Rent costs in Pennsylvania are currently more expensive than the rent in 30 other states.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently released their report, How Much do you Need to Earn to Afford a Modest Apartment in Your State?, which examined data on rent costs and job earnings across the country. Thirty percent, or nearly 1.5 million people, in Pennsylvania are renters. In the commonwealth, the minimum wage is $7.25, but to afford rent on a typical two-bedroom unit, renters need to earn an average hourly wage of $17.25. However, the average renter wage in the state is $13.66.
The fair market rent for a one-bedroom is $739 a month, and a two-bedroom will cost $941 a month. To afford a one-bedroom apartment in Pennsylvania, an employee working at minimum wage would have to work 78 hours per week.
The most expensive counties for renters in Pennsylvania are around Philadelphia. Montgomery County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, Delaware County and Bucks County all require an hourly wage of $22.23 to be able to afford the rent of a two-bedroom. In the Philadelphia area, more than one-third of residents rent.
In Pittsburgh, a two-bedroom requires an hourly wage of $15.12 to afford the monthly average rent of $786. Thirty percent of residents in the city rent. In the Harrisburg area, a two-bedroom requires a $16.65 hourly wage, and the average two-bedroom costs $866 per month in rent for the 31 percent of renters in the area.
According to the report, there is not one state in which a person working full-time at minimum wage is able to afford a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent. Nationally, in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment, renters need to earn $19.35 an hour. One in four renters, or 10.3 million renters, cannot afford their rent on their own. Additionally, across the country, rents for apartments have risen for 23 straight quarters. Hawaii, the District of Columbia and California boast the most expensive rent rates in the country.