Map Shows How Much Money You Need To Make To Pay Rent In Your State

It's not just in your head. Your city is expensive.

It's not just in your head. Your city is expensive.

Surprise! Rent prices are out of reach for huge swaths of the population.

Next time your jerkhead uncle starts whining about how millennials’ reluctance to enter the housing market is ruining the economy, feel free to drop this knowledge: Median rent prices rose six times as fast as median income did from 2007 to 2015, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Obviously, that’s had a serious impact on peoples’ ability to pay rent (much less save for a house), and when you take a closer look at how much you’d need to earn in order to put an “affordable” (defined as less than 30% of your income) roof over your head, it’s pretty bleak. Here are a few of the more stand-out study discoveries:

  • Nationwide, you need to make $21.21 an hour for a two-bedroom and $17.14 for a one bedroom. The mean wage in the U.S. is $16.38, and federal minimum wage is $7.25. *insert screaming-face emoji here*
  • For a two-bedroom in California, you need to be making over $30 an hour. If you’re employed at minimum wage, which is currently $10.50 an hour, you would need to work 92 hours a week.
  • This gets insanely more expensive in metropolitan cities: In San Francisco, where a minimum wage of $15 is on its way in the next few years, you need to make $58.04 for a two-bedroom.
  • State by state, Hawaii comes in at the highest, requiring an hourly salary of $35.20 and a 116-hour work week at minimum wage.

Here’s a nationwide breakdown of how much you need to earn in each state to afford a two-bedroom:

And here’s how many hours you’d need to work to afford that same two bedroom if you’re making minimum wage:

Combine this with the hefty student debt that many of us are saddled with, and who could blame us for all the side eye we’re giving millionaire bros suggesting our lack of upward financial mobility is due to our avocado toast habit or living with our parents after graduation? The prospect of buying that sweet little bungalow with a two-car garage seems almost laughably distant for a vast number of young adults, and no one wants to cut us any slack.

While it’s tempting to throw up our hands and say “It is what it is,” it’s an issue that’s not only driven by the housing market, but by politics: According to Fast Company, the US government shells out $200 billion in housing subsidies every year. But 83 percent of that money goes to tax deductions for households making over $100,000 a year, and more than 74 percent of that money goes to households above the $200,000 threshold—all to help out with their mortgages.

It doesn’t take a data scientist to figure out that this all seems a little backwards, and as indicated by President Trump’s proposed budget and the massive cuts to housing therein, there's little indication that our leadership is looking to change its trajectory. 

All the more reason to keep an eye on your finances, get serious about budgeting, and make sure you’re keeping an eye on the cost of living in your city as you negotiate pay at your job. Because the rental situation doesn't look like it's going to get better anytime soon, unfortunately.

Words: Deena Drewis
Jayme Burrows/NLIHC