Arkansas Ranked Top Five In Affordable Living For Minimum Wage Employees

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- According to a study conducted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Arkansas is the fourth most affordable place to live in the United States for people who make minimum wage.

The study showed someone making minimum wage would have to work 52 hours a week to afford an average rent for a one bedroom apartment.

Those 52 hours were a small amount compared to the 124 needed in states like Hawaii.

“We have known this for a very long time, that Arkansas is one of the more affordable states. We have seen in the statistics that this region, Springdale, Fayetteville and Rogers, is considered one of the most affordable metro areas,” said Mervin Jebaraj, economics professor at the University of Arkansas.

Jebaraj said the numbers are fairly accurate as of now.Housing Map

“The housing costs, for now, are pretty low,” Jebaraj said. “But, it won’t stay that way if we continue to grow. The blessing is its own curse. As people start to move into this area for better opportunities, you will see costs go up.”

“There is an affordability problem in every state,” said Andrew Aurand, spokesman for the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Aurand said a need for more space in Arkansas demands a significant increase in pay, over a minimum wage employee’s.

“Someone has to earn $13.26 per hr to be able to afford a two bedroom apartment,” Aurand said.

Aurand said the study should show one thing, especially to states where low income employees would have to work upwards of 80 hours per week just for a one bedroom apartment.

“There is quite a gap between what some workers earn, and what they need to earn in order to afford rental housing,” Aurand said.

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