Minimum Wage Workers in Washington Must Work 93 Hours a Week to Afford a Two-Bedroom Apartment



According to the NY Times, 81 percent of Seattle is zoned Single Family Housing only.

Fix that.

Restore the 1933 6 story Multi Family Housing zoning that existed citywide.

We need to build 1000 units each week.

Not each month. Not each year.

Each week.

P.S.: Wait until the climate change hits and population here skyrockets.


Even more if they want a view of the Space needle, water and mountains.


Raise the minimum wage to $30 an hour and then see what happens rent prices.


Minimum wage workers shouldn’t be renting 2br apartments. They should be renting studios. It’s not rocket science.


People who still think minimum wage jobs are held by teenagers must never set foot inside any establishment that employs people at minimum wage. Or they are merely oblivious to the people who take their orders.


I'll need to work 120 hours per week to afford to live alone in a place in Broadmoor, and 97 hours a week to afford to live alone in a place in Mercer Island. Sooo.....I don't live in Broadmoor or Mercer Island. Having said that, Wife and I had housemates for our first six years of marriage. It worked out great, and allowed us to purchase a house.


Leftists can't seem to grasp the concept of 'minimum' wage.

It is what you make bagging groceries or flipping burgers when you are 16
or working your way thru college (and sharing living expenses with someone).

It isn't what you try to raise a kid on.

If you have a kid (or two or three) and only have skills that will earn you minimum wage you have seriously fucked up (and seriously screwed over your kid(s))

Don't have kids until you have some job (and life) skills and a spouse.

Otherwise, expect to be poor, always whining for free stuff, always bitching about how unfair life is and always voting Democrap.


heard of a place called Lynwood and a bus pass? Burien? Renton?


Why doesn't this paper actually help its readers with practical advice on finding and dealing with roommates instead of constant screeds like this one?


Im happy to read comments that think as all do. Why is it all about living alone? My daughter has 4 housemates. Let's see more support for shared living


12 How is it that a poor, shit-hole country with endemic government corruption could be more humane to its citizens? Greed cures everything!


Is anyone going to point out that Lewiston is in Idaho, not Washington?


@1 Upzoning is NO solution. Manhattanizing Seattle won't make it any more affordable to live here. How many of the people in the income strata discussed in this article can afford to live in ultra high-density Manhattan (or even San Francisco)? Yeah, it's very close to ZERO. Besides the issue is a universal now in the US and the state of Washington, NOT just a Seattle problem.

There's NO shortage of housing in the US. There's a shortage of living wages being paid to workers that would allow them to pay for housing, whether rental or purchased.

You must be a real estate developer or property manager or greedy owner of one or two parcels hoping to sell your properties for hugely inflated sums to developers or didn't read the article, or are just too dense to get it.


@1 Ok, I just waved my magic wand, and the entire city is now zoned for dense housing.

Now all we need to do is sit back, wait for existing SFH properties to turn over, and hope that developers will be inclined to redevelop those lots into low-income multi-family housing. It could be a long wait . . .



From the linked report (

11.6% of Baby Boomer households (ages 51 to 69) are rent burdened, and 16.8% of Gen X (35 to 50).

And the millenials aren't teenagers anymore, either. Do you expect 32-year-olds to be divvying up the rent and throwing weekend keg parties to help with the utilities?

How old do you reckon working Americans have to be before you'll be willing to consider them deserving of their very own private apartments?


Wait, a person on a minimum-wage budget who wants a two-bedroom apartment has a hard time getting by in a city whose local economy has adapted to a constant influx of highly-paid tech workers?

The last time I lived in Seattle I had two roommates and barely scraped by, and that was back in 2014.


12 You know that is because they all still live with their parents right? It's considered normal there and most other places.


So rent a room, share a house. And stop passing unconstitutional laws like letting people who fail to pay their rent to avoid eviction and preventing landlords from doing criminal background checks. The vilification of landlords and laws we have passed have reduced mom & pop ownership, consolidated rentals into the hands of a few absentee out-of-state REITs and the Washington Condo Act meant to protect buyers killed financing for condo projects in Washington due to the risk of allowing lawsuits into eternity.
There is a reason housing isn't affordable, it's because we passed stupid laws.


22 - Back to the 3rd world for America! You & I have had enough of this 'modern civilization' stuff!


how come everyone is still acting like Seattle was supposedly affordable for everyone at some recent point in the past? Even ten years ago, it was live like you still aren't an adult and have roommates, or rent a ridiculously crappy apartment - or live outside of the city and enjoy a slightly more decent standard of living.

Now we're baying because you can't work at the Holman Road QFC and live 2 blocks away, much less work for dirt downtown at blahblah and live downtown? When is the last time that was true for anyone? 1980?



