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A full-time worker in the US needs to earn an average of $28.58 an hour afford the rent on a modest two-room apartment in their compound. In California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York, full-time workers must earn more than $40 an hour to make it.
In San Francisco, they would have to pay $61.31 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental, and $50.67 an hour in Boston, according to a new message from the National Low Income Coalition.
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In no state, county, or city in the U.S. can a full-time worker earn income local minimum wage come up with the cost of a two-room apartment, writes the NLIHC.
More than a third of American households are tenants.
“That’s the problem,” he said Andrew Aurand, senior vice president for research at NLIHC. “Research shows that families struggling to pay housing costs sacrifice other necessities such as food, health care and educational needs’.
To understand how unaffordable rent has become for many workers, experts point to the slow growth of the minimum wage across the country.
More than a decade of the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25and several states, including Texas, Indiana, and Idaho, have not passed laws increasing that number.
Even for workers in states and cities where the minimum wage is double the national value, rent remains unaffordable. For example, the minimum wage in Washington state is $15.74. Still, to afford a two-bedroom apartment there, a full-time worker would have to earn over $36.33 an hour, the NLIHC found.
Dan Rose, an organizer with Housing Justice Now in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said he recently worked with tenants who were forced to leave the premises with some of the last apartments available in the area.
When those renters looked at rental costs elsewhere, Rose said, “they weren’t able to find any decent two-bedroom units.”
“Overall, we see tenants here who are barely treading water or drowning,” he said.