A study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition has revealed that a person employed at a minimum wage job must work more than 40 hours a week in order to afford affordable housing in the United States. For housing to be considered affordable, the cost must total 30 percent or less of a person’s monthly wages.
In many states, minimum wage workers would have to spend more than 60 hours at their jobs in order to afford a one-room apartment that costs the fair market rent amount of $806. In some states, including California, New York, Maryland, and Hawaii, a person would have to work more than 80 hours a week.
The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour, but in recent years, many states have taken measures to raise that amount. However, the hourly wage would need to double to $15.50 for a worker to be able to afford the fair market rent if they spent 40 hours a week at their job. Minimum wage would have to be even higher for a person to be able to rent a two-bedroom apartment.
Nationwide, wage growth has not kept up with the increase in the cost of housing, especially in cities, so minimum wage workers have few housing choices. Advocates for increasing the federal minimum wage want to raise it to $15 per hour.