Minimum Wage, Minimal Housing

In an interesting study reported in the Washington Post, the National Low Income Housing Coalition looked at fair market rents across the country and calculated how much a worker would have to make per hour to live in a decent one-bedroom apartment.  The study included rent plus utilities, and was based on a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks/year.

They came up with amounts — per county — a person would have to earn per hour to be able to afford a decent one-bedroom apartment in that county.  This is called the “housing wage.”

The minimum wage is currently $7.25/hr.  Not surprisingly, there is no single county in America that has a housing wage under the minimum wage.  (There are a few counties in Arkansas that come close, at around $7.98/hr.)  When you look at these numbers, you can understand why single parents often try to rent one-bedroom places, and give the children the bedroom while they sleep on the couch.  They work minimum wage jobs and just cannot afford a bigger space.

Here in metro Indianapolis, that “housing wage” is about $12/hr., which is fairly attractive.  I’d definitely take a pass on San Francisco, however … you’d have to earn about $30/hr. (i.e., $62,000/yr!) to afford a one-bedroom decent apartment there.

If you’d like to check out the entire article, here’s the link:

Every county in American is included, so if you’re planning a move, you may want to read this before you pack your bags!