AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new report reveals just how unaffordable several of Texas’ largest cities have become for those making minimum wage.
Property website Zillow looked at typical rental prices in the 50 largest cities nationwide and compared those to the minimum wage in each city.
In Austin, for example, rent for a typical two-bedroom apartment is about $1,764 a month. It would take 5.1 full-time minimum wage incomes to be able to afford the rent. That is higher than any other city surveyed.
Last year, the city increased the minimum wage to $20 an hour for its own employees, but that doesn’t extend to non-governmental workers. Texas uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
When it comes to one-bedroom apartments, Austin is the second-most unaffordable city in the nation for minimum wage workers, behind Atlanta. With a typical rent of $1,399 a month, you’d need four minimum wage incomes in Austin, compared to 4.3 in Atlanta.
Where other Texas cities stand
Other major cities in Texas are also unaffordable for those on minimum wage. At least three people working full-time would be needed to afford a typical one-bedroom apartment in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
“This is perhaps the only context in which San Francisco is more affordable than San Antonio,” said Nicole Bachaud, a senior economist with Zillow. “Renters have been squeezed by record-fast rent growth while incomes haven’t kept up. That’s true for those making minimum wage, but especially so where the minimum wage hasn’t budged for more than a decade.”
San Francisco does have the highest rent of the 50 cities surveyed, with a typical one-bedroom apartment setting renters back $2,352 each month. The high minimum wage there, $16.99 an hour, does help offset that cost, meaning renters would need 2.9 full-time incomes to afford an apartment, compared to 3.1 incomes in San Antonio.
Of the cities surveyed, Seattle had the highest minimum wage, at $18.69 an hour. As such, it would only take two people working full-time to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment in that city.