Paycheck to Paycheck

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Wages and the Cost of Housing in America

When full-time wages are not sufficient to afford housing, the health and vitality of America's communities suffer. Unfortunately, renting or buying typical housing in many U.S. metro areas requires higher than median earnings for police officers, nurses, teachers, janitors, and other key roles that make our communities safe, healthy, and vibrant places to live. 

What's in Paycheck to Paycheck?

  • Graphs that compare wages and housing costs in 210 metro areas and the nation
  • Median incomes for 80 occupations
  • Median home prices and the income needed to afford them
  • Fair market rents and the income needed to afford them
  • For the 1st quarter 2014 report, a special focus on health care workers
  • See our frequently asked questions for more information on data and methodology

Info GraphicHealth Care Workers

Info GraphicCommunity Workers

Report and Rankings

    Report: A Snapshot of Metropolitan Housing Affordability for Health Care Workers

    Media Release: Key health workers cannpt afford housing in many U.S. metros

    Rankings for More Than 200 U.S. Metropolitan Areas:

        Fact SheetMost to Least Expensive Rental Markets, 2014
        Fact SheetMost to Least Expensive Homeownership Markets, 2014
        Fact SheetChange in the Income Needed to Rent a Home, 2013-2014
        Fact SheetChange in the Income Needed to Purchase a Home, 2013-2014

Paycheck to Paycheck

Paycheck to Paycheck
Data presented below are for the 1st Quarter of 2014.
Start by selecting one of 210 metropolitan areas.

- OR - Start by selecting one of 80 occupations.

Ways to Use Paycheck to Paycheck

  • Assess whether housing is affordable in your metro area for workers in different occupations
  • Compare the housing affordability of different metro areas for a specific occupation
  • See the big picture of housing affordability for low- and moderate-income workers nationally
  • Complement analyses of combined housing and transportation cost burdens by documenting overall metro area housing affordability
  • Use our Paycheck to Paycheck instructions as a template to examine wages and housing costs in neighborhoods in your community


The Center for Housing Policy gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Dwellings Association in funding Paycheck to Paycheck: Wages and the Cost of Housing in America. Any opinions or conclusions expressed, however, are those of the authors alone.

Paycheck to Paycheck Archives

    First quarter 2013:
    First quarter 2012:
    Third quarter 2011:
    First quarter 2011:
    Fourth quarter 2009:
    Fourth quarter 2008:
    Third quarter 2007:
    Third quarter 2006:
    Third quarter 2005:
    First quarter 2005:
* In a few select cases, 2003 and 2005 wage data may not be comparable due to a change in methodology.

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