How much do you need to make to live in each state in the US? A new has a map that shows what a person would need to earn to afford an average two-bedroom apartment in each state, and in neighborhoods within dense metro areas, without spending more than 30% of their income on rent. In DC, it’s $33.58 per hour.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition released the tool, called Out of Reach, last week. When you visit it, the first thing you see is a map of the whole country, with varying shades of blue describing housing affordability in that state in terms of required earnings. You can also click “more info” to get more local numbers— after all, looking at all of New York might not be that helpful when you consider there’s a big difference between Manhattan and a rural upstate town.
That makes DC the second most expensive
state district in the nation.
“More info” also goes beyond just separating costs out across states. It also shows the actual minimum wage and average wage that renters make ($12.50 and $27.20, respectively, in DC), along with the state’s number of renters and the share of all households that rent. The state drill-down also lets you do side-by-side comparisons between states.
In addition to the state map, you can enter a zip code and get summary information for a small geographic area. For example, I live in 20003, where the two-bedroom housing wage is $35.96.
The site also reports a one-bedroom housing wage— it’s slightly lower in my area, at $31.15— along with the poverty rate, median household income, and labor force statistics by zip code.
The zip code drill-down shows a scrollable, zoomable map that lets users pan over to nearby zip codes. The zip directly to the east of 20003 is 20019, where the two-bedroom housing wage is $19.04, substantially lower than 20003. On the other hand, the zip code where I work, 22202, has a higher two-bedroom housing wage, at $41.35. The most expensive zip code in the District is 20004, coming in at $46.54/hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
Another interesting comparison is zip codes where you have lived previously. In grad school I spent a few years in 93101, in the relatively expensive city of Santa Barbara. There/ the two-bedroom housing wage of $30.77/hour. I grew up in 99709, in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the two-bedroom housing wage is $22.12. While that’s much lower than most of DC, it’s similar to 20020, which comes in at $20.96/hour.