According to a new analysis, a full-time minimum-wage worker can’t afford even a basic one-bedroom apartment in 93 percent of U.S. counties.
According to the annual report released Wednesday by The National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a worker working a regular 40-hour workweek at the federal, state, or local minimum wage can’t afford a modest two-bedroom rental anywhere in the United States.
A person can “afford” rent if they don’t have to spend more than 30% of their salary on housing, according to the organization.
Workers in the United States would need to earn $24.90 per hour to afford a basic two-bedroom apartment or $20.40 per hour for a one-bedroom, according to the analysis.
The minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. According to the survey, the average renter in the United States makes only $18.78 per hour.
Taking local minimum wage rates into account, the ordinary minimum-wage worker would have to work about 97 hours per week (nearly two full-time jobs) to afford a modest two-bedroom rental, or 79 hours per week (nearly two full-time jobs) to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
“One full-time job should be enough,” the report says, urging the federal government to raise the minimum wage, provide more rental assistance, fund the construction of more affordable housing and implement stronger renter protections.
Amid the affordable housing crisis, racial disparities abound: Over 40% of Black and Latinx households pay more than 30% of their income on rent, compared with 25% of white households.
People of color were more likely to lose money as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in widespread business closures and employment losses. According to the US Census Bureau, 39 percent of white people have lost their household income by March 2021, compared to 49 percent of Black and 58 percent of Latinx persons.
In September, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared a nationwide eviction moratorium in response to the epidemic. This will run out at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, more than 13 million renters told the Census Bureau in June that they were “slightly” or “completely” confident in their ability to pay their July rent.