BY MICHAEL STAHL
The overwhelming majority of workers earning the state’s minimum wage can effectively cross New York City off their short list of places to live.
Noting the “increasingly unaffordable environment that many of the city’s hourly workers face,” StreetEasy.com recently constructed and published an interactive map, accompanied by a chart, revealing the scant housing options throughout the five boroughs for individuals making $8.75 per hour. Should those laborers log 40 hours per week, every single week of the year, and commit 40 percent of their pay to rent, they would only be able to afford about 0.03 percent of available apartments.
Utilizing the most recent available full-year data from 2014, StreetEasy concluded that Bedford-Stuyvesant was the city’s leader in affordable units. The site flagged 73 apartment listings from the Brooklyn neighborhood posted over the course of the entire year that could be comfortably paid for by a minimum-wage worker—a figure representing just 1.5 percent of all listings there in 2014. East New York (36 listings) came in second, while Washington Heights (29), Crown Heights (29), and Bushwick (17) rounded out the top five.
Only four Queens neighborhoods boasted more than three such listings. Glendale featured eight, South Jamaica and Ridgewood had nine, and the Rockaways lead the borough with 17 affordable housing units available for minimum-wage workers in 2014. Barely registering were Corona and South Ozone Park with three each, along with Bayside, Elmhurst, Flushing and Hollis, which each saw two such listings. In an email to the Tribune, StreetEasy data scientist Alan Lightfeldt wrote, “This highlights the growing necessity for low-wage workers to move further away from Manhattan to afford rent in the city, which usually comes with a long commute time.”
“Our findings ultimately point to the importance of the city’s regulatory framework that enables low-wage earners to pay below-market rents,” Lightfeldt wrote on the site’s corresponding blog post. Using relatively conservative language, he added, “Without these housing subsidies, the city’s lowest paid earners would likely be severely short of market-rate options.”
With viable options representing just 0.03 percent of the housing market though, it appears they already are.
To use the interactive map and see more data, visit StreetEasy.com/blog/affordable-rentals-minimum-wage-nyc/