The “Out of Reach” report generated annually by the National Low Income Housing Coalition details that a minimum wage worker in Snohomish County would need to work 122 hours per week and earn $75,960 annually in order to reasonably afford a two bedroom apartment. That is based on the average cost of a two bedroom apartment ($1,899 monthly) combined with the current minimum wage of $12 per hour.
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the report. It exists in order to detail the significant wage gap between the actual cost to rent as compared to renters’ wages. The coalition was formed in 1974 and is “dedicated solely to achieving just public policy that ensure people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.” The report looks at rental costs by metropolitan areas and also by county.
“The 2019 Out of Reach report shows that in 99% of counties in the U.S. a full-time minimum-wage worker cannot afford a one-bedroom rental home at fair market rent,” shares Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO in a press release from the summer of 2019. “Our rental housing needs have worsened considerably over the past 30 years, leaving housing out of reach for millions of low-wage workers. But members of Congress are starting to take note: a number have introduced big, bold bills to address the nation’s affordable housing crisis. The topic of affordable housing is also becoming increasingly prevalent on the 2020 presidential campaign trails. We now have a tremendous opportunity to implement federal housing policy solutions to fund affordable housing programs at the scale necessary. We must use tools like Out of Reach to build the political will.”
How does Snohomish County compare to the rest of the state?
Statewide, the average cost to rent requires an hourly wage of $27.78 to afford a two bedroom dwelling at fair market rates. In Snohomish county, that wage minimum jumps to $36.62. That is more than double the state minimum wage and ten dollars an hour more than the minimum to rent on average statewide.
Study how your county stacks up against averages here: https://reports.nlihc.org/oor/washington