NLIHC Report Highlights Affordability Issues Across Country
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) recently released its annual report, Out of Reach. It documents the gap between wages and the cost of rental housing across the United States. According to the findings, even with the recent wage growth for the lowest-paid workers, there is still nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time minimum wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment.
The report’s Housing Wage is an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a rental home at HUD’s fair market rent (FMR) without spending more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs. FMRs provide an estimate of what a family moving today can expect to pay for a modestly priced rental home in a given area. The 2018 national Housing Wage is $22.10 for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $17.90 for a modest one-bedroom rental home.
Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the two-bedroom Housing Wage ranges from $13.84 in Arkansas to $36.13 in Hawaii. The five metropolitan areas with the highest two-bedroom Housing Wages are Stamford-Norwalk, Conn. ($38.19), Honolulu, Hawaii ($39.06), Oakland-Fremont, Calif. ($44.79), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. ($48.50), and San Francisco, Calif. ($60.02).
A full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 needs to work approximately 122 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, or approximately three full-time jobs, to afford a two-bedroom rental home at the national average fair market rent. The same worker needs to work 99 hours per week for all 52 weeks of the year, or approximately two and a half full-time jobs, to afford a one bedroom home at the national average fair market rent.