U.S. wage gap puts rentals out of reach of single women - research

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Saturday, 18 February 2017 10:51 GMT

A view of the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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In only two of the largest U.S. cities the median income of single women can pay for an apartment

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Single women cannot afford to rent a small apartment in nearly all of the biggest U.S. cities but single men could manage to lease in a third of those locations, a reflection of the gender wage gap, research shows.

The Midwestern cities of Wichita, Kansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma are the only two of the 50 largest cities where the median income of single women can pay for a studio or one-bedroom apartment, according to research by RentCafe.com, an online apartment search company.

Across the United States, women working full time are paid 80 percent of what men are paid, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

In the 50 largest U.S. cities, a woman makes only 74 cents for every dollar earned by a man, a gender wage gap of 26 percent, according to RentCafe.com.

In those cities, single men make an average of $32,451 a year, while single women average $24,115, it said.

Globally, the gender wage gap is as small as 6 percent in New Zealand and as wide as 37 percent in South Korea among the 35 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The RentCafe.com research, published this month on its website, used the U.S. industry standard that housing costs should not comprise more than 30 percent of one's income.

Among the 50 cities, men can afford to rent a studio or one-bedroom apartment on their own in 18, the research found. Those cities include Phoenix, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Indianapolis, Omaha and Kansas City.

In 14 cities, the median income is not enough to rent a studio or one bedroom by single women or men, it said.

The least affordable spots for singles are Boston and the New York City borough of Manhattan. Eight of the 50 most expensive cities are in California.

The study used Census Bureau income data and analyzed the 50 largest cities excluding St. Louis, Missouri where it had incomplete information.

It used median market rent data from Yardi Matrix, which researches and reports on multifamily properties except those covered by affordable housing programs or government subsidies.

(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Astrid Zweynert; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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