By Evan Henerson
Answer: probably a lot more than you earn.
In 2015, we studied the data and determined that the minimum wage situation had indeed reached a crisis point and that there was no more telling evidence than the rental market.
Things haven't exactly improved. A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows – on a state-by-state basis – how much workers have to earn in order to afford a two bedroom rental without paying 30% of their income. Fittingly, the report is titled Out of Reach 2017.
The national average says you would need to earn about $21.21 as a full time worker, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. As you can imagine (or if you remember the 2015 map), the situation varies greatly by state with many of the same states having a much higher minimum wage threshold than others. Where renting is concerned, your money goes a lot farther in Kentucky (where you can rent a two bedroom of you earn $13.95 an hour) or Montana ($14.90) than in California ($30.92) or Hawaii ($35.20).
In any case, the situation is bad. Here’s Business Insider’s take:
“The map is a stark reminder that many Americans, especially low-income workers, can't afford to rent even a modest home. The average wage needed to rent a two-bedroom home ($21.21) is nearly three times more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Over 2 million US workers make at or below the federal minimum, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
The NLIHC report also breaks down its report by counties and determines that there are only 12 counties in the entire county where minimum wage workers can afford even a one-bedroom unit. These counties are all in states where the minimum wage is above the federal standard.
Read more here.