Locals know it’s true: this is a very expensive place to live. But it’s amazing to see, in hard numbers, just how expensive it is. A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition spells it out, relying on data from HUD, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Labor, and the Social Security Administration.
The report uses a market rent amount of $1,671 for a two-bedroom apartment; in order to afford that home without paying more than 30% of their income for housing, the household must earn a total of $32.14 an hour (or $5,571 monthly or $66,853 annually). The report calls that the “housing wage” – i.e. the necessary wage in order to maintain decent housing.
At a $7.25 per hour minimum wage, an employee would have to work an impossible 177 hours per week, or have more than four (4.4, to be exact) minimum-wage earners in order to make that apartment affordable.
In Honolulu, where the higher cost of housing requires a $35.25 per hour housing wage, making Honolulu the most expensive metropolitan area in the U.S. The next most expensive city is San Francisco, with a $34.52 per hour housing wage.
Here’s how Hawaii stands out on a state-by-state basis:
|States||Housing Wage for Two-Bedroom Apartment|
If we were to alter a key assumption in the report’s data, by replacing a $1,671 two-bedroom rental with the lowest-priced rental currently on the market – a $900 per month condo on Pumehana street in Moiliili – a minimum-wage earner would still have to work for 124 hours in a week. This would mean working 17.7 hours a day, sleeping for six hours, and hoping to never get stuck in traffic.