Workers in the United States need to earn $15.78 per hour to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment without spending more than 30 percent of their wages on rent and utilities, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). That's up from up from a "housing wage" of $15.37 an hour in 2004.
The organization's report, Out of Reach 2005, concludes that a family with two full-time workers would need to make much more than the federal minimum wage to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment and utilities without using more than 30 percent of their wages.
The organization uses 30 percent of wages as its affordability standard.
The organization says that a full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in country, unless the worker paid more than 30 percent of wages toward rent.
The ten most expensive states for renters (with their housing wages) are:
- Hawaii $22.30
- California $22.09
- Massachusetts $21.88
- New Jersey $20.87
- New York $19.73
- Maryland $19.62
- Connecticut $19.30
- Rhode Island $18.42
- New Hampshire $17.58
- Alaska $17.40
San Francisco is the nation's most expensive city for renters, according to the report.
The organization bases its housing wage on the fair market rent, a Department of Housing and Urban Development estimate of what a household seeking a modest rental unit can expect to pay in the local private market for rent and utilities.