Also: Mapping LGBTQ outdoors groups, and luxury gyms want to be your hangout space and office.

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What We’re Following

Placed wager: If you were working a minimum-wage job in the United States and needed to rent a two-bedroom apartment, where would you go? As it turns out, that place is nowhere to be found: There’s not a single state, metro area, or county where 40 hours of work at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour pulls in enough money to cover rent without exceeding 30 percent of income. In only 28 counties is it possible to rent a one-bedroom affordably. As the map below shows, paying the fair market rent for a two-bedroom could require working up to three full-time jobs in some places.

Those are the latest statistics from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report, which finds that the housing affordability crisis plunged to new depths in 2019. While many states and cities have higher minimum wages, none are enough to meet the housing wage without taking on a second job. This challenge isn’t restricted to the nation’s poorest: The money needed to rent a two-bedroom exceeds the average renter’s wages everywhere. CityLab’s Sarah Holder has the story: Minimum Wage Still Can’t Pay for a Two-Bedroom Apartment Anywhere

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Brace for the Car Ban Backlash

With more conservative leadership moving in after elections, Madrid’s pollution-fighting regulations on private vehicles may be in danger.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Luxury Gyms Invite You to Work Out, Hang Out, Or Just Work

With their invite-only policies and coworking spaces, high-end urban gyms aspire to be fitness studio, social club, and office rolled into one.

Sam Eichner

The Essential Map for LGBTQ Outdoor Enthusiasts

For Pride Month, two organizations are making it easier to find LGBTQ outdoor recreation groups across the U.S.

Linda Poon

How to Block Multi-Family Housing, Boston-Style

Despite the area’s progressive politics, NIMBY-minded residents in and around Boston are skilled in keeping new housing at bay.

Anthony Flint

Gun Violence and Public Buildings: How to Balance Safety and Openness

“I want people to be able to walk into my office,” said one city manager. “But I also need to make sure we’re not putting ourselves at undue risk.”

Laura Bliss



What We’re Reading

With more storms and rising seas, which cities should be saved first? (New York Times)

What it’s like to be on House Hunters—twice (Slate)

72 Philadelphia police officers just got put on desk duty over offensive social media posts (NPR)

Barbershops can be fraught for people who aren’t straight cis men. These women want to change that. (DCist)

New York expanded rent control. Will others follow suit? (Next City)


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