How much does a North Dakotan need to make in order to affordably pay rent in the state?

There is a 2020 Out of Reach report that breaks down just how much individuals in each state (as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) need to make in order to affordably pay for a 2-bedroom rental. The report defines "affordable" as "the generally accepted standard of spending no more than 30% of gross income on rent and utilities." In some states, like California and New York, residents have to make between $30 and $40 per hour in order to afford rent. Thankfully, North Dakotans do not have to make as much to live affordably.

Out of Reach

North Dakotans need to make under $20 per hour to afford rent in North Dakota

According to Out of Reachin order to afford a two-bedroom rental, a North Dakotan needs to make a minimum of $16.18 an hour/ $33,647 of income per year to pay for a two-bedroom unit which costs around $841 per month. According to ZipRecruiter, in 2021, the average North Dakotan makes $34 per hour/ $65,409 a year. RentData.org states that the average rent for a two-bedroom place is $781 per month in 2021 - and $884 per month in Burleigh and Morton Counties.

Out of Reach

Do these reports accurately reflect affordability?

They say that numbers do not lie, but it is hard to believe the numbers when people complain about how expensive it is to live in North Dakota. I have lived in Grand Forks, Fargo, Denver, and Bismarck as an adult, all while making above $16.18 an hour, and still found all of these cities (except Fargo) pretty unaffordable. And I know many other millennials who say the very same thing.

The findings are based on gross income alone. That means taxes, children, school bills, car payments, phone payments, and any other bills are not taken into consideration. More than gross income numbers need to be looked at in order to determine whether or not rent is affordable and attainable.

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