California is now the second-least affordable state to live in, behind only Hawaii, according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The annual report showed that a minimum wage earner living in California needs to work around 130 hours per week to afford a standard two-bedroom apartment.
Fair market rent in California is determined by U.S. Housing and Urban Development. The fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in California is $1,341 per month. In order for a household to afford this level of utilities and rent while paying less than 30 percent of their income on housing, the household needs to earn $4,469 monthly. This means that with minimum wage in California being $8 per hour, a single household needs at least 3.2 minimum wage earners, each working 40 hours a week, all year, in order for them to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment.
Four of the ten most expensive metropolitan areas are found in California: San Francisco (2), Orange County (4), San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (5) and Santa Cruz-Watsonville (6). The only metropolitan area more expensive to live in than San Francisco is Honolulu. California also has six of the ten most expensive counties: San Mateo (3), San Francisco (4), Marin (5), Orange County (7), Santa Clara (8) and Santa Cruz (9). Even though Los Angeles County did not make the top 10 most expensive counties list, affording housing on a minimum wage salary is almost impossible.
Research director Megan Bolton says “In terms of Metropolitan areas with the highest housing [costs], the list doesn’t change much from year to year.” She goes on to say that what is changing is rental housing has been getting more and more expensive, not just in California but nationwide. The situation is only made worse by sequestration budget cuts that lead to cuts to federal housing vouchers.
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