How Many Hours You Have to Work to Pay Rent in Each State

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According to Out of Reach, the latest annual report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), “in no state can a minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental unit at the average Fair Market Rent working a standard 40-hour work week, without paying more than 30% of their income.”

For a two-bedroom, even fewer full-time minimum wage workers can find affordable rent.

The NLIHC report drives this point home by calculating the number of hours minimum wage workers would need to work in each state to rent an “affordable” one-bedroom apartment — or one for which the renter would not have to contribute more than 30 percent of their income.

“The hourly statistics that we used really speak to how many other areas of your life trying to afford your housing really eats into when you’re low-income,” Dan Emmanuel, a research analyst at NLIHC who worked on report, told ATTN: in a phone call.


Even in states where the local minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, workers would have to put in well over the amount of hours that constitute full-time — 40 hours a week, 52 weeks per year — to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to the report.

Nationally, workers would need to make $16.35 an hour on average to rent a one-bedroom apartment, and $20.30 an hour for a two-bedroom, according to this year’s Fair Market Rent affordability — a figure calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that caps the percentage of income spent on housing at 30 percent. Those percentages are slightly up from 2015 numbers, according to the previous Out of Reach study.

Still, difficulty finding affordable housing isn’t a problem restricted to minimum wage workers.

Here’s a graph showing significant gaps between average renter incomes and incomes needed for a two-bedroom apartment:

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This article originally appeared on Attn.


Bree is a recent college graduate from NYC who excels in writing, social media, music-listening, and pizza pie-eating.