Nicole update: comments have been turned off per Ilona’s request.
Admin note: Kristi, my email to you keeps bouncing.
Okay, so because Kid 1 is moving out, I’m noticing apartment prices, and as I was browsing, I came across a graphic that said that in most cities minimum wage doesn’t permit an employee to rent an apartment.
When I think “minimum wage,” in my head, it’s the bare minimum necessary to rent a one bedroom apartment, pay utilities and have money for food. I am not even counting the car, insurance, medical or anything like that. Just bare minimum to survive.
Minimum wage: $7.25 x 40 hour per week x 4 weeks = $1, 160.
I looked at the quick surveys of apartments in the three nearest smallish towns that are considered Austin suburbs, so Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock. When you factor in the assorted fees (renter’s insurance, move in deposits, etc), the average price of a one bedroom apartment is between $850-900.
A person working a minimum wage couldn’t live by themselves. They would either have to get a second job – and many do – or get a roommate.
The established norm, the ratio that landlords usually require, is that your annual income is at least 40 times your rent. That means that being able to afford $800 apartment (going with a low end here,) a person would have to make $800 x 40 = $32,000 annually. $32,000 /2,087 hours (which is what General Accounting Office believes to be an average number of working hours per year) = $15.33
That’s how far the minimum wage is off in a place we live.
Two people living together working minimum wage jobs can barely afford a one bedroom apartment.
Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t news. While Gordon was in the service, I knew soldiers who were on food stamps. We had lived through a few years of low income, but at least, twenty years ago, we somehow managed to survive. The gap seems even wider to me now. Maybe I am just older or because I hadn’t hunted for an apartment for the last ten years, but if you are a kid attending college, working and accumulating student loans, you can’t afford to live on your own in Austin.