Louisiana ranks 30th in a report analyzing how much money it takes for low-income renters to get an apartment in terms of affordability among the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The average fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the state was $822 a month, the report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition said. To afford the apartment and not spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities, renters would need to work 40 hours a week at $15.81 per hour to make $2,741 a month. In New Orleans, which has the highest fair market rent at $963 a month, workers need an annual income of $38,520 to afford a two-bedroom apartment or 2.6 full-time minimum wage jobs. New Orleans renters need to make an average of $18.52 an hour to afford the apartment and not spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities.
Lafayette was the second-most expensive metro area, with residents needing an average hourly wage of $16.87 to afford an $877-a-month apartment. Houma-Thibodaux was third, with an average hourly wage of $16.48 for an $857-a-month apartment, followed by Baton Rouge at $16.19 an hour for an $842 two-bedroom unit and Shreveport-Bossier at $15.75 an hour for an $819 apartment.
Nationally, the coalition said the average full-time worker needs to earn $20.30 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment with a fair market rent of $1,056 a month. The average minimum-wage worker would need to work 112 hours per week at $7.25 an hour in order to afford a two-bedroom rental.
“Our nation can’t fulfill any of our major goals — whether it’s tackling inequality, improving health care, keeping neighborhoods safe or making sure every child gets a good education — unless we also focus on housing,” said Julian Castro, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Hawaii was the most expensive state, with an hourly wage of $34.22 needed for a two-bedroom apartment, followed by the District of Columbia at $31.21. San Francisco was the most expensive metro area at $44.02, followed by Oakland, California, at $40.44.