The National Low Income Housing Coalition released on July 14 its annual report, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing 2020. The report compares rents and wages nationally and in every state, county, and metropolitan area in the U.S.

Massachusetts ranks as the 3rd Highest Housing Wage
$35.52/hr required to afford a 2 bedroom rental home
111 hours of work needed at the minimum wage to afford a 2 bedroom rental home

Out of Reach 2020 shows that, even before the onset of the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, millions of workers were struggling to afford their homes. The report finds that both average renter wages and prevailing minimum wages are insufficient to afford modest rental apartments throughout the country. These underlying structural challenges led to the current eviction wave threatening renters across the U.S. NLIHC calls for emergency rental assistance and a national eviction moratorium in response to the pandemic, and significant investments in the national Housing Trust Fund, Housing Choice Vouchers, and public housing to address long-term affordability challenges.

The report’s Housing Wage is the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home while spending no more than 30% of his or her income on rent and utilities. In 2020, the national two-bedroom Housing Wage is $23.96 per hour and the one-bedroom Housing Wage is $19.56 per hour. On average nationally, a household must have an annual income of at least $49,830 to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home at HUD’s fair market rent of $1,246 per month. The average hourly wage of renters in the U.S. is $18.22, $5.74 less than the two-bedroom Housing Wage.

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