Salaries for Vital Occupations Fall Short of Income Needed for Housing

Article excerpt

ACCORDING TO NEW NATIONAL DATA FROM THE National Housing Conference (NHC), Washington, D.C., entitled Paycheck to Paycheck: Wages and the Cost of Housing in America, none of America's elementary school teachers, police officers, licensed practical nurses, retail salespersons or janitors would qualify to purchase a median-priced home based on median income.

Compiled by NHC's research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, findings for the nation as a whole reveal that the median annual salaries for each of these five occupations fall short of the nearly $50,000 necessary to qualify for the median-priced home of $156,000, with the earnings of licensed practical nurses, retail sales persons and janitors lagging by substantial margins. Of particular concern, families dependent solely on the salary of a janitor or retail salesperson pay in excess of what is considered affordable for a two-bedroom apartment in all of the 60 individual metropolitan areas studied, according to the report.

At the national level, the data reveals that on average, homeownership is out of reach for many working families. For example, the data shows that families dependent on a police officer's salary are priced out of almost half, or 28, of the 60 areas studied, while households dependent on one teacher's salary alone cannot afford to buy a home in 32 localities. In addition, licensed practical nurses cannot afford to buy a home in all but three of the areas. Janitors and retail salespersons require more than double their salaries in many of the metropolitan areas, up to three times their salaries in expensive areas and up to seven times their salaries in the most expensive areas. …