While state lawmakers debate the issue of minimum wage, renters earning minimum wage in Pennsylvania find themselves struggling to make ends meet.
Here’s what they found.
Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has held steady at $7.25 for more than a decade.
The average renter’s wage is $15.90 per hour.
There are 1,557,665 renting households in Pennsylvania.
Renters makeup 31 percent of households statewide.
At minimum wage, the NLIHC calculates that $377 per month is an affordable rent for low income households.
For workers at the average renter wage, NLIHC calculates $827 per month to be an affordable rent for low income households.
The Fair Market rent statewide for a 1-bedroom apartment is $811 per month and $1,000 for a two bedroom apartment.
In order to afford rent, NLIHC projects that a Pennsylvania household must earn $39,992 annually. Assuming 40 hours per work week for 52 weeks in a year, NLIHC calculates that the state housing wage to be $19.23 per hour.
Statewide Minimum Wage Numbers
On average, workers would need to work well over the normal 40-hour work week in order to afford housing statewide.
Based on the statewide average workers would need to work:
75 hours per week … to afford a studio apartment.
86 hours per week … to afford a one bedroom apartment.
106 hours per week … to afford a two bedroom apartment.
135 hours per week … to afford a three bedroom apartment.
150 hours per week … to afford a four bedroom apartment.
The NLIHC calculates that minimum wage workers would need to have 2.7 full-time, minimum wage jobs to afford a two-bedroom rental home. To afford a one-bedroom rental home, workers would need 2.2 full-time, minimum wage jobs.
The Five Most Expensive Housing Areas
According to data from NLIHC, the most expensive areas in the state are:
- Pike County, Housing Wage: $24.88
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington (Metropolitan Statistical Area), Housing Wage: $23.58
- East Stroudsburg (MSA), Housing Wage: $20.19
- Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton (MSA), Housing Wage: $19.73
- Lancaster County, $19.63
The needed housing wage is calculated using the $1,000 fair market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year and without paying more than 30 percent of income on housing.