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Wages needed to live in New Mexico

No, this isn’t about tourist sights and things to see in the state, but might give you the incentive to stay here if you are traveling through, or to consider it as a place to retire.

This Map Shows the Hourly Wage You’d Need to Afford a 2-bedroom Rental in Every State


The government calculates poverty, inflation, and benefits on the assumption that renters spend 30 percent of their income on housing. If you rent in America, there’s a good chance you’re spending much more than 30 percent of your income on rent.

The map above shows the hourly wage a full-time worker would need to make in order to afford to rent a 2-bedroom unit in every state.

Hawaii tops the list for the most expensive place to rent a 2-bedroom apartment. To make rent in Hawaii, your hourly wages would have to be $31.61. Washington D.C. came in a close second at $28.04 an hour. Surprisingly, a 2-bedroom in California is now more expensive to rent than one in New York.

On the other end of the spectrum is Arkansas, where you only need to make $12.95 an hour to afford a 2-bedroom apartment.

These numbers come from Out Of Reach, a program from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition that has focused on the problem of rent affordability since 1989. If you want to look at it another way, the map below shows how many hours you’d need to work per week at the federal minimum wage to make rent in each state.


When you see the numbers like this, it seems almost impossible that any retail worker could live anywhere near the coasts. Even when you account for the states that have a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum, it still doesn’t add up. In Hawaii, the average renter would have to make an extra $17.12 an hour just to make rent.

(Editor note: The researcher was bemoaning the fact that a retail worker can’t afford rent. I don’t think a retail worker should have ever been under the illusion that they could on their own afford a place to live. That is what roommates are for and wanting your own place is the incentive to work up in management or gain the skills to get a better job.)

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