Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Discover all the ways you can make a difference.
Support Icon
The Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams are here to help.

Study Finds L.A. Residents Must Work More Than 40 Hours A Week To Pay Rent

Support Provided By

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles metropolitan area residents need to work 60.9 hours per week to pay the rent on a one-bedroom household in the city, according to a report released today that identified the toughest cities for residents to make rent across the country.

Analyzing the median cost of rent as well as the median hourly wage in major cities, researchers at Self Financial determined that Los Angeles residents need to work the third most hours per week to afford rent, compared to other large metro areas nationwide.

Self Financial, a Texas-based financial technology company, found that residents in Los Angeles today must work 60.9 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom and 78.6 hours per week for a two-bedroom dwelling.

Fair market rent in the Los Angeles area -- including Long Beach and portions of Orange County, including Anaheim -- is $1,517 for a one-bedroom residence, or $1,956 for a two-bedroom, according to the report, with a year- over-year increase of roughly 9%. Meanwhile, median hourly wages are $20.52, and median annual wages are $42,680.

"Housing affordability has been a persistent issue in several parts of the country due to the rise in rental costs outpacing wage growth. This is especially true in some of the largest U.S. cities, many of which are bearing the brunt of COVID-19," Self Financial's experts said. "At the national level, rent increases have only slightly exceeded wage growth over the past decade."

According to the report, which culled data from Zillow and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2019, the median monthly rent nationwide increased by 20.5%, while the median hourly wage only rose by 17.6%. New data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported fair market rents to be approximately $980 for a one-bedroom and $1,200 for a two-bedroom rental in 2020; meanwhile, the most recent median hourly wage estimate was $19.14 nationwide.

Chart showing that California and New York are the most unaffordable states in the country for renters. | Self.Inc
Chart showing that California and New York are the most unaffordable states in the country for renters. | Self.Inc

A common rule of thumb is that renters should spend no more than 28% of their income on housing, Self Financial's experts said. Using that rule, a person in the U.S. earning the median wage would have to work 42.2 hours per week in order to afford a one-bedroom rental, or 51.8 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom rental.

In certain states and cities, especially those along coastlines, the larger gap between wages and rents has led to greater housing affordability issues, according to the report. In Hawaii, California, New York, and Massachusetts, someone earning the median hourly wage would need to work between 50 and 60 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom rental without being considered cost-burdened.

By contrast, states in the Midwest and the South have the most affordable housing. Based on median wages and housing costs, workers in states like Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky can afford a one-bedroom rental working fewer than 30 hours per week

For complete results for all metro areas included in the study, visit

Support Provided By
Read More
Nurse Yvonne Yaory checks on a coronavirus patient who is connected to a ventilator. | Heidi de Marco/California Healthline

No More ICU Beds at the Main Public Hospital in the Nation’s Largest County as COVID Surges

As COVID patients have flooded into LAC+USC in recent weeks, they’ve put an immense strain on its ICU capacity and staff — especially since non-COVID patients, with gunshot wounds, drug overdoses, heart attacks and strokes, also need intensive care.
Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Your No-Panic Guide to the COVID-19 Vaccine: Is It Safe, and When Can I Get It?

Here's what we know about the COVID-19 vaccines and how they are being distributed in L.A. County.
Nurse Michael Lowman gets the first dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from nurse practitioner Christie Aiello at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA, on Dec. 16, 2020. | Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty

Orange County Gets First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

A Providence St. Joseph Hospital nurse was the first person in Orange County today to be vaccinated for COVID-19, shortly followed by other health care workers.