Full-time workers earning minimum wage can't afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States, according to a new report.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition found that workers need to earn $23.67 per hour in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment without exceeding more than 30 percent of their monthly income. For a two-bedroom rental, they would need to earn $28.58.
That means an employee would need to work 86 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom, and 104 hours to afford a two-bedroom. As the typical work week is 40 hours, the report notes that 50 percent of workers do not earn enough to afford rent anywhere in any state in the country — in more than 92 percent of U.S. counties.
The report notes that "the gap between wages and housing costs is largest for people of color, and particularly women of color," as "disparities are the result of decades of racist housing policies that have led to people of color facing disproportionate challenges accessing decent and affordable homes."
“Stable, affordable homes are a prerequisite for basic well-being, and no person should face the danger of losing their home,” NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel said in a statement. “Yet too many low-income renters are facing worsening housing instability as housing costs rise and pandemic-era safety net programs expire.
Wage growth is not consistent with increasing rental prices, as the cost of rent has grown by 17.9 percent between 2001 and 2021, whereas wages only grew 3.2 percent. The price of consumer goods is also 4 percent higher than it was at this time last year.
"Evictions are increasing, and homelessness is rising, just as House Republicans work to slash funding for key affordable housing solutions," Yentel continued. "To address the country’s long-term housing affordability crisis, Congress and the Biden-Harris administration must protect and expand our country’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs, and implement robust tenant protections.”