This is a startling statistic. If you work a minimum wage job in North Carolina you’d have to work 106 per week to afford the average rent. That number comes from the National Low Income Housing Coalition‘s 2022 Out of Reach report. The purpose is to bring awareness to the issue that rent is “out of reach” to many low-income workers across the country.
According to the organization’s website:
Out of Reach documents the significant gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing across the United States. The report’s central statistic, the Housing Wage, is an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home at HUD’s fair market rent (FMR) without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs, the accepted standard of affordability. The FMR is an estimate of what a family moving today can expect to pay for a modestly priced rental home in a given area.
To put it into perspective nationally the Housing Wage is $25.82. That is for a modest two-bedroom rental home. A one-bedroom you would need $21.25 to afford. These statistics are based off of the idea that an individual should spend no more than 1/3 of their income on rent.
North Carolina State Facts Regarding Minimum Wage and Rent:
- Minimum Wage: $7.25
- Average Renter Wage: $19.00
- 2-Bedroom Housing Wage: $19.18
- Percent Renters: 34%
Where Do The Numbers Come From?
- Hourly Wage To Afford A 2 Bedroom Fair Market Rent: Divide income needed to afford FMR ($53,699) by 52 (weeks per year) and then by 40 (hours per work week) ($53,699 / 52 = $1,033;$1,033 / 40 = $25.82).
- Annual Income Needed To Afford FMR: Multiply the FMR by 12 to get the yearly rental cost ($1,342.47 x 12 = $16,110). Then divide by .3 to determine the total income needed to afford $16,110 per year in rent ($16,110 / .3 = $53,699).
- Full Time Jobs At Minimum Wage Needed To Afford FMR: National average of jobs needed across all counties, weighted by the number of renter households. To find jobs
needed in a particular state, metro, or county, divide the annual income needed to afford the FMR by 52 (weeks per year). Then divide by the prevailing minimum wage. Then divide by 40 (hours per work week)
The numbers for North Carolina are shocking. It’s a well-known fact that it’s hard to make ends meet on minimum wage. However, the idea that you’d have to work more than 2 full-time jobs that paid minimum wage to afford rent is unacceptable. Let’s take a look at some of the other statistics below and a breakdown of each of North Carolina’s metropolitan areas.
All data comes from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2022 Out of Reach Report which can be read here.