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200 hours of minimum wage work to afford rent: What California cities cost the most?

These are some of the issues behind California’s housing crisis

California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.
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California's housing crisis is due in large part to a lack of supply, particularly when it comes to affordable housing, and it is hitting low-income individuals the hardest.

Although rent prices in Sacramento often seem high and on the rise, the capital city is still more affordable than much of California, according to a new study.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition took a look at rent costs across the United States and determined how much renters need to make on average to afford modest housing.

Out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia, California was ranked the second most expensive place to rent an apartment, just behind Hawaii.

In Hawaii, renters need to make $36.82 per hour or work a minimum wage job for 146 hours per week on average to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according NLIHC.

Renters in the Golden State need to make $34.69 per hour or work a minimum wage job for 116 hours per week on average in order to afford that same apartment, according to NLIHC.

Sacramento County fared significantly better, where one would have to make $23.46 per hour, work 78 hours per week at a minimum wage job or have an annual salary of $48,800 to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to NLIHC. Placer and El Dorado Counties were given identical figures.

Yolo County, however, was deemed slightly more expensive by NLIHC. There, renters need to make $25.81 per hour, work 86 hours per week at a minimum wage job or make $53,680 annually to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

Sutter County is one of the most affordable counties in the state, where renters must make $16.88 per hour, work 56 hours per week at a minimum wage job or make a salary of $35,120 to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to NLIHC.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most expensive places in California were reported to be in the Bay Area.

San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties all were given identical figures. In these counties, renters need to make $60.96 per hour, work a whopping 203 hours per week at a minimum wage job or make $126,800 per year, according to NLIHC.

The cheapest place in California was Modoc County, where a renter needs to make just $13.46 per hour, work 45 hours per week at a minimum wage job or have a salary of $28,000 to afford a two-bedroom apartment, according to NLIHC.

The cheapest state in the country, on average, was Arkansas, where renters need to make $14.26 per hour or work 62 hours per week at a minimum wage job to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s study did not take local minimum wages into account; hourly figures were calculated using whichever was higher between state or federal minimum wages. The full report and methodology can be found at http://bit.ly/nlihc-rent-study-2019.

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