According to a report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, you’d have to work 136 minimum wage hours to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at “fair market rent” in New York. According to the NLIHC’s chart, West Virginia and Arkansas have the fewest number of minimum wage hours you’d need to work each week at 63 hours. Of course, not everyone wants a 2-bedroom apartment, but there are many families with only one working adult where this is the reality.
Minimum wage in New York is $7.25. The rent on my studio apartment is $1,500 a month. I’d have to work 52 minimum wage hours each week (pre-tax!) to make my rent.
I said last month that I’d move out of New York if I was only earning minimum wage, because I’d only be able to make a living someplace where the rent was dirt cheap. Clearly, minimum wage needs to become a living wage.