Two sanitation workers cleaning the 23rd street in Manhattan Flatiron District from garbage during the coronavirus outbreak.
Alex Potemkin/istockphoto

The Most and Least Affordable Cities for Minimum-Wage Earners

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Two sanitation workers cleaning the 23rd street in Manhattan Flatiron District from garbage during the coronavirus outbreak.
Alex Potemkin/istockphoto

Budget Busters

The federal minimum wage hasn't gone up since 2009, when it was set at $7.25. It's far from a livable wage, especially with rampant inflation, rising rent, and skyrocketing home prices. Even with some states and cities instituting their own higher minimum wages, it's difficult for minimum-wage earners to afford an apartment in most areas of the U.S. To determine which cities are the most affordable, a new report from Move.org compares the average one-bedroom rent and minimum wage in cities across America. In the most affordable city, it would take minimum-wage earners about 67 hours of work to afford their rent every month. In the least affordable, it takes a shocking 193 hours — or almost five 40-hour workweeks. 


RelatedBest and Worst Cities for Renting a Home

Downtown Stockton
MattGush/istockphoto
Cincinnati Ohio skyline with John Roebling bridge aerial view
pawel.gaul/istockphoto
Minneapolis Skyline Aerial With Park And Lake
Davel5957/istockphoto

Best | 8. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,095.50


Hourly minimum wage: $14.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 76.88


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Saint Louis Skyline
Art Wager/istockphoto

Best | 7. St. Louis, Missouri

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $842


Hourly minimum wage: $11.15


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 75.52

Saint Paul, Minnesota skyline with a river and park
Davel5957/istockphoto

Best | 6. St. Paul, Minnesota

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $918


Hourly minimum wage: $12.50


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 73.44

Tucson Arizona skyline cityscape framed by saguaro cactus and mountains
dszc/istockphoto

Best | 5. Tucson, Arizona

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $910.50


Hourly minimum wage: $12.80


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 71.13

Fresno, California
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

Best | 4. Fresno, California

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,041.50


Hourly minimum wage: $15


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 69.43

Aerial view of Detroit city with Woodward ave
pawel.gaul/istockphoto

Best | 3. Detroit, Michigan

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $678.50


Hourly minimum wage: $9.87


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 68.74

Late Afternoon Sun Hits the Architecture and Landscape in and around Bakersfield California
ChrisBoswell/istockphoto

Best | 2. Bakersfield, California

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,031


Hourly minimum wage: $15


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 68.73

Cleveland
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

Best | 1. Cleveland, Ohio

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $619.50


Hourly minimum wage: $9.30


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 66.61

Arlington Texas Sports Complex
Art Wager/istockphoto

Worst | 10. Arlington, Texas

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,073


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 148

Durham, North Carolina, USA downtown cityscape.
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

Worst | 9. Durham, North Carolina

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,093


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 150.76

Nashville, Tennessee
Kruck20/istockphoto

Worst | 8. Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,162.50


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 160.34

Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, USA Skyline Aerial
Kruck20/istockphoto

Worst | 7. Charlotte, North Carolina

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,174


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 161.93

Irvine, California
MattGush/istockphoto

Worst | 6. Irvine, California

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,452.50


Hourly minimum wage: $15


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 163.50

Raleigh North Carolina Skyline
Mark Howard/istockphoto

Worst | 5. Raleigh, North Carolina

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,229.50


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 169.59

Atlanta
Kruck20/istockphoto

Worst | 4. Atlanta, Georgia

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,293


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 178.34

Legacy West Plano, TX
Gary Fink/istockphoto

Worst | 3. Plano, Texas

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,321.50


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 182.28

Perfect Golden Hour Cityscape view high above Austin Texas Skyline
RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/istockphoto

Worst | 2. Austin, Texas

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,377.50


Hourly minimum wage: $7.25


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 190

Honolulu Hawaii from Above
Art Wager/istockphoto

Worst | 1. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,948


Hourly minimum wage: $10.10


Number of working hours per month at pre-tax minimum wage to afford rent: 192.87