In Wash., 2 full-time min. wage jobs to afford 2-bedroom rental

Mar 15, 2013

A minimum-wage earner must work two full-time jobs year-round to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Washington state, according to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

To afford $966 — the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the state, the study found a minimum-wage earner must work 81 hours per week ­– or two minimum-wage earners in the same household must work full-time — to avoid spending more than 30 percent of income on housing.

In Washington state, where the minimum wage is $9.19 per hour, the estimated average hourly pay of a renter is $14.91. For the average renter to afford a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, the renter must work 50 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, the study found.

Our state is not alone. A minimum-wage earner with a full-time job can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state in the U.S., according to the coalition.

Washington state has the 15th highest housing wage with $18.58 per hour. Hawaii tops the list with $32.14 per hour, followed by Washington, D.C., California and New York, respectively. 

This map represents the hourly wage that a household must earn in order to afford the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom unit, without paying more than 30 percent of their income.
Credit National Low Income Housing Coalition