Friday, May 27, 2016

Can someone afford an apartment on minimum wage in Spokane or Coeur d’Alene?

Posted By on Fri, May 27, 2016 at 2:34 PM

No one working full time on minimum wage in any state, city or county in the U.S. can afford a two-bedroom apartment, including in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.

That’s the conclusion of a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition that found that Washington is the 10th most expensive state in the country for housing. Idaho ranked 44th.

The report calculated what someone would make working 40 hours a week and compared that to what someone would need to earn to afford an apartment without it costing more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities (a federal guideline often used to calculate reasonable housing costs).

In the Spokane metropolitan area, the report found, someone would need to make $15.17 or have an annual income of $31,560 to afford the fair market value (another federal guideline) of a $789-a-month two-bedroom apartment. Washington state already has one of the highest minimum wages in the country at $9.47 an hour. Thirty seven percent of Spokane area households are renters, and they earn an estimated hourly mean wage of $11.19, according to the report.

In the Coeur d’Alene area, the report found, someone would need to make $14.77 an hour (more than double the state’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage) to afford a $768-a-month two bedroom apartment. According to the report, 30 percent of the city’s residents are renters who make an estimated $10.22 hourly mean wage.

Unsurprisingly, the greatest disparity in Washington is in the Seattle area. Despite the city being on track to implement its $15-an-hour minimum wage, someone working minimum wage would need to make $29.29 an hour to afford a $1,523-a-month apartment.

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