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June 12, 2017

It’s no secret that New Jersey is a pricey place to live — whether you own a house or rent an apartment. In fact, it’s the sixth most-expensive state in the United States for renters; only Hawaii, California, New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts are more costly. (Washington, D.C., which is counted separately, also is more expensive.)

What does the Garden State’s No. 6 ranking mean? Consider this: the hourly housing wage — the amount a resident would have to earn to pay for two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent — is $27.31. And there are a lot of folks who don’t earn that sort of pay, including social-service workers, dental lab technicians, emergency dispatchers, preschool teachers, accounting clerks, childcare workers, home health aides, school bus drivers, security guards, janitors, hairstylists, receptionists, cashiers, and others — according to a new national report, “Out of Reach,” from the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The average wage for a New Jersey renter is $17.86 an hour. At that salary it would take them 60 hours a week to afford that modest two-bedroom. At minimum wage — $8.44 an hour — a New Jersey resident would have to work 129 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom at FMR.

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