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Study Finds You Need a Six-Figure Salary to Pay Rent in These States

Andrew DePietro
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Households that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing are cost-burdened, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Unfortunately, nowadays, most Americans spend well beyond 30 percent of their income on rent — and there are few signs indicating this will change for the better anytime soon.

GOBankingRates conducted a new study that determined the salary required in every state to maintain the “30 percent of income” rule of thumb, based on rent data from Zillow and mean annual wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The results of this study paint a gloomy picture of affordability in the U.S.

Click through to find out the income you need to afford the average rent in your state.

The Ideal Salary to Afford Rent in Every State

One of the study’s most distressing discoveries is how inadequate incomes across the country are to cover rents. In fact, there are only 11 states where median rental costs consume 30 percent or less of income.

There are two places — California and Washington, D.C. — where you need to earn at least $100,000 a year to afford the median rent. Based on median rents of $2,518 in California and $2,711 in Washington, you’d need to earn nearly $8,400 a month to afford the former and over $9,000 a month to afford the latter. California and Washington are the only two places in the country that require six-figure incomes. Affordability, however, is all relative.

For example, in Colorado, the wage you need to afford the median rent is much less than Washington’s $108,440 a year. But in Colorado, the gap between the salary you need — $77,080 — and the state’s actual annual wage — $54,050 — is larger than in Washington, which undermines its affordability. And Colorado is just one of 39 states where average annual incomes fall below the required threshold to afford rent.

The Bottom Line

The study highlights a continuing issue in recent years of wages not keeping up with rising living costs. On top of this, across the U.S., the supply of available houses to buy is low, pushing up home prices. See the complete results of the study below, and find out where your state falls.

State Median Rent Annual Salary Needed Average Annual Wage
Alabama $998 $39,920 $43,170
Alaska $1,748 $69,920 $57,750
Arizona $1,356 $54,240 $48,160
Arkansas $953 $38,120 $40,530
California $2,518 $100,720 $57,190
Colorado $1,927 $77,080 $54,050
Connecticut $1,803 $72,120 $59,410
Delaware $1,435 $57,400 $52,200
District of Columbia $2,711 $108,440 $85,720
Florida $1,590 $63,600 $44,790
Georgia $1,262 $50,480 $47,200
Hawaii $2,481 $99,240 $52,050
Idaho $1,238 $49,520 $42,240
Illinois $1,463 $58,520 $52,410
Indiana $1,113 $44,520 $43,950
Iowa $1,057 $42,280 $44,730
Kansas $1,051 $42,040 $44,570
Kentucky $1,084 $43,360 $42,410
Louisiana $1,245 $49,800 $41,590
Maine $1,466 $58,640 $45,300
Maryland $1,807 $72,280 $57,270
Massachusetts $2,252 $90,080 $62,110
Michigan $1,110 $44,400 $48,300
Minnesota $1,449 $57,960 $52,730
Mississippi $1,055 $42,200 $38,910
Missouri $1,047 $41,880 $45,520
Montana $1,234 $49,360 $42,400
Nebraska $1,253 $50,120 $45,530
Nevada $1,423 $56,920 $45,040
New Hampshire $1,748 $69,920 $51,040
New Jersey $2,062 $82,480 $56,970
New Mexico $1,200 $48,000 $44,840
New York $2,050 $82,000 $60,100
North Carolina $1,208 $48,320 $46,080
North Dakota $1,290 $51,600 $48,130
Ohio $1,113 $44,520 $46,950
Oklahoma $950 $38,000 $43,340
Oregon $1,707 $68,280 $51,010
Pennsylvania $1,242 $49,680 $48,760
Rhode Island $1,725 $69,000 $53,110
South Carolina $1,209 $48,360 $42,240
South Dakota $1,213 $48,520 $40,770
Tennessee $1,153 $46,120 $43,550
Texas $1,455 $58,200 $48,700
Utah $1,526 $61,040 $46,460
Vermont $1,599 $63,960 $48,840
Virginia $1,452 $58,080 $53,980
Washington $1,838 $73,520 $57,480
West Virginia $888 $35,520 $41,400
Wisconsin $1,141 $45,640 $46,270
Wyoming $1,149 $45,960 $47,650

With nearly four-fifths of U.S. states rent-burdened, HUD’s definition might be up for revision. The good news is you can always find pockets of affordability, though it requires persistence and knowing what you want. One of the first choices you need to make is whether you’re looking to rent or own your home.

Click through to find out if it’s more affordable to rent or own a home in your state.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates calculated the salary needed to afford rent in every state by using the budget rule of thumb that says to keep housing costs at 30 percent or less of your income. GOBankingRates found the median rent for single-family residences in each state, sourced from Zillow, and worked backward to find the monthly income needed to have monthly and yearly rent consume 30 percent or less of income. Average annual wages were sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Study Finds You Need a Six-Figure Salary to Pay Rent in These States