Report: It Takes A 73 Hour Work Week To Pay Rent On Idaho's Minimum Wage

Mar 26, 2014

Credit National Low Income Housing Coalition

An Idaho worker earning the minimum wage would need to work 73 hours per week in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Idaho’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t changed since 2009, even as neighboring states in the West continue to raise their minimums. Data released this week from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show 7.1 percent, or 29,000 hourly workers, earned Idaho’s minimum wage or less in 2013.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s study of what it takes to pay for housing puts into perspective how difficult it is for low wage earners to afford rent.

“The federal minimum wage continues to be just $7.25 per hour in 2014. The inflation-adjusted value of the federal minimum wage has fallen by more than a third from its peak and is currently about 20% less than it was in 1981.This means that the federal minimum wage is not keeping up with the rising cost of rent.”

On average, NLIHC reports it requires 2.6 full time minimum wage jobs to afford a two-bedroom home in the United States. In Idaho, that number declines to 1.8 full time minimum wage jobs.

The study finds fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Idaho is $692.

“In order to afford this level of rent and utilities – without paying more than 30% of income on housing – a house hold must earn $2,308 monthly or $27,695 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of $13.31.”

NLIHC finds Idaho’s estimated average hourly wage for a renter is $10.54. At that rate, it’d require a 51-hour work week in order to afford a two-bedroom rental.

Idaho's annual per capita personal income was $35,382 in 2013 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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