Minimum wage has been a hot issue in the US of late, with McDonald’s workers holding protests and staging walkouts aimed at securing a better wage, but a new report shows just how far removed the minimum wage is from a living wage.
The National Low-Income Housing Coalition recently released a report that shows no US state has a minimum wage that would afford a full-time worker a one-bedroom apartment without using more than 30 per cent of income, the benchmark often used for housing affordability.
In California, a minimum wage worker would have to work 92 hours to afford a one-bedroom apartment. In New York that worker would have to work 98 hours. In Washington DC, 100 hours. See the map below for how many hours working a minimum-wage job would afford a one-bedroom apartment.
The US federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, though many states and municipalities have a higher wage. Los Angeles last month passed a measure that would bring minimum wage to $15 an hour.
But for now, the cost of housing has outstripped minimum wage by a wide margin.
Another map from the housing coalition shows what the minimum wage would need to be in each state to afford a market-rate, two-bedroom apartment working full-time. See below.
“The data in Out of Reach is sobering,” wrote Oregon Governor Kate Brown in the introduction to the report. “There simply isn’t enough reasonably priced, decently maintained housing to meet the demand, and rapidly rising rents outpace wages. As a result, one out of four households spends more than half their income on housing costs.”
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