Minimum wage, minimum housing prospects


If you make minimum wage, chances are you probably cannot afford to rent a modest 2-bedroom apartment, according to a new report by, the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Let’s set up a scenario, okay? You are a single parent supporting a small family on minimum wage. Your children are getting older, and it may be time to find an apartment that can fit the needs of a growing family.

Can you afford it though? The state you live in requires your employer to pay you at least $7.25 an hour, and that is exactly what you are making. So how much will you need to make in order to afford the modest 2-bedroom apartment you’ve been eyeing?

 Well, a whopping $22.10 an hour, by some estimations, which is a huge difference from the little pay you currently receive. This means you will need to work at least 122 hours a week.

If you do somehow magically work up the energy, your children will need childcare. Since 30% of your income will be going towards housing, your pocket is already stretching.

How will you afford healthcare or any other surprises that can be devastating setbacks to lower income renters?

Eventually, you realize that upgrading your living space is not a realistic option. Your family will continue living in that one-bedroom apartment, until your income miraculously increases or the national rate of minimum wage jumps.

This scenario varies from person to person but is nonetheless a reality for 11.2 million American households, who cannot afford to pay rent.

The maximum affordability for most low income renters is $660 a month, alarming since the average price of a two-bedroom apartment at fair market is $1,149. In order to afford a two bed-room, renters need to make at least $17.90 a month, according to the NLIHC report.

Sadly, most market rate apartments in every U.S state continue to be out of reach. This lack of affordability is even present in the housing market, as many millennials are foregoing family expansion because they cannot afford larger living spaces.

If low income renters cannot afford larger apartments and rising home prices are forcing families to halt growth, what does that mean for the market?

Well it means, that without an uptick in wage growth the market will continue to be generally unaffordable for renters and homeowners.  

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