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Wages Not Keeping Pace with Rent in North Carolina

a stack of money

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition has released its annual “Out of Reach” report for 2019, which documents the gap between wages and rents across the nation. The report finds that there is no state, metropolitan area, or county in the US where can a worker earning the federal or prevailing state minimum wage afford a modest two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent by working a standard 40-hour work week. In only 28 counties (out of more than 3,000 nationwide) can a full-time minimum-wage worker afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent.

In North Carolina, the average wage earned by renters increased by 4% from last year (from $14.66 per hour to $15.29 per hour), but the fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment increased by 8% (from $708 to $767). The number of hours a person would need to work at minimum wage to afford that rent for a one-bedroom apartment rose from 75 hours in 2018 to 78 hours in 2019, and North Carolina rose four spots on the state ranking list to the 30th least affordable state in the country.