Study: Full-Time Minimum Wage Workers Earn Less Than Cost of Rent in All 50 States

Full-time minimum wage workers cannot earn enough to afford rent in the United States, according to a new report highlighting the growing gap between low-wage earnings and housing costs, CNN reports.

There is no state, county, or city in the United States where a full-time employee working 40 hours per week for the national minimum wage of $7.25 can afford a two-bedroom apartment rental, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

A full-time minimum wage worker can only afford the average cost of a one-bedroom rental in just 7% of US counties.

Along with the historically low minimum wage (when adjusted for inflation), the report highlighted the growing cost of apartment rentals.

The average one-bedroom now costs $1,061 per month and the average two-bedroom rental is $1,295 per month.

Rents out of reach, not only for minimum wage workers:

It’s not just minimum wage employees. The average renter earns $18.78 per hour, according to the report, meaning they can only afford rent up to $977 per month without being overburdened, meaning they would spend more than 30% of all of their income on housing and utilities. A household living on just one minimum wage income can only afford $377 per month.

The average renter in 17 states, including New York and California, earns at least $5 below the average two-bedroom housing wage.

The report showed that workers would need to earn at least $24.90 per hour to afford a two-bedroom and $20.40 per hour to afford a one-bedroom.

Biden admin warns of housing cost rise:

"These amounts are far higher than many Americans -- including seniors, people with disabilities, and working families -- can spend on housing," HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a preface to the report.

While states like California have raised their minimum wage well above the federal level, up to $15 in some cases, housing has also continued to get more expensive.

In California, the minimum wage is $14 per hour but a person would have to earn $31 to afford a one-bedroom and $39 per hour to afford a two-bedroom.

In other words, a minimum wage employee would have to work 89 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom and over 110 hours to afford a two-bedroom.

The report called on Congress to provide rental assistance to struggling families and invest in programs to expand public housing and rehabilitate affordable homes while strengthening eviction protections.


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