 hours.
However, the state's minimum wage is $9.87, making the affordable cost of rent at $513 per month.
It's more expensive in the suburbs of Detroit where you'd have to make more than $30 per hour to afford rent.
According to the report, Georgia residents need to make at least $20.97 an hour to be able to afford a two-bedroom rental home. That's an increase of $1.55 an hour from last year's calculations.
Working at the state's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that would mean they would need to work at least 2.9 full-time jobs and work 116 hours a week - or more than 16 hours a day.
In Florida, a resident needs to make at least $26.38 per hour to be able to afford a 2-bedroom rental home, according to the report. That number is an increase of $1.56 an hour from last year's report.
At the state's minimum wage of $10 per hour, that means they need to work at least 2.6 full-time jobs. The increase from the 2021 report is a testament to the well-documented rising rent prices in the state and beyond.
Arizona residents earning minimum wage would need to work 73 hours per week, or nearly two full-time jobs, in order to afford a two-bedroom rental. Arizona's current minimum wage sits at $12.80.
The average Arizonan needs to earn an hourly wage of $23.44 in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment. That's an increase of $1.14 from last year. For a one-bedroom rental, you would need to earn at least $19.13.
According to the report, the average Illinois resident needs to earn an hourly wage of $22.80 and work full-time to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
There are more than a dozen counties in Illinois that are the cheapest and where you will get the most bang for your buck. The minimum wage in those counties is $14.13, according to the report.
FOX 5 Atlanta, FOX 13 Tampa, FOX 5 New York, FOX 13 Seattle, FOX 32 Chicago, FOX 2 Detroit, FOX 10 Phoenix, and FOX 11 Los Angeles contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.