DC Residents Must Make $34/Hour To Afford A Two-Bedroom Rental, Report Says

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

NBCWashington reports, a new study shows DC residents need to make more money than most residents in any other part of the country in order to afford housing at fair rental prices.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition says in a recent report that in the D.C. metropolitan area (including Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia), a full-time worker must earn $34.48 per hour to afford a modest two bedroom rental while spending no more than 30 percent of their rent and income on utilities.

Without a higher livable wage, DC residents would need to work 2.6 full time jobs to afford rent alone. Only Hawaii has a higher “housing wage,” which is how the coalition refers to the measurement.

In 2018, the national average was $22.10. However, the average wage for US renters was $16.88 per hour.

In Maryland, a person must earn $29.04 per hour to afford a two-bedroom rental, making the state the fifth most expensive. Virginia ranks at No. 12, at $23.69.

With higher rent prices and lower minimum wages, DC officials questioned how can they make up the difference?

A recent study by the the D.C. Council’s budget office, answers the question if universal basic income — cash payments to individuals and families, with no strings attached — could be implemented in the city, and at what cost.

According to the report, a modest payment provided to low-income residents to get them up to the federal poverty line — $12,060 for individuals, $16,240 for a family of two, $20,420 for a family of three, and so on — would cost between $380 and $710 million a year, depending on if it was offered as a tax credit or direct cash payment.

WHUR Contributor


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