Minnesota Housing Partnership   www.mhponline.org

Leigh Rosenberg
Research & Outreach Manager
(651) 925-5543 or

MN Apartments Least Affordable in Midwest to Minimum Wage Earners

Two-bedroom requires 91 hours per week, or $16.46/hour, Finds County-by-County Report


St. Paul, MN (March 24, 2014)  - According to a report released today, a minimum wage earner in Minnesota would have to work 91 hours per week – or hold 2.3 full time jobs -- to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. For the fourth year running, Minnesota has ranked the worst in the Midwest for affordability for minimum wage workers.midwest out of reach map

The Minnesota Out of Reach 2014 report provides rental affordability data for every state, metro area, and county in the US.

In order to afford the rent and utilities for a safe, modest 2-bedroom apartment in the private housing market, a Minnesota worker must earn $16.46 per hour, 40 hours a week, all year long, the report finds.  By contrast, the typical renter household in Minnesota earns the equivalent of $14.49 per hour. Minimum wage workers earn only $7.25 per hour.

Out of Reach for Minnesota was released jointly by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a Washington, D.C.-based housing policy organization, and the Minnesota Housing Partnership.

If $9.50 per hour minimum wage legislation is passed in Minnesota, the number of hours a minimum wage worker would need to work to afford rent for a two-bedroom apartment would fall from 91 to 69 per week.

An estimated 54% of renter households in Minnesota currently do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the “fair market rent” where they live, finds the report.

When families working multiple jobs and seniors on fixed incomes can't afford the rent, poorer health and lower school achievement are the costs we all end up paying, " Chip Halbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Housing Partnership, stated. "Housing is the foundation for strong communities."

Because affordable rental housing is out of reach for so many people in Minnesota, the Homes for All alliance is seeking $100 million in bonding for housing at the state legislature. Homes for All is made up of over 100 organizations advancing shared policy initiatives that lead to housing stability for all Minnesotans.

Liz Kuoppala, Homes for All co-chair and the executive director of the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, added, “Bonding for housing is one of the most powerful tools we have to address homelessness and unaffordable housing. With shovel-ready developments ready across the state, now is the time to invest in housing.

More Minnesota Out of Reach Facts:

  • Twin Cities metro rents are the most expensive.  A modest two-bedroom apartment requires a full time worker to earn $18.19 per hour year-round -- the most expensive in the state.
  • The counties least affordable to renters, given the incomes they earn, are distributed throughout Minnesota (see map below). The counties with the highest estimated percent of renters unable to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent are Wadena (68% unable to afford), Todd (66%), and Mower, Mahnomen, Winona, and Itasca Counties (64%). In the 7-County Metro, the county least affordable to the renters living there is Ramsey (59%).

mhp out of reach map MN

See full Minnesota report, plus MN maps, metro and county-level data for Out of Reach 2014 at http://mhponline.org/publications/reports-and-research/out-of-reach.

See national data, analysis, and maps from NLIHC at http://www.nlihc.org/oor/2014/ 

Twitter #OOR2014

Contact Leigh Rosenberg at the Minnesota Housing Partnership at lrosenberg@mhponline.org or 651-925-5543 for assistance in accessing or analyzing Out of Reach data for any county or metro area of Minnesota.

# # #

Subscribe to MHP publications to stay informed about Minnesota housing resources and news. Contact MHP to be added to the media list.