For those making minimum wage, the rent is just too damn high
If you make minimum wage, you have to work a lot of hours to make rent. Minimum-wage workers working a 40-hour week don’t make nearly enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States, according to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, minimum-wage rates in each state and regional housing costs, the study determined how many hours a minimum-wage earner would have to work to rent the average two-bedroom apartment.
In Washington, a person earning minimum wage, which is $9.04 per hour, would have to work 80 hours a week to afford the average two-bedroom apartment.
To be able to afford to rent the average two-bedroom apartment in Washington, one person would have to make $18.16 an hour. In Seattle and Bellevue, one person would have to make $21.12 an hour.
This means those making minimum wage must work more than two full-time jobs in Seattle to rent a two-bedroom apartment.
Minimum wage cannot cover market-rate apartments in any state, according to the report. In Arkansas, the most affordable state, a minimum-wage worker would have to work 63 hours each week. In Hawaii, the most expensive, a minimum-wage worker would have to work 175 hours each week.
Even those making more than minimum wage often struggle to earn enough to pay the rent.
Nationwide, the average renter makes an estimated $14.15 an hour. In most areas, that’s not enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
Eighty percent of minimum-wage earners are older than 20, the report said.
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