Unsupportable Affordable Housing: Most Expensive Places To Live

A new report from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition shows just how out of reach affordable housing can be.

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition came out with its aptly named index, Out of Reach 2005. It calculates, according to the NLIHC, "the hourly wage that someone must earn - working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year -- to be able to afford rent and utilities in the private local housing market in every state, metropolitan area and county in the country."

“The disparity between what people earn and what even modest rental housing costs grows larger each year,” said Sheila Crowley, President of NLIHC. “This is the housing market in which millions of low wage workers and elderly or disabled people must try to find safe and decent homes. Now tens of thousands of displaced people from the Gulf Coast have joined them in this competition for scarce housing that they can afford. And FEMA wonders why evacuees are still in hotels.”

With a housing-related fuel and utilities increase of more than 13% in the last year responsible for much of the increase in renter housing costs, the situation is grim. For the first time, NLIHC’s data shows that a full-time worker at minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in country, further illustrating the dire situation that denies many a right to adequate housing.

Out of Reach 2005 calculates the number of full-time wage earners a household needs in order to afford the Fair Market Rent in any area of the country. Nationally, a family with two full-time workers earning federal minimum wage would make just $21,424, significantly less than the $32,822 annually they would need to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

The ten most expensive states for renters (with their Housing Wages) are:

  • Hawaii $22.30
  • California $22.09
  • Massachusetts $21.88
  • New Jersey $20.87
  • New York $19.73
  • Maryland $19.62
  • Connecticut $19.30
  • Rhode Island $18.42
  • New Hampshire $17.58
  • Alaska $17.40

    San Francisco is the nation's most expensive city for renters, followed by Stamford-Norwalk, CT, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura (CA) and Orange County (CA).

    Thanks to Peter Slatin

  • Full Story: NLIHC: Out of Reach 2005


    Prepare for the AICP* Exam

    Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
    Starting at $245

    Essential Readings in Urban Planning

    Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
    Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

    City T-Shirts for the ladies!

    Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.

    Create Your Own Paper Block City

    Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.