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slides: The Real Cost of Renting in Rhode Island

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

 

How much do you need to make an hour to rent an apartment in Rhode Island comfortably? According to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the amount is $18.18 an hour.

Yes, an hour.

In the greater Providence area, that number is slightly lower: $17.88 an hour. By contrast, in the Westerly-Hopkinton-New Shoreham area, it's $19.02. On Aquidneck Island, it's the highest, at $21.83.

Housing wage

These figures represent The Housing Wage, calculated by the NLIHC and presented in its 2013 annual report, "Out of Reach." The Housing Wage is the dollar amount someone must earn to afford a modest apartment without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

The Housing Wage captures "the gap between wages and rents across the country," according to the report, and is the estimate of the full-time hourly wage that a household must earn to afford a decent apartment at the HUD-estimated Fair Market Rent (FMR), while spending no more than 30% of income on housing costs. The US average 2013 Housing Wage is $18.79, exceeding the $14.32 hourly wage earned by the average renter by almost $4.50 an hour, and greatly exceeding wages earned by low income renter households.

To put that in perspective, at the current US minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, a single worker earning that wage could afford to spent up to $377 in monthly rent. Another away to look at it: a renter earning the minimum wage would have to work 104 hours a month to afford a 2-bedroom rental unit at the Fair Market Rent of $39,080 per year.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the #17 most expensive state when it comes to Housing Wage, according to NLIHC. The most expensive is Hawaii, where a 2-bedroom Fair Market Rent apartment requires earning $32.14 an hour. Hawaii is followed by the District of Columbia ($27.15/hour), California ($25.78/hour), New York ($25.25/hour), New Jersey ($24.84/hour), and Maryland ($20.63). The cheapest state on the list (which includes Puerto Rico and Washington, DC) was Puerto Rico at $10.41 an hour.

In Rhode Island, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $7.75. In order to afford the FMR for a twobedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 94 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or a household must include 2.3 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable.

For the average worker who is also a renter in Rhode Island, the estimated mean wage is $11.73. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 62 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.6 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable. 

Counties: Nantucket tops the list

The report also parsed the nation's counties. Nantucket County was the only New England county in the national Top 10 most expensive, and it topped the list at #1 in 2013 with a $36.10 an hour wage necessary to afford a 2-bedroom FMR. Honolulu County was #2, followed by San Mateo, San Franciso, and Marin counties in CA at #3, #4 and #5, respectively.

To see how the rest of New England's states did, see the slides below.

Prev Next

#6 Maine

Wage per hour to afford 2-bedroom apartment: $16.31

National rank: #23

Housing Costs*

2-bedroom apartment: $848
Income needed to afford that apartment: $33,928
Full-time jobs at minimum wage needed to afford that apartment: 2.2

Renter Households*

Number (2007-2011): 150,686
% of total households: 27%
Estimated mean renter hourly wage: $9.85
Rent affordable at mean wage: $512
Full-time jobs at that wage needed to afford 2-bedroom apartment: 1.7

*all costs based on 2BR FMR as defined by HUD

Prev Next

#5 Rhode Island

Wage per hour to afford 2-bedroom apartment: $18.18

National rank: #17

Housing Costs*

2-bedroom apartment: $945
Income needed to afford that apartment: $37,813
Full-time jobs at minimum wage needed to afford that apartment: 2.3

Renter Households*

Number (2007-2011): 155,632
% of total households: 38%
Estimated mean renter hourly wage: $11.73
Rent affordable at mean wage: $610
Full-time jobs at that wage needed to afford 2-bedroom apartment: 1.6

*all costs based on 2BR FMR as defined by HUD

Prev Next

#4 Vermont

Wage per hour to afford 2-bedroom apartment: $18.53

National rank: #16

Housing Costs*

2-bedroom apartment: $964
Income needed to afford that apartment: $38,541
Full-time jobs at minimum wage needed to afford that apartment: 2.2

Renter Households*

Number (2007-2011): 73,476
% of total households: 29%
Estimated mean renter hourly wage: $11.32
Rent affordable at mean wage: $588
Full-time jobs at that wage needed to afford 2-bedroom apartment: 1.6

*all costs based on 2BR FMR as defined by HUD

Prev Next

#3 New Hampshire

Wage per hour to afford 2-bedroom apartment: $20.47

National rank: #12

Housing Costs*

2-bedroom apartment: $1,065
Income needed to afford that apartment: $42,580
Full-time jobs at minimum wage needed to afford that apartment: 2.8

Renter Households*

Number (2007-2011): 141,527
% of total households: 27%
Estimated mean renter hourly wage: $13.14
Rent affordable at mean wage: $683
Full-time jobs at that wage needed to afford 2-bedroom apartment: 1.6

Prev Next

#2 Connecticut

Wage per hour to afford 2-bedroom apartment: $23.22

National rank: #8

Housing Costs*

2-bedroom apartment: $1,208
Income needed to afford that apartment: $48,304
Full-time jobs at minimum wage needed to afford that apartment: 2.8

Renter Households*

Number (2007-2011): 422,776
% of total households: 31%
Estimated mean renter hourly wage: $15.71
Rent affordable at mean wage: $817
Full-time jobs at that wage needed to afford 2-bedroom apartment: 1.5

*all costs based on 2BR FMR as defined by HUD

Prev Next

#1 Massachusetts

Wage per hour to afford 2-bedroom apartment: $24.05

National rank: #7

Housing Costs*

2-bedroom apartment: $1,251
Income needed to afford that apartment: $50,029
Full-time jobs at minimum wage needed to afford that apartment: 3.0

Renter Households*

Number (2007-2011): 917,936
% of total households: 36%
Estimated mean renter hourly wage: $17.17
Rent affordable at mean wage: $893
Full-time jobs at that wage needed to afford 2-bedroom apartment: 1.4

*all costs based on 2BR FMR as defined by HUD

 
 

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Comments:

So why is the cost of renting so high? hmmm ,maybe because the city and state keeps raising taxes and the rents keep going up, maybe because of all the other rules and regulations on property owners and the rents keep going up,did you think to put that in the article???

Comment #1 by anthony sionni on 2013 04 02

It gets worse. Add up all the federal, state and local taxes. Add in sales tax, gasoline tax, etc., etc. Lots of studies show 30% of middle-class incomes go to taxes.

Imagine what people could afford if they were not losing so much to the taxing authorities.

Comment #2 by Art West on 2013 04 02

Liberals love to throw out information like this showing how bad the poor are suffering. Though they never offer the reasons, and certainly never offer a solution other than to raise minimum wage.

Comment #3 by David Beagle on 2013 04 02




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