Monday, December 27, 2004

Rents and wages

This report the National Low Income Housing Coalition shines light on the serious problem of housing low-income folks. It finds,
Today, the national Housing Wage for a two bedroom unit is $15.37. The median hourly wage in the United States is only about $14.00 and more than a quarter of the population earns less than $10.00 an hour.
There is ample evidence that rents are rising and wages have not kept pace with rising housing costs. Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggest that rents continued to rise faster than incomes in 2004. From October 2003 to October 2004, the Consumer Price Index shows an increase of 2.9% for the rental of primary residences. Hourly wages, however, were up only 2.6% over the past year. Data compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University show that both contract rents and gross rents, which include the cost of utilities, have risen steadily from the mid-1990s, despite a decline in renter incomes after 2001.6 Since 1997, the federal minimum wage has remained at $5.15.