Low-wage workers are affected by the regional difference in the housing affordability across the state. By acknowledging these regional differences, we can understand the spatial impact of being a low-wage worker across North Carolina. In this case, an affordable wage was determined as paying a 30% of one’s income in fair market rent for a two-bedroom residence, as identified by HUD for 2015.
Where is housing affordable for low-wage workers?
In examining the spatial trends of housing affordability, the map identifies how, with a low wage job (making $11.34/hour), many North Carolinians are unable to afford a 2-bedroom residence. In fact, in Currituck County, residents need to make above the highest wage bracket (above $3,333 per month, or greater than $19.23) to afford fair market rents. As a result, we are seeing how urban counties – specifically around Wake-Durham-Orange Counties, Buncombe County, Mecklenburg County, and New Hanover – residents are unlikely to afford fair market rents. Rather, in Mecklenburg County for example, if a person makes $11.34 per hour, they would need to work an additional 17 hours per week to rent a two-bedroom home. The interactive map below shows the hourly wage necessary to rent a two-bedroom home, according to average market rents for the different counties in North Carolina.