Study: Minimum-Wage Workers Struggle to Afford Ownership, Rent

A woman holding an empty wallet

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The median cost of owning or renting a home is unaffordable to minimum wage workers in all 50 of the country’s states, finds a new analysis from LendingTree. Rising home prices and rent costs are putting housing costs out of reach to more low-income earners.

The study finds that the affordable housing payment for minimum wage workers across the country is $1,074 less than the median monthly housing costs paid by homeowners. Renting was also found to be unaffordable. The difference between an affordable monthly housing payment and the median gross rent averages at $533.

LendingTree researchers studied whether owning or renting a home is affordable to a person working a full-time minimum job. They factored in 30% of a monthly gross income on housing to weigh affordability. They calculated how much a person could afford in monthly housing costs if working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year at their state’s minimum wage.

The states where owning is most affordable for workers earning minimum wage are Arkansas, West Virginia, and New Mexico. Check out the chart below for a full breakdown.