The reality of affording housing on a minimum wage

On behalf of Sullivan Law Group APC posted in wage & hour laws on Friday, February 23, 2018.

If today’s job market offers any prediction on future challenges, it is in regard to minimum wage and housing affordability. San Diego is one of many hot cities on the map, yet countless Californians struggle to pay rent and monthly mortgages.

Earning low wages is part of this escalating problem, and has been under the political spotlight in recent years. Some states have raised the minimum wage, while others have mapped plans to boost wages for American workers over the next few years. Financial experts and lawmakers alike are in favor of raising the minimum wage across the board, so why do so many Americans continue to suffer from crippling bills, despite putting in long hours of labor? 

A Current Look 

CNBC dedicates an article to the troubles many Americans face when attempting to afford housing on minimum wages. Although some have argued over the effectiveness of recent studies used to show the imbalance in today’s economy, research from 2017 (that uses local median rents) shows that not a single state in the country offers an arrangement in which working 40 hours a week on minimum wage can result in a worker’s ability to rent a two-bedroom apartment. The outlook for Californians is particularly unsettling: workers would need to earn anywhere from $30 to $35 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment. 

Future Changes

As the nationwide struggle for affordable housing continues, there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for Californian workers. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations shares a new minimum wage phase for the years 2017 to 2023. As of January 1, 2018, minimum wage for employers with 25 or less employees is $10.50 an hour. For employers with more than 25 employees, the minimum wage is $11.00 an hour. By January 1, 2023, the state’s projected minimum wage for employers with 25 or less workers is $15.00 an hour. Although the Governor may pause this phase at any time, the state is currently making plans with the $15.00 minimum wage raise in mind.