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May 29, 2015

Study: Rent too expensive in America for full-time minimum-wage workers

Can't afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in U.S.

Housing Rent
050115_WageRally_Carroll-3.jpg Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The minimum wage rally on 40th Street in University City.

Full-time minimum-wage workers cannot afford rent for a one-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent anywhere in America, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

"Out of Reach 2015" details how much a person would need to earn to afford a modest apartment in his or her state. The findings are troubling.

A renter earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would need to work 85 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rent at the Fair Market Rent and 102 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom Fair Market Rent.

In Pennsylvania, workers would need to take home $17.57 per hour on average in order to afford the rent on a two-bedroom apartment. The average hourly wage for renters statewide is only $13.66.

Minimum-wage earners in Pennsylvania would have to work 78 hours per week in order to afford a one-bedroom at Fair Market Rent ($739 per month), according to the report. In Philadelphia, the most expensive county for renters in the state, minimum-wage earners would have to work 102 hours per week.

New Jersey rent is even harder to afford, according to the report, with the fifth-highest housing wage required. Working at minimum wage ($8.38/hr), you would have to work 100 hours each week to afford a modest, one-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.

Read the full report.