Monday, November 9, 2015

Math is Hard

My state's minimum wage is $9 an hour -- going up to $10 in January. My home town is a little pricier, though, being a college town and all, so they are already at $10.

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in this town is $2,800.

There's an average of 170 working hours in a month. That's...significantly shy. To pay for that single bedroom a household would have to work 280 hours. Or put another way; TWO people sharing that apartment and working full time would be spending over 80% of their income on rent.

That is not 30% of income (the traditional marker of affordability). It's not even close. It's not even in the same discussion.

Okay, maybe the average is too nice. We're talking minimum wage, right? So what's the cheapest place in this town? Harder to get numbers, but looks like anything below $1,000 is going to be one of those golden finds you hear people talk about... but don't plan your budget around being able to find it yourself.

The place I'm at, not terribly close to anything, no parking, extremely small -- these aren't even 1-bedroom, but studios roughly the size of a 1-car parking space -- is currently asking $1,300.  That's 76% of that hypothetical full-time job at minimum wage, there.

At least you can cook. Because one has to be ready to reply to the glib answers -- "the rents are a lot cheaper on the other side of the freeway" and "a room is cheaper." The reply being; everything costs money. If you can't cook at home, your total costs go up. If you are far from work and/or good transportation, your costs go up.

Something is off here, is all I'm saying. I don't know who the minimum wage is for, but it isn't for anyone who rents. Not if they want to eat as well.

(I've got rent control, and I am making more than minimum wage. So based on my gross, I'd be theoretically paying 38% of my income for rent. Fortunately I have a second job as live-in manager. But that's hours, too....)

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