11th Highest Housing Wage

The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently released its 2015 Out of Reach Report. This annual report provides comprehensive data on what has become known as the Housing Wage for each state (and county) in the country.

The report finds that nationally the housing wage, or the hourly wage a person working 40 hours per week would need to earn in order to afford a two-bedroom rental unit, is $19.35.  At 2.7 times the federal minimum wage, this means that a minimum wage earner would need to work 107 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. In fact, there is no state where someone earning the minimum wage can afford housing while working 40 hours per week or less.

Below is the breakdown for Virginia’s housing wage, and for Northern Virginia. The minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25/hr. Costs and work hours needed are calculated for a 2-bedroom rental unit. Virginia has the 11th highest housing wage in the country.

Out of Reach


Northern Virginia

Average Rent $1,097 $1,458
Housing Wage $21.10 $28.04
Hrs Per Week for Min Wage Worker 116 155
Income needed for Average Rent $43,878 $58,320