The government calculates poverty, inflation, and benefits on the assumption that renters spend 30 percent of their income on housing. If you rent in America, there’s a good chance you’re spending much more than 30 percent of your income on rent.

The map above shows the hourly wage a full-time worker would need to make in order to afford to rent a 2-bedroom unit in every state.

Hawaii tops the list for the most expensive place to rent a 2-bedroom apartment. To make rent in Hawaii, your hourly wages would have to be $31.61. Washington D.C. came in a close second at $28.04 an hour. Surprisingly, a 2-bedroom in California is now more expensive to rent than one in New York.

On the other end of the spectrum is Arkansas, where you only need to make $12.95 an hour to afford a 2-bedroom apartment.

These numbers come from Out Of Reach, a program from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition that has focused on the problem of rent affordability since 1989. If you want to look at it another way, the map below shows how many hours you’d need to work per week at the federal minimum wage to make rent in each state.

When you see the numbers like this, it seems almost impossible that any retail worker could live anywhere near the coasts. Even when you account for the states that have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum, it still doesn’t add up. In Hawaii, the average renter would have to make an extra $17.12 an hour just to make rent.


I don’t know how to fix this, but after looking at these stats, I do know that something needs to be done to make housing more affordable for the masses.