NLIHC: Out of Reach 2019 Released Today

NLIHC released today the 30th anniversary edition of Out of Reach comparing wages and rents throughout the U.S. The report illustrates that rental housing continues to be out of reach for millions of low-wage workers and other extremely low-income renters. On average, a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn $22.96 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent and $18.65 for a modest one-bedroom apartment. In nine states and the District of Columbia, full-time workers need to earn more than $25.00 per hour for a modest two-bedroom apartment.

Out of Reach provides the Housing Wage - the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs - for every state, metropolitan area, and county in the U.S. In 99% of counties full-time minimum-wage workers cannot afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. In no county can a full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom rental home while working a standard 40-hour week. On average, a full-time minimum-wage earner needs to work 127 hours per week (more than three full-time jobs) every week of the year to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home and 103 hours per week (two-and-a-half full-time jobs) for a modest one-bedroom apartment.

It is not just minimum wage workers for whom the rent is out of reach. Seven of the ten occupations projected to experience the greatest growth over the next decade, including medical assistants, home health aides, and food service workers, provide a median wage lower than what is needed for a full-time worker to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

In her preface to this year's Out of Reach report, Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) writes, “The lack of affordable housing is perhaps the greatest challenge to successfully ending homelessness and lifting millions of people out of poverty.” In her forward to the report, NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel notes that the country's rental housing needs have worsened considerably since the first edition of Out of Reach 30 years ago. “Housing assistance reached only 1 in 3 eligible households in the late-1980s,” Diane writes. “Today, housing assistance reaches fewer than 1 in 4.” But the coming years, she notes, present an opportunity for bold housing policy solutions to ensure every individual and family has a safe, accessible, and affordable home.

Visit to learn more about the Housing Wage in your state and local area.
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