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The hourly wage needed to rent a two-bedroom home in every state

  • A new report shows the hourly wages workers need to rent a two-bedroom home. Hawaii and California require the highest wages in the country to rent a home.

  • On Wednesday, HUD Secretary Ben Carson will propose to increase the amount low-income households are expected to pay for rent, according to The Washington Post. The legislation would likely make it even tougher for low-income families to rent a home.

To rent a two-bedroom home, on average, you would need to earn $21.21 per hour as a full-time worker in the United States.

That figure is higher in states like New York and California that are hurting the most from the nation's affordable housing crisis.

A new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows what an hourly worker needs to make to afford a two-bedroom rental home — without paying more than 30% of their income — in each state, plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. Depending on the location, the hourly wages required for housing range from $9.68 (in Puerto Rico) to $35.20 (in Hawaii) for people working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year:

wage you need to rent two bedroom home map
wage you need to rent two bedroom home map

Skye Gould/Business Insider

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.

Some states are worse than others. In Maryland, for example, the average two-bedroom costs $1,470 per month, according to HUD's Fair Market Rents estimates. To sign a lease, a renter would need to earn $28.27 per hour, even though the state's hourly minimum wage is stuck at $8.75.

The report also looks at the availability of affordable housing in counties around the US. It reveals that nationwide, there are only 12 counties where minimum-wage workers can afford one-bedroom units. These counties are all in states with minimum wages above the federal standard: Washington, Arizona, and Oregon. In places with big urban housing markets, like California and DC, there are even larger deficits of affordable housing.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that HUD Secretary Ben Carson will propose to increase the amount low-income households are expected to pay for rent. In addition, these households receiving housing subsidies would be required to work, according to the Trump administration's legislative proposal obtained by The Post.

The move — which will require Congressional approval — would affect more than 4.5 million families relying on federal housing assistance. If passed, the legislation would likely make it even harder for low-income households to make rent.

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