Congress hasn’t raised the minimum wage since 2007. Maybe it’s time. A new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds that there isn’t a single state in the union where it’s possible to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the prevailing market rent, while working a standard 40-hour week.
The closest you can come is in Arkansas and West Virginia, where you’d have to work a 63-hour week, meaning over 10 hours a day from Monday through Saturday. In California, Maryland, D.C., New Jersey and New York, you’d have to work 130 hours or more, which is basically impossible if you want to sleep.
“Afford” here means paying no more than 30 percent of your income, which is what’s usually seen as the right percentage for people to spend on housing. Of course, not everyone needs a two-bedroom apartment—but plenty of single parents do.
Some congressional Democrats have said they’d like to see a raise in the federal minimum wage. Earlier this year, Mitt Romney suggested he might be open to a raise in the minimum wage, but he reversed course after an outcry from conservatives.