A report from the National Low Income Housing Collation states that housing costs are “out of reach” millions of working people throughout the country. "The report highlights the mismatch between the wages people earn and the price of decent rental housing in every state, metropolitan area, and county in the U.S.," the NLIHC said in a statement.

The report says that in order to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment in Wyoming, a person would need to make at least $16.85 an hour, A.K.A the state's housing wage. In Cheyenne, a person would need to make $17.06 an hour.

The state's housing wage is found in this way:

In Wyoming, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $876. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $2,920 monthly or $35,041 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $16.85.

The current minimum wage in Wyoming is $5.15 per hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. In Wyoming, the state legislature sets the state's minimum wage. To answer the next question we turn to the folks at Cornell law school for this bit of clarification.

[S]tates which explicitly set out a minimum wage which is lower than the federal government's....this lowered minimum wage will only apply to certain jobs within the state, while the remaining majority of jobs would match the federal minimum wage...When an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.

The average Fair Market Rent in Wyoming was $876. Someone earning minimum wage in Wyoming would need to work over 90 hours a week to afford that and not have to spend more than 30% of their income on housing. That's two full-time jobs, at least.

NLIHC

The numbers for Wyoming pale in comparison to the states with the highest housing wage for a modest two-bedroom rental.

  • California is first with a two-bedroom Housing Wage of $39.03
  • Hawaii is second with a two-bedroom Housing Wage of $37.69
  • Colorado has a two-bedroom Housing Wage of $27.50

For our neighbor to the south, Colorado, the housing wage for a modest two-bedroom rental is $27.50. The minimum wage in Colorado is $12.32.

You can see the full 2021 report here.

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