Come now, there won't be any need for the poor to live like medieval peasants after we've restored real-estate law to its natural deglobalized feudal state.

All we need to do is lock the low-wage workers into their modern, sanitary dormitories at 9pm and let them out again at 5am, and this whole silly problem goes away.


I remember being unable to afford a dwelling with more than one bedroom when I was working just-above minimum wage jobs in the 90's. It was standard at that time to...get a housemate to share the expenses. Two of us could afford to rent a two-bedroom house. After a few years we moved to a three-bedroom house...with a third housemate.

I don't remember anyone expecting to be able to rent a two-bedroom place on our starter wages.



No, dipshit. You're the only one constantly suggesting that $15/hour was supposed to be a cure-all. And that speaks to the fundamental difference between you & us. We "leftists" (shout out @8!) inherently recognize that there are no panacea type solutions to our various problems. Instead the solutions, just like the causes, are sure to be multi-faceted, time consuming, labor intensive and require sacrifice and effort on the part of everyone involved. Rightists are just selfish ignorant, selfish dicks, incapable of grasping simple concepts such as nuance.


Has minimum wage ever been enough to afford a 2-bedroom place in Seattle? I certainly don't remember a time when that was possible.


Despite the headline on this article that's meant to inflame potential readers and draw eyeballs, it's NOT just minimum wage workers who are struggling with housing affordability in the US

The problem isn't housing costs, it's one of real incomes not keeping up with inflation since the 1970s (today's salaries and wages seem high, but those dollars earned can't buy a fraction of the goods and services they could in, say, 1979.

Then there's the issue of entire industries being eliminated or displaced over the past 30+ years, first by shipping them overseas and now by replacing many of the higher-paying jobs in them with technology.

When we talk about unaffordable housing and homelessness, we always avoid the real issue -- those at the top of corporate American have been intentionally pushing down those below them in order to consolidate and accelerate their own wealth.

You don't think that's true? Want an example? Look at Boeing's problems. It oversold an unsafe plane (that it knew was unsafe) to boost profits, boost the share price, increase the value of the senior executives' Boeing stock portfolios, increase executive compensation, and increase executive perks and bennies. So what if people got killed in the process. Who will pay for this? Most likely it will be workers on the line at Boeing who will lose their jobs.



Ah, so the children of the idle rich inherit the right to private housing?

There are terms for political systems like that, but until recently we've been rather reluctant to claim them as "American."


Work hard, invest in yourself, work your way up incrementally, and most importantly if you want to succeed SHUT THE F*CK UP WITH YOUR INCESSANT COMPLAINING.

Nobody, not even yourself owes you a fucking thing in life.


"Rightists are just selfish ignorant, selfish dicks"

No shit.

Now, pay my rent for me dicks.


Ah, classic conservatives...

"Life is tough and shitty and hard as hell and no one owes you a fucking thing snowflake! So suck it up and struggle because you're gonna be broke and forced to endure hardship after hardship! That's what life is--Pain and misery! And you'd better not ask for handouts because you haven't earned them with enough blood, sweat, and tears! I know this because I'm BETTER than you, and I'll remind you of how pathetic you are every chance I get! Your life ain't worth shit!"

"Oh and another thing... we're outlawing abortions because life is precious."



In 1961, minimum wage in Washington State was $1.15/hr, and median rent in the state was $71/mo. That would put rent at about 35% of income, or less if your typical minimum-wage worker was shopping in the lower-priced end of the market.

In 1950, minimum wage was $0.75/hr (federal, WA didn't have a separate minimum until '61) and median rent in WA was $43/mo; rent was ~33% of income for a minimum-wage earner.




Rights that some people inherit, and other people don't, though... that's a caste system. There's nothing less American than that.

I realize that you already regard the American working poor as untouchables, and you don't have a problem with it, either, so let's call it what it is, no?



You know who spends a lot of their time incessantly complaining? Rich people and less-rich conservatives when confronted with having to pay other human beings a living wage to provide them with goods and services they seem to believe should be handed to them for the absolutely smallest amount of cash they can get away with forking over.



And that "certain amount" is whatever it is today or less, correct?

You have no interest in returning to levels of American social mobility before ~1980, and definitely not to levels circa 1950. You favor greater and clearer class separation, and you'd prefer to continue to restrict mobility rather than reverse course.

Your examples of mobility are drawn from the upper two quintiles, and I have to conclude that is exactly where you want to keep it-- well above the ranks of the poor, safely out of their reach.

Go ahead and call that American if you like, but don't expect the rest of us to do the same.


It’s odd that this article cited Lewiston, which is in Idaho. Perhaps you meant Clarkston? More crack reporting from the Slog team.


