Analysis: Minimum wage does not cover rent for a two-bedroom anywhere in the US

Analysis: Minimum wage does not cover rent for a two-bedroom anywhere in the US
© Getty Images

Workers earning minimum wage cannot afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S., according to a new report.

The annual report released this week by the National Low Income Housing Coalition concluded that nationally, a worker would need to make $17.90 an hour to cover the rent for a “modest” one-bedroom unit, without spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

ADVERTISEMENT

For a two-bedroom, the necessary wage increases to $22.10 per hour nationally.

The new report comes amid an ongoing push to raise the minimum wage, but the report found that even the widely proposed $15 per hour would not cover the cost of rent for a “decent” two-bedroom unit in most states.

According to the study, renters nationwide earn, on average, $16.88 per hour, more than twice as much as the federal minimum of $7.25.

In Hawaii, the state with the most expensive housing, the report found that the cost of renting a modest two-bedroom would require being paid $36.13 per hour. Minimum wage in Hawaii is $10.10.

Even in the nation’s cheapest housing market, in Arkansas, minimum wage workers earning $8.50 hourly still fall short of the $13.84 necessary to afford a two-bedroom while keeping to the standard of spending 30 percent of income on rent.

The report found that minimum wage will cover a one-bedroom apartment in just 20 counties nationwide on such a budget. All of those counties are located in five states where the minimum wage is higher than the federal standard.

Earlier this week, North Carolina became the first state to adopt a $15 minimum wage for most of its employees. But according to the housing report, a worker there would need to earn $16.35 to afford a two-bedroom rental home at 30 percent of his or her income.