# A minimum-wage worker needs 2.5 full-time jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment in most of the US

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The federal minimum wage is far below what a worker needs to earn to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

• Many minimum-wage workers can’t even afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual report.
• The national housing wage for a modest one-bedroom apartment is \$17.90, while the federal minimum wage is \$7.25.
• A low-income worker earning the federal minimum wage would need 2.5 jobs to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

What do you get when you combine minimum wage with increasing apartment rents? Many workers who can’t afford a place to live.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) annual report recently took a look at the Housing Wage, an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker needs to earn to afford a rental home at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s fair-market rent. That means spending no more than 30% of their income on housing costs – the typical rule of thumb when budgeting for housing.

NLIHC found that a worker needs to earn \$17.90 an hour at a full-time job – 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year – to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. That’s over \$10 more than the federal minimum wage of \$7.25.

Let’s look at the math: If a worker holds two full-time minimum wage jobs, they’d be earning \$14.50 an hour total – still under the \$17.90 needed to afford rent and have 70% of your income left over for non-housing related expenses. The worker would have to take on another, part-time, minimum-wage job to make up the difference. All things considered, that’s a 99-hour work week, 52 weeks a year.

The map below shows the hourly wage needed to afford a fair-market rent, one-bedroom apartment by state, assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks a year, as calculated by the NLIHC. This is also known as the “housing wage.”

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Every state’s housing wage, or the hourly pay needed to afford a one-bedroom rental.
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