“This housing wage is almost two and a half times the proposed increased minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. An affordable rental home is often not even attainable for a household with two full time wage earners.“
Said Monarch Housing Associates CEO Richard Brown.
To be considered affordable, no more than 30% of a household’s income should be spent on housing.
The data below tells a more detailed picture of New Jersey’s bleak affordable housing picture:
The average New Jersey worker earns $16.92/hour, which falls below the housing wage for a modest two-bedroom apartment. This worker would have to work 59 hours a week to afford a fair market apartment.
A worker in New Jersey earning the minimum wage of $8.38/hour would need to work 120 hours a week to afford a fair market two-bedroom apartment.
Hunterdon, Middlesex and Somerset Counties are the most expensive rental markets in New Jersey where a fair market two-bedroom apartment rents at an average of $1,495/month.
54% of the households living in Essex County are renters and in Hudson County, more than 2/3 of total households are renters.
These facts point to the need for the State of New Jersey to increase its investment in affordable homes. New Jersey needs more rental homes across the state.
Overall, more than a third of New Jerseyans rent their homes. However, these rental homes are concentrated in fourth northern counties – Hudson, Essex, Passaic and Union. In the remaining 17 counties, one third or less of the residents can afford rental homes.
Numerous occupations in New Jersey — social service workers, dental lab technicians, emergency dispatchers, preschool teachers, accounting clerks, child care workers, home health aides, school bus drivers, security guards, janitors, hairstylists, receptionists, cashiers and others — pay less than the housing wage.
“From 2010 to 2014, New Jersey lost 1,900 vouchers due to sequestration. This should cause great concern for advocates and policy makers working to increase funding for the federal Housing Choice Voucher program.”
In New Jersey, NLIHC releases this report jointly with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. The report provides the housing wage and other housing affordability data for every state, metropolitan area, combined non-metropolitan area, and county in the country.