In an ideal world, you’re not spending more than a third of your monthly income on rent. In reality, however, the truth is far more grim and draining on your back account, and perhaps only staved off if you’re an anesthesiologist living in North Dakota. Rents are rising pretty precipitously in cities across the country, and are expected to climb by 1.7% nationally this year, per data provided by Zillow.
With nearly 80 million hourly workers over the age of 16 in the United States as of 2015, it’s worth exploring just how much hourly employees need to earn in order to rent a two-bedroom apartment without spending over a third of their income. Enter the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which compiled a map demonstrating just that, in respect to all fifty states in the country.
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The statistics vary quite markedly per real estate market, but the dimensions of what labor entails doesn’t: Someone working 40 hours a week/52 weeks per year needs to earn $29.58/hr to rent a two bedroom home in California without spending a third of their monthly income. Workers in Alabama, on the other hand, need less than half that wage at $13.93/hr. According to the NLIHC’s study, which surveyed hourly wages in respect to rental markets and the American housing economy at large, the average wage needed to rent a two bedroom home in the United States is $20.30/hr. While the average minimum wage is seeing slight gains around the country -- former president Obama signed an order in 2014 mandating businesses with renewed federal contracts pay their employees $10.10/hr -- it's still nowhere approaching the $20/hr benchmark, Silicon Valley be damned.
The full list of hourly wages necessary to rent a two bedroom home in America according to each state is below.
District Of Columbia: $31.21
New Hampshire: $21.09
New Jersey: $26.52
New Mexico: $16.06
New York: $26.69
North Carolina: $15.32
North Dakota: $15.66
Rhode Island: $19.06
South Carolina: $14.84
South Dakota: $13.77
West Virginia: $13.17
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.