A couple of day ago I put this meme on my Facebook page, where it got a few likes and shares. The text:
The average rent in the U.S. at the end of 2018 was $1419/month.
For rent to be approximately one-quarter of income, as recommended, would require an income of $5676/month.
At 40 hours per week, that’s $35.47/hour.
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25/hour (for non-tipped employees; for tipped employees it’s $2.13/hour.)
Food for thought.
I want to push this a little more, even though I’m not great at math. Doesn’t this mean that to have the income to afford this average rental, 5-6 people working full time at minimum wage would have to share a 2 bedroom apartment? Now imagine how those folks would have to share space, and the limits it would put on their privacy, not to mention the challenges it would put on their security. I’ve shared quarters at various times in my life, but not this many in this small a space.
It’s said that if people live frugally and save, they will be able to make things work, pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. I rather doubt it’s possible to save when all of the money you make isn’t enough for the rent. (This is a leap, I admit, but even a casual glance at the math seems to make this impossible. If you can work this out better in detail than I, please give the world the benefit of your wisdom.)
By the way, these figures are just about rent, not utilities, food, transportation, and phone.
Many claim young people today aren’t leaving home because they’re entitled and too lazy to make a living on their own. This suggests they aren’t moving out because they can’t. Perhaps we shouldn’t rush to judgement on our young people, since they aren’t living in the same world we did 30-50 years ago. Perhaps we should worry about the young people who have no families to fall back on as well.
A principle of Catholic Canon Law is that no one is bound to the impossible. How many people are we trying to bind to the impossible today?