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Minimum Wage Earners Require Three Housemates to Afford Two-Bedroom Rentals

Last updated 02/10/2023 by

According to Zillow, minimum-wage workers in the United States need to share a two-bedroom apartment with at least 1.6 to 5.1 other minimum-wage workers to afford rent while working a 40-hour workweek. Some of the more expensive cities are more affordable for minimum-wage renters due to high local minimum wages.
According to a recent analysis published by real estate data company Zillow, someone earning the minimum wage would need to share a two-bedroom apartment with three other minimum-wage workers in order to afford rent while working a 40-hour workweek in the United States. The number of housemates required varies greatly between metropolitan areas, with a low of 1.6 in Arizona, and a high of 4.7 in Hawaii.
The results of the analysis conducted by Zillow reveal the steep financial challenge faced by renters in many parts of the country. With a minimum wage income, many of the cities studied make it impossible to rent even a single bedroom.
Interestingly, some of the more expensive cities turned out to be more affordable for minimum-wage renters, according to Zillow’s report which utilized rental data from the Census Bureau for 2021. In Washington, for example, 2.0 minimum-wage earners were needed on average to afford a two-bedroom rental, despite including Seattle, the fifth-most expensive city in the U.S. The high local minimum wage of $14.49 per hour helped keep rentals affordable in the state.
Southern cities with no minimum wage in place performed the worst, as employers can pay the federal minimum of just $7.25 per hour. Austin was the worst-case scenario, with both the lowest minimum wage and above-average rent at $1,764.

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