When families pay too much for rent, they’re forced to sacrifice to make ends meet — cutting back at the grocery store or delaying a trip to the doctor.
Building on the annual report produced by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Out of Reach Minnesota 2017 reveals that households in every corner of Minnesota are spending thousands of dollars more than they can afford each year just to pay the rent for a modest apartment.
Key findings from MHP's 2017 report include:
- The amount a renter household needs to earn to afford a modest apartment (the state "housing wage") increased by 5 percent — a higher rate of change compared to the 3 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.
- Minnesota has climbed to #21 on the list of most expensive states in the nation, up from #24 just five years ago, rising above states like Texas and Arizona.
- To afford a two-bedroom apartment, the median-income renter in Minnesota would need a 13 percent raise.
- A full-time minimum wage earner can’t afford even a one-bedroom apartment in any of Minnesota’s 87 counties.
- The lowest income households — those earning 30 percent or less of area median income — can afford a modest one-bedroom apartment in only four of Minnesota’s 87 counties. Even efficiencies are not affordable in 35 counties.
When rent is out of reach for those who are fully employed, our communities pay the price. We cannot afford to let housing costs continue to climb, while wages remain stagnant.
Housing is far more expensive than renters can afford
In Minnesota, the rent for a modest two-bedroom apartment is out of reach for even median-income renters, who have to pay more than $1,300 more per year than they can afford for housing. Challenges are even steeper for those earning minimum wage; they have to pay more than $5,600 more per year than they can afford for a two-bedroom and nearly $3,300 more per year than they can afford for a one-bedroom. When households are spending thousands of dollars beyond their means for housing, they must make sacrifices in other areas, like healthcare and groceries.
Communities of color are disproportionately impacted.
The growing gap between wages and rent has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Statewide, the median wages earned by Black and Native American workers is half that of White and Asian workers. In the Twin Cities, these disparities are particularly stark. For instance, in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, the median income for a household of color is, on average, 40 percent less than the median income for a White household.
Minimum wage workers must work more than one job to afford rent for a modest apartment in every Minnesota county.
A minimum wage earner would have to work more than 40 hours per week to afford even a one-bedroom apartment in all Minnesota counties. Statewide, a one-bedroom apartment costs $269 more per month than a minimum wage earner can afford. In non-metro areas, minimum wage workers must work 45 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, and 58 hours per week for a two-bedroom. Minimum wage workers in the Twin Cities metropolitan area must work 70 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment and 88 hours per week for a two-bedroom — the highest number for major metropolitan areas in the state.
Across the income spectrum, renters face wide gaps between rent and what they can afford.
In 69 percent of Minnesota counties, the median-income renter can’t afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment. At the state level, there is a more than $100 monthly gap — or $1,200 annual gap — between median renter income and what’s needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment. In non-metro areas the gap decreases, but only to $45 per month or $540 per year.
The lowest income households in Minnesota — those earning 30% or less of area median income — can only afford $611 per month in rent. A household individual earning 30 percent of area median income can afford a modest one-bedroom apartment in only four of Minnesota’s 87 counties: Waseca, Sibley, Kittson, and Lyon. In 29 counties, the monthly gap exceeds $100.
See more tables in the Minnesota report and visit the NLIHC Out of Reach website for additional information about Minnesota’s rental affordability by county and metro area.