WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

In D.C., Three Minimum Wage Jobs Needed To Afford Two-Bedroom Apartment

Rents in once-affordable area like Arlington's Columbia Pike corridor are rapidly rising due to development.
William F. Yurasko: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wfyurasko/4002624581/
Rents in once-affordable area like Arlington's Columbia Pike corridor are rapidly rising due to development.

Minimum-wage earners need about three full-time jobs to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, according to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The study looks at how many hours minimum-wage earners, or two minimum-wage earners in one household, must work full-time in order to afford the Fair Market Rent in a given state, while spending no more than 30 percent of income on housing.

  • In the District of Columbia, minimum-wage earners need to work 132 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, in order to afford a Fair Market Rent of $1,412.
  • In Maryland, minimum wage-earners need to work 135 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, in order to afford a Fair Market rent of $1,273.
  • In Virginia, minimum wage-earners need to work 114 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, in order to afford a Fair Market rent of $1,078.

Fair Market Rent is defined by the U.S. Department on Housing and Urban Development as "the 40th percentile of gross rents for typical, non-substandard rental units occupied by recent movers in a local housing market."

While the trend is dire for those earning the minimum, even those considered average are feeling the pinch.

  • In the District of Columbia, at the mean hourly wage of $25.20, renters need to work 44 hours per week to afford the rent.
  • In Maryland, at the mean hourly wage of $15.06, renters need to work 64 hours per week to afford the rent.
  • In Virginia, at the mean hourly wage of $15.79, renters need to work 52 hours per week to afford the rent.

Not surprisingly, the D.C. area is amongst the expensive in the entire country, with the District ranking as second most expensive, Maryland sixth and Virginia tenth. While the D.C. Metro area ranks towards the top, minimum-wage earners with full-time jobs can't afford a two-bedroom apartment in any state in the United States, according to the study.

The price of rent continues to be a hot-button issue in our area. Studies have shown that affordable housing is on the decline in D.C., which prompted Mayor Vincent Gray to make it a centerpiece of his State of the District address this year.

Affordable housing has also been a crucial sticking point in talks surrounding proposed developments in Alexandria's West End and along the Columbia Pike corridor in Arlington.

NPR

'Game Of Thrones' Evolves On Women In Explosive Sixth Season

The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones showed a real evolution in the way the show portrays women and in the season finale, several female characters ascended to power. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Glen Weldon from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and Greta Johnsen, host of the Nerdette podcast, about the show.
NPR

In Quest For Happier Chickens, Perdue Shifts How Birds Live And Die

Perdue Farms, the fourth-largest poultry company in the country, says it will change its slaughter methods and also some of its poultry houses. Animal welfare groups are cheering.
NPR

Hawaii Law Places Gun Owners Into National Database

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Hawaii State Sen. Will Espero about gun control legislation passed in the state last week. The legislation makes Hawaii the first state to enter gun owners into an FBI database that notifies police if a resident is arrested elsewhere in the country.
WAMU 88.5

Episode 5: Why 1986 Still Matters

In 1986, a federal official issued a warning: If Metro continued to expand rapidly, the system faced a future of stark choices over maintaining existing infrastructure. Metro chose expansion. We talk to a historian about that decision. We also hear from a former Metro general manager about the following years, and from an Arlington planner about measuring how riders are responding to SafeTrack.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.