Housing Wage – how much you need to earn to live in California

California

In California, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,327. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities, without paying more than 30% of income on housing, a household must earn $4,423 monthly or $53,079 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into a Housing Wage of $25.52.

In California, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $8.00. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 128 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, a household must include 3.2 minimum wage earner(s) working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two bedroom FMR affordable.

In California, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $17.09 an hour. In order to afford the FMR for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 60 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.5 worker(s) earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom FMR affordable.

Monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for an individual are $907 in California. If SSI represents an individual’s sole source of income, $272 in monthly rent is affordable, while the FMR for a one-bedroom is $1,084.

A unit is considered affordable if it costs no more than 30% of the renter’s income.

National Low Income Housing Coalition

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