Debt Problems, Low Wages Make It Hard for Families to Rent Affordable Homes

Although the economic recession is over, many people still struggle to cover their living expenses because they simply are not earning enough money and are buried underneath a mountain of debt.

According to a report issued by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a person who works 40 hours per week and earns the minimum wage (whether it’s the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage) is not able to comfortably afford the rent on a two-bedroom apartment. Moreover, this holds true regardless of where in the U.S. a minimum wage earner resides.

The NLIHC is a respected organization that is dedicated to helping shape public policy by lobbying on behalf of low-income individuals and families who need affordable housing.

The High Cost of Renting a Home in New Jersey

The NLIHC used a fairly standard calculation of rent and utilities costing no more than 30 percent of a person’s total income. In fact, this comes from a federal guideline on calculating reasonable housing costs.

The average monthly cost on a standard two-bedroom apartment in New Jersey is $1,379, which makes the Garden State fairly expensive compared to other states. The most expensive counties in which to rent in NJ include Bergen County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County and Somerset County.

When the NLIHC study focused on New Jersey, researchers found that NJ families need to be earning $4,596 each month, or $55,152 each year, to afford an average two-bedroom apartment. Assuming a 40-hour work week, these figures translate to wages of $26.52 per hour.

Unfortunately for many workers, the minimum wage in NJ is just $8.38, not even one-third of the amount actually needed to cover the cost of an apartment. To put this in perspective, a person earning minimum wage would need to somehow find a way to work 127 hours per week if they hope to afford a reasonably priced apartment in New Jersey.

Even two-income families aren’t in a good position to cover the expenses associated with an apartment rental in New Jersey: the NLIHC study indicated that a household of minimum wage earners would require 3.2 full-time jobs to be able to afford a two-bedroom unit.

For additional information, check out the NLIHC study, “Out of Reach: No Refuse for Low Income Renters.”


If you or a loved one is dealing with debt problems and needs some assistance, you should talk to a qualified bankruptcy and debt management attorney immediately. Joel R. Spivack, Esq., is an experienced and knowledgeable real estate and debt relief lawyer who can assist you. Contact Mr. Spivack today to schedule a free consultation.

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Attorney Joel R. Spivack is an experienced bankruptcy and residential real estate transactions lawyer in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Clients come to us for legal services, but what we really provide is peace of mind. For more than 30 years, Attorney Spivack has helped people make wise, informed decisions about bankruptcy filings, debt relief options and residential real estate transactions.
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