If you’re living in a one-parent household making the $7.75 minimum wage in Hawaii, you would need to work 163 hours a week to comfortably make your rent payment on a two-bedroom apartment — giving you a luxurious five hours a week to sleep, eat or spend time with your family. To comfortably afford a decent two-bedroom home on a 40-hour work week, by contrast, you’d need to earn $31.61 an hour.
The map above shows the hourly wage that a household needs to earn in order to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment in every state, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. High hourly wages are necessary to afford decent housing in Washington D.C. ($28.04), California ($26.65), New York ($25.67), New Jersey ($25.17), Massachusetts ($24.64), and other states.
This data comes from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group for affordable housing, which has published an extensive report comparing the cost of renting with wages in each state. The group defines housing affordability as paying less than 30 percent of your income to housing, a common standard for the industry, and it assumes a “fair market rent” as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In much of the Midwest and South, a renter can afford a two-bedroom house if his or her household makes less than $15.00 (which is still much higher than the minimum wage in those states). But on the coasts, the wage needed to comfortably afford a two-bedroom house rises to $20.00 an hour or more.