@37, And during the Boeing Bust that wage/rent ratio was probably even better, if you could find a job. There were vacancies everywhere. I remember Tudor brick homes on the west side of Queen Anne with incredible Sound views abandoned and foreclosed because the owners walked away. Off to greener pastures where there were jobs.

Now it's the opposite and no one saw it coming. No one can build enough housing for a thousand people moving here every week. Most of them are young with six figure jobs. Any city in the World that goes through super/hyper growth like Seattle will find the first one to pack up and leave is affordability, off to greener pastures.


Sorry, but having a 2br apartment in one of the most expensive cities in the world is not what I would consider a fundamental human right.


What all ya boot strappy muppets are avoiding is that it isn't just the burger flippers you love to sneer at that can't afford a two bedroom apartment working 40 hours a week. It's people in professional jobs in their 30s and 40s making $20-$25 an hour who can't either. It's one thing to live in a house full of room mates when you're in your 20s, it's another when AARP is starting to send you stuff in the mail.


No one is sneering at burger flippers but it's common sense that it's not the best lifetime career choice. Don't have a High School diploma? Boeing will hire you as a mechanic. You will get the most inexpensive Cadillac health insurance for you and your family there is. In 6 years you will be making $40 an hour and have more overtime you can handle. I know many overtime lovers up in Everett who make 6 figures every year. If your young enough and save as much as you can in their 401K you can retire in your 50's. That's just one better career chioce.


I never in my life could afford a 2-bedroom place on my own. NEVER. And I haven't worked for minimum wage since I was in my teens. I finally was able to buy a 1-bedroom fixer-upper condo in the furthest suburb I could and still remain in Seattle. A 2-bedroom apartment is perfect for two people who share the rent. Why does anyone expect a minimum wage earner to feel entitled to a 2-bedroom apartment. People are dumb.


@46 - I agree. There is a pervasive misperception (mostly among the more selfish commenting here) that all the low paying jobs in the region are held by undereducated, unskilled, lazy, good-for-little else workers who should't expect nor deserve decent housing.

If you knew how little the nursing assistant (it once would have been an RN but hospitals and clinics don't want to pay RN salaries anymore) who's holding your health in his/her hands was being paid you'd be forced to choke down your ignorant words sans ketchup or mustard.

Yes, despite the high cost of health care, many health care workers (often your fist point of contact and those you interact with most about health issues) are low earners by Seattle tech salary standards, despite the fact their jobs require education, training, certification, and sometimes even licensing as well.

We won't go into the lower salaries earned by others who provide vital services that many expect to be available and rely on.

The ignorance displayed on topics like this is mind boggling, I don't care what these posters' salaries might be. They're clearly not being paid for having any knowledge of how the world really works.


As a low income veteran on disability I'm fearful of no longer being able to afford my studio, and I don't even reside in King County. Lewiston, Rich? I think you mean Clarkston in Asotin County, right?....
@15 ctmull: Thank you for beating me to it in this thread.
@34 Urgutha Forka: Thank you for the reminder as to why I avoid conservatives, FOX-TV and Twitter---too many MAGA idiots are void of the ability to reason, fail to see the big picture, and think only of how many billions they can hide from the IRS.
@39 COMTE and @46 Lissa for the WIN! A golden carrot to you both and Lissa's carnivorous lop. Bravo, well said, and I second it.
@47: Not everyone can be a Boeing engineer. Nor do we all share the same professional skills and interests.


Let's face it folks, common sense died the day Trumpty Dumpty and its co-conspirators illegally seized control of the White House.


"Being rent burdened also gets worse with age. A report from Abodo published in 2017 found that 41% of the local rent burdened population are Millennials, 41.4% are Gen-Xers, and 49.3% are Baby Boomers."
Fun with statistics: 41%+ 41.4%+49%=181.4% of the local rent-burdened population... Please revisit this, use 100% as your base and publish a correction. What you mean is half of Baby Boomers are rent burdened. Since the oldest are 70, and the average Social Security check is $1,413/month, and pensions are few, so this will get much worse.


"Being rent burdened also gets worse with age. A report from Abodo published in 2017 found that 41% of the local rent burdened population are Millennials, 41.4% are Gen-Xers, and 49.3% are Baby Boomers."
Fun with statistics: 41%+ 41.4%+49%=181.4% of the local rent-burdened population... Please revisit this, use 100% as your base and publish a correction. What you mean is half of Baby Boomers are rent burdened. Since the oldest are 70, and the average Social Security check is $1,413/month, and pensions are few, so this will get much worse.


Every full time minimum wage worker makes $31,000 per year. So two roommates can easily afford that two bedroom apartment. The headline should be "Minimum Wage Makes 2 bedroom Seattle Apartments Affordable".