Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage - the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs - for every state, county, and metropolitan area in the country. The average hourly wage of renters in the U.S. is $16.38, $4.83 lower than the two-bedroom Housing Wage and nearly $1 lower than for the one-bedroom Housing Wage.
In no state, even those where the minimum wage has been set above the federal level, can a minimum wage renter working a 40-hour work week afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit. A worker earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 117 hours per week for 52 weeks of the year (or nearly 3 full-time jobs) to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home and 94.5 hours per week (2.4 full time jobs) to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.
U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) wrote the preface for this year's report and was a guest speaker on a call to announce the launch of the report to the press.
The disparity between the Housing Wage needed to afford a rental home and workers' wages results in a shortage of 7.4 million rental homes nationwide that are affordable and available to extremely low income households, underscoring the need for greater investments in affordable housing solutions. NLIHC advocates for solutions like those in the United for Homes campaign and Mr. Ellison's "Common Sense Housing Investment Act" (H.R. 948), both of which call for modest reforms to the mortgage interest deduction - a tax expenditure that largely benefits wealthier homeowners who would be stably housed without the government's support - to generate billions of dollars in savings to reinvest in affordable rental housing programs.