To afford an average two-bedroom apartment in Michigan, you would need to make $15.16 an hour, according to a recent study done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The hourly housing wage was derived under a few assumptions, the most significant being that the cost of rent and utilities shouldn't exceed 30% of a person's total income.
That's the cutoff point after which U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers a family to be cost-burdened by housing -- possibly struggling to pay for other expenses like food.
That's also assuming the rent is being collected at a full-time job, 40 hours a week, and that the renter is paying "Fair Market Rent" (again based off of HUD numbers), which in Michigan is $788 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.
The study calculated hourly housing wages by county. According to the authors, the most expensive place to rent in Michigan is in Washtenaw County, where NLIHC calculated a housing wage of $18.54.
Clearly, housing is just one metric by which to measure the cost of living, but other studies have come to similar conclusions about wages.
Researchers out of MIT have calculated a metric that combines housing, food, child care, medical, transportation, and tax expenses into one "living wage."
This is broken down into different types of households (i.e. one adult; one adult, one child; two adults). According to this living wage metric, to support a household of two adults (who might live in a two bedroom place) one of those adults needs to be making $16.35 an hour. One adult supporting one child, however, needs to make at least $21.31 an hour.
- Paula Friedrich, Michigan Radio Newsroom