New Study Shows How the Wage Gap Affects Renting (and Buying) A Home

New Study Shows How the Wage Gap Affects Renting (and Buying) A Home

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Brittney Morgan
Jun 15, 2017

You already know that the wage gap is alive and well (but if you don't or you want to learn more about it, head on over to the National Women's Law Center for a detailed breakdown of what it's like and how it affects women—and women of color, in particular), but have you thought specifically about how it affects housing issues? Real estate resource RENTCafé decided to find out in a recent study—and the results are, unfortunately, unsurprising. In short: it's much harder for single women to rent or buy homes than it is for single men.

After going through public data from the Census Bureau to find out more about the wage gap, RENTCafé compared the median incomes broken down by gender (an average of $32,451 for men, and $24,115 for women, so you can see the difference already) in the 50 largest cities in the United States to recent median rent data as well as sale prices. The study also took into account industry standards that say that housing costs shouldn't take up more than 30 percent of a person's income.

According to the study, 48 out of the 50 cities included are unattainable for single women looking to rent a home on their own, while men are able to rent in 18 out of the 50 cities. The two cities where renting (without sharing a space with someone else) is doable for single women, based on their median income? Tulsa, OK, and Wichita, KS—which also happen to be the cities with the cheapest rentals nationwide.

Interestingly enough, the study found that buying homes is actually a little bit more attainable for single women, but still, at a lower rate than it is for men. Single women looking to buy a small home would luck out in 26 of the 50 cities, while for single men, buying a small home is attainable in 35 of the cities, according to the study.

Memphis and Fort Worth actually tied for the most unfair market, according to the study. In both cities, the median salary for men is enough to buy or rent a home on their own without it being a huge burden on their incomes, while women can't afford to do either.

There are some cities—14 in total—on the list where both women and men can't afford to rent or buy based on the study's parameters: Manhattan, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, and Austin, to name a few. But even in those cities, affording housing (again, without roommates) is still even more difficult for women. For example, in Boston, the median rent is actually 132 percent of women's median income, while it's at 97 percent of men's.

You can find out more details about the study—and see which cities fall where—on RENTCafé.

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