Housing Unaffordable in Every U.S State

Housing Unaffordable in Every U.S State

A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that a U.S worker earning the state minimum wage cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in any U.S state, metropolitan area, or county. The report assumed fair-market rents and the workers were working a 40-hour workweek.

Only in 28 out of 3,000 national counties could a full-time minimum wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair-market rent. All of these counties were located in states where the minimum wage was higher than the prevailing federal minimum wage.

The states with the largest gap between average renter wages and the wage required to rent a two-bedroom apartment are Hawaii, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey and Maryland. An average renter household would need to make at least $22.96 per hour in order to afford a two-bedroom unit.

The housing in the United States is unaffordable for the working class as the minimum wage is insufficient for workers to afford housing. Even in states where the minimum wage exceeds the federal minimum, housing is unaffordable to minimum wage workers.

The both the capitalist class and the landlords benefit from unaffordable housing. Both capitalists and landlords appropriate surplus value that is produced from the global working class in the form of profits and rents. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS) own and manage properties and extract rents from tenants and funnel surplus value to investors. The private ownership of residential real estate in the United States is at the crux of the housing problem and legislative fixes are altogether insufficient to resolve the unaffordability of housing to the working class. A  government that represents the interests of the working class will provide affordable and high-quality housing to the working class.


Sources: 1, 2