Here is the hourly wage needed to afford rent in Washington

Hourly wage required to afford a two-bedroom rental home by state. ((National Low Income Housing Coalition))

Washington is among the most expensive states to live in, and it’s only getting tighter for minimum-wage workers, who are forking over roughly half of their income to rent, a study shows.

A study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) looked at the hourly wage needed to afford rent in every state in 2023, and the Evergreen State topped the list. Housing costs are unattainable for many, leaving rent as the more affordable option.

For fair market rent in Washington, a one-bedroom averages $1,577 per month, and a 2-bedroom averages $1,889 per month.

Hours at minimum wage needed to afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent in 2023. ((National Low Income Housing Coalition))

The NLIHC study shows that in Washington, you need to make $36.33 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental.

More alarming is the number of hours needed to work a minimum-wage job to afford rent. For Snohomish and King counties, people working minimum-wage jobs need to work more than 80 hours per week just to afford a one-bedroom rental.

Most expensive jurisdictions in the U.S.; Seattle-Bellevue ranks #9. ((National Low Income Housing Coalition))

How Washington compares to other states

Washington ranks fifth-highest in the U.S. for the hourly wage needed to afford a fair market two-bedroom rental without paying more than one-third of their income. The top 10 list is as follows:

  1. California – $42.25
  2. Hawaii – $41.83
  3. Massachusetts – $41.64
  4. New York – $40.08
  5. Washington – $36.33
  6. Wyoming – $36.33
  7. District of Columbia – $35.35
  8. New Jersey – $33.5
  9. Colorado – $32.13
  10. Connecticut – $31.93

On the opposite end of the scale is Arkansas, where workers only need to make $16.27 to afford a two-bedroom rental in the state. Minimum wage in the Natural State is $11 an hour, meaning you would need to work 49 hours to afford a one-bedroom rental.


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