Renters across the country earn an average hourly rate of $16.88, the report estimated, a finding that illustrates how even folks earning more than the minimum wage scramble to pay for housing.
Using the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and national and statewide data on rental prices, researchers found that the average worker would have to put in 122 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the national fair market rent, an estimate the government updates every year, usually based on the 40th percentile of the gross rent of a given area.
Financial experts advise individuals should not spend more than 30 percent of his or her income on housing costs.
Housing costs have continued to rise with growing demand for rental housing in the decade since the Great Recession.
The report calculates how much income renters need to earn in order to afford an apartment without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, the generally accepted standard for affordability.
In Arkansas, where housing costs are lowest, workers still need to earn $13.84 an hour to afford a 2-bedroom home.
According to the report, a one-bedroom is affordable for minimum-wage workers in only 22 counties in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
Even workers earning more than the minimum wage are struggling. That's especially true for Americans working minimum-wage jobs who rent a home. Pitkin's housing wage is $33.40, which is the highest in the state. The average renter in OH earns $13.32 an hour, almost $2 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit. While the rental market added more than 6.7 million housing units between 2005 and 2015, the number of units renting for less than $800 dropped by more than 260,000, according to the report.
On average, workers still need to earn $17.90 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in the report.
"We need innovative solutions, like the Smart Housing Mix policy, so that we're all pitching in to ensure everyone in New Orleans can stay and thrive", said Cashuana Hill, the Fair Housing Action Center's executive director.
The authors also express concern that the Trump administration's decision to cut housing subsidies will exacerbate the problem. In the Burlington-South Burlington area, the housing wage is $27.73, but that wage drops to $15.21 in Orleans County. "The average renter in each county makes enough to afford a two-bedroom in only 11 percent of US counties, and a one-bedroom, in only 43 percent".
Two condos for sale by the Champlain Housing Trust in the Colchester Ethan Allen complex, shown on the trust's website as examples of affordable housing available in VT.