Full-time workers who make minimum wage can’t afford a two-bedroom rental home in any state in the U.S. without spending more than the recommended 30 percent of their income, according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The group’s annual “Out of Reach” report compares minimum wages and housing costs in states, metropolitan areas and counties across the country. This year’s results show the hourly wage rate needed for a “modest” two-bedroom rental is more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in all but four states.
Arkansas has the lowest hourly income needed for a two-bedroom rental at $13.72, and the state minimum wage is $8.50, the report said. Hawaii demands the highest income of renters: Workers need to make $35.20 to rent a two-bedroom there, and the state minimum wage is just $9.25.
At federal minimum wage, the average American worker would need to log 117-hour weeks for 52 weeks per year to afford a two-bedroom apartment or rental home, according to the report. For the overwhelming majority, not even sharing a dual income with a federal minimum wage-earning partner would cover a two-bedroom rental in their state.
It’s a grim outlook similar to the group’s previous two reports, which also showed sobering disparities between income and rent. The report’s authors say poor political decisions are to blame.
“[The report] shows why millions of low income renters are struggling to afford their homes,” NLIHC president Diane Yentel said in a press release. “We have the resources to solve the affordable housing crisis in America by rebalancing federal housing expenditures to serve our country’s most vulnerable households. We lack only the political will to do so.”
Minimum wage hasn’t kept up with inflation: In 1968, the federal minimum wage was equivalent to $10.90 in 2015 dollars ― nearly $4 higher than today’s actual federal minimum wage, CNBC reports.