The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has published its annual Out of Reach report, which quantifies the dramatic unaffordability of housing across the nation. According to the report, a worker must make an hourly wage of $23.67 to afford a modest one-bedroom rental home, and at least $28.58 for a modest two-bedroom rental home. The average monthly fair market rents for a one-bedroom and two-bedroom rental home are $1,231 and $1,486, respectively. This is up from 2022, when a $21.25 hourly wage was needed for a modest one-bedroom rental home and $25.82 per hour was needed for a modest two-bedroom rental home.
Families that are cost-burdened (who spend at least 30% of their income on housing) do not have enough money left over for other basic needs. Termination of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program has further challenged renters; by May 2023, over 75 percent of ERA programs had closed to new applicants or had stopped accepting new applications after running out of funds.
The systemic shortage of affordable rental housing has driven costs up. The U.S. currently is short 7.3 million affordable rental homes, and the shortage grew by 500,000 between 2019 and 2021 because of an increase in the number of extremely low-income renters and the loss of 400,000 rental homes affordable to them.
The report also highlights the disproportionate impact of the lack of affordable rental housing on Black, Latino, Native American, and women workers. Nearly 20% percent of Black workers and 19% of Latino workers earned less than $15 per hour in 2022, compared to 15% of the entire workforce and 13% of white workers. Native American workers also disproportionately earn wages less than $15 per hour. Regardless of their race and ethnicity, women earn less than their male counterparts and face more difficulty affording rental housing, but this is especially the case for Black and Latina women.