Why Do Minimum Wage Workers Need Two Full-Time Jobs To Afford A One-Bedroom Apartment?

By Malia Wooten

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report, most minimum-wage workers can’t even afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

Awareness that most people can’t afford the cost of living with a minimum-wage job is nothing new. However, in a recent study, the NLIHC found that a worker needs to make at least $17.90 an hour at a full-time job to afford a one-bedroom apartment while also not spending more than 30% of their income.

(Generally, it’s recommended that while budgeting for housing you spend a little less than 1/3 of your earnings.)

SO, if you do that math, that means that someone making the federal minimum wage of $7.25 at a full-time job (40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year) would need 2.5 jobs to have at least 70% of their income left over!

Check out the map below which breaks down the NLIHC’s calculations of the hourly wage needed to afford a fair-market rent, one-bedroom apartment.

California, as well as Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, are the only five states that have one-bedrooms affordable for minimum-wage workers since they have wages higher than the federal minimum-wage.

Since California’s minimum wage lands at $11.00 an hour, a worker would need income from two and a half (two full-time, one part-time) jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Tags: housing, news, rent