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How Much Does It Cost to Rent a Two-Bedroom House in Every State?

This new map shows how many hours you'd need to work each week to make rent.


The National Low Income Coalition just released a new infographic detailing exactly how much a person would need to make to afford a two-bedroom rental home in each state. Interestingly, it also calculates how many hours one would need to work each week to make the rent payment. Sadly, if the graph clarifies one thing, it’s that there’s not a single state in which Americans who make the federal minimum wage of $7.25 could afford a two-bedroom house ⏤ at least not without making some major sacrifices in their lives.

As the graph points out, even in the least expensive state, a family of four making on or around the poverty line of $25,100 annually wouldn’t be able to afford a place to live.

States With Highest Wage Requirements

1 Hawaii: $36.13 at 143 hours a week

2 Washington DC: $34.48 at 104 hours a week

3 California: $32.68 at 119 hours a week

4 New York: $30.03 at 115 hours a week

5 Maryland: $29.04 at 131 hours a week 

6 Massachusetts: $28.64 at 104 hours a week 

7 New Jersey: $28.17 at 131 hours a week 

8 Washington: $26.87 at 93 hours a week 

9 Connecticut: $24.90 at 90 hours a week 

10 Alaska: $24.80 at 93 hours a week

Not surprisingly, the most expensive state is Hawaii, where to afford renting a two-bedroom house, a person would have to make $36.13 an hour ⏤ or roughly five times the federal minimum wage. In fact, to pull off that rent payment, you’d have to work upwards of 140 hours a week. Hawaii is closely followed by Washington DC ($34.48/hr at 104 hours a week) and California ($32.68 at 119 hours a week). Things don’t too much better the further down the list you go either.

States With Lowest Wage Requirements

1 Puerto Rico: $9.24 at 51 hours a week

2 Arkansas: $13.84 at 65 hours a week #

3 West Virginia: $14.10 at 64 hours a week #

4 South Dakota: $14.33 at 65 hours a week

5 Kentucky: $14.40 at 79 hours a week

6 Mississippi: $14.51 at 80 hours a week #

7 Alabama: $14.65 at 81 hours a week #

8 Iowa: $15.01 at 83 hours a week

9 Ohio: $15.25 at 74 hours a week

10 Oklahoma: $15.41 at 85 hours a week

It’s only fair to note that while the federal minimum wage is $7.25, that’s far from the minimum wage in every state. For example, the minimum wage in Hawaii, the most expensive state on this list is $10.10. But, when you look at the bottom 10 states on the list, not one even of them has a minimum wage that exceeds $8.50. That’ pretty terrible when you consider the fact that the location with the lowest wage requirement is Puerto Rico, where a person would have to make $9.24 an hour to afford a two-bedroom house.

Though the list doesn’t go into much detail, it perfectly illustrates once again the unchanging fact that without loads of money, even the most basic living requirements can prove to be unaffordable these days. Unless of course, you want to spend 100 plus hours (about 60 percent of the 168 hours in a week working, 49 hours sleeping (about 7 hours a night), and just seven hours doing literally anything else.