CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago might be the most affordable major city in the U.S. for minimum wage workers, but even with city’s minimum wage now at $13 per hour, a new study shows low-wage earners still have a hard time paying rent.
A study by MagnifyMoney found Chicago’s median rent is $1,050 per month. It would take 69% of a minimum worker’s take-home pay to afford that, according to the study.
A minimum wage worker in Chicago would have to work 96 hours a month just to pay for rent, before adding in other expenses such as groceries, clothing, utilities, transportation, entertainment, or student loans.
The percentage of income a Chicago minimum wage worker would have to spend on rent is far higher than the rate anyone should pay for housing. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends spending no more than 50% of income on needs such as rent/mortgage, food, clothes, utilities, transportation, and child care; while setting aside the rest for savings, paying off debt, and “wants” or luxuries.
Chicago, however, was the most affordable of 34 U.S. cities for minimum wage workers, according to the MagnifyMoney study.
In fact, 16 cities have median rents that would eat up more than 100% of a minimum wage worker’s take-home pay.
The least affordable city for minimum wage workers was Austin, Texas, where the median rent is $1,220, and the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. A minimum wage worker there would have to work 200 hours a month just to pay for rent alone.
|Rank||City||Minimum Wage||Rent as Percentage of Take-Home Pay|
|20||Kansas City, Mo.||$8.60||92%|