These States Have The Cheapest Rent In The Country
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These States Have The Cheapest Rent In The Country

Rachel Bell
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Last week, we examined which states statistically have the most expensive rents in the country. Some of the top ten may surprise you.

The data we reviewed tells an expected but disappointing tale - rental housing is challenging to secure for low-income families. While there are government assistance programs that exist, many of them have waiting lists, and it can take up to two years for a person to receive benefits.

A lot of you sent us messages on Instagram curious about which states are the cheapest for renters. Keeping in mind that there are only twelve counties out of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States where a person earning minimum wage can comfortably afford a standard two-bedroom apartment, take a look at the list below. The affordability of rents in each state is determined by the housing wage, a number based on the relationship between an areas Fair Market Rent and the local minimum wage.

The Cheapest States For Renters

1. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is actually a territory of the United States, not a state. However, it’s the cheapest area for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Puerto Rico, a person earning minimum wage would need to work fifty-three hours a week. That means that there is not a single state in the country where a person working minimum wage can afford the standard two-bedroom rental home while working the normal full time hours of 40 hours a week.

2. Arkansas

Arkansas is the second cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Arkansas, a person earning minimum wage would need to work sixty-five hours a week. We’ve written on this blog before about all the reasons Arkansas is the least tenant-friendly state in the country. We’ve made several memes about it, too. If you’re willing to sacrifice your right to receiving advance notice from your landlord before they enter your apartment in exchange for cheap rent, look no further than Arkansas.

3. Kentucky

Kentucky is the third cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Kentucky, a person earning minimum wage would need to work seventy-seven hours a week. Like most southern states, the minimum wage is low at $7.25 an hour.

4. South Dakota

South Dakota is the fourth cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in South Dakota, a person earning minimum wage would need to work sixty-five hours a week. The state’s minimum wage is slightly higher than surrounding areas at $8.65 an hour, making housing a little less out of reach for minimum wage workers.

5. West Virginia

West Virginia is the fifth cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in West Virginia, a person earning minimum wage would need to work sixty-six hours a week. The state’s minimum wage is slightly higher than surrounding areas at $8.75 an hour, making housing a little less out of reach for minimum wage workers.

6. Iowa

Iowa is the sixth cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Iowa, a person earning minimum wage would need to work eighty hours a week. Let that sink in: There are forty-four states in the country where rental housing is more expensive than it is in Iowa, and a person earning minimum wage in Iowa need to work two full-time jobs to afford a decent two-bedroom place.

7. Idaho

Idaho is the seventh cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Idaho, a person earning minimum wage would need to work eighty-one hours a week. The state’s minimum wage is one of the lowest in the country, at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, making housing especially hard to secure for low-wage workers.

8. Oklahoma

Oklahoma is the eighth cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Oklahoma, a person earning minimum wage would need to work eighty-two hours a week. The state’s minimum wage is one of the lowest in the country, at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, making housing especially hard to secure for low-wage workers.

9. Alabama

Alabama is the ninth cheapest area for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Alabama, a person earning minimum wage would need to work eighty-two hours a week. Like many southern states, the minimum wage is one of the lowest in the country, at the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour, making housing especially hard to secure for low-wage workers.

10. Mississippi

Mississippi is the tenth cheapest state for renting housing in the country. To afford a standard two-bedroom rental in Mississippi, a person working minimum wage would need to work eighty-two hours a week. Again, Mississippi has no state minimum wage and instead abides by the federal amount, a measly $7.25 an hour.

To catch up on which states have the most expensive rents in the country, read our last post.

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