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This Map Shows How Out Of Reach A Two-Bedroom Apartment Is In Every State

Given how much even basic housing costs, today’s federal minimum wage just doesn’t make sense.

This Map Shows How Out Of Reach A Two-Bedroom Apartment Is In Every State
[Top Photo: Lihee Avidan/Getty Images]

It’s no secret to anyone who works for a living that housing in the U.S. has become unaffordable. A new report shows just how much that’s the case. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Americans need to earn $19.35 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment on average around the country. The map below shows how much you need to earn in every state to get that two-bedroom apartment.

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If you look at the breakdown by state, you can see some trends emerge. Certainly the central and southern U.S. is cheaper than the coasts. Still, a two-bedroom apartment is unaffordable everywhere. In 13 states, you would need to earn earn over $20 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment. In fewer than half of the states in the country could you afford a two-bedroom apartment on less than $15 an hour.

That last number is worth keeping in mind in light of the current national campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage. It means that even at that wage, a two-bedroom apartment would still be out of reach for a single wage earner. Since the 2008 recession, 44% of new jobs have been low-wage, paying under $13.33 an hour. And 30% of all workers in the U.S. earn less than $10.10 an hour, according to Pew Research Center.

Currently, there is no state in the country in which a person can work full-time at minimum wage and afford a one-bedroom apartment. A person earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would have to work 85 hours per week–more than double full-time–to afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.

You can view the full report, including an interactive version of the map above, at the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website.

About the author

Jay is a freelance journalist, formerly a staff writer for Fast Company. He writes about technology, inequality, and the Middle East.

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