A tweet by user PookleBlinky showing how hard it is to afford rent on minimum wage has gone viral, racking up 60,000 retweets and counting and starting a spirited conversation about income and housing in America.
There's only one problem, as some critics have noted: It's not terribly useful to compare federal minimum wage with the average U.S. rent. Local median rents would be a fairer metric.
But research from 2017 that uses local median rents came to a similarly grim conclusion. Though the absolute least that an employer is legally allowed to pay an employee for an hour's work varies across the country, one fact remains constant: In no state does working 40 hours a week for minimum wage enable a person to rent a median two-bedroom apartment.
That's according to findings from the National Low Income Housing Coalition covered by The Washington Post. Across the country, the NLIHC reports, even full-time workers would have to make about or more than twice as much to afford a typical home.
In states such as Alaska, Washington, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Illinois and most of the Northeast, workers would have to make over $20 an hour. Workers in California, D.C. and Hawaii are the hardest hit by the price of housing: They need to earn a whopping $30, $33 or $35 an hour, respectively, to afford a two-bedroom.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25.