With a minimum wage of $8.05 an hour and many jobs offering $10.00 an hour, it’s easy to see how Missoula’s mean wage is $9.65 an hour. What’s perhaps not as apparent is the challenge people living on $10.00 an hour face in an area with high housing and other living costs.
Did you know that HUD defines housing costs as affordable when you spend 30% or less of your income on housing? Yet 42% of Missoulians spend more than 30%. And 21% of them spend over 50% of their income on housing. How is this possible? Because at the mean wage of $9.65 (which we’ve rounded to $10.00 on the worksheet), housing costs would have to be $502.00 per month to be “affordable”. Yet the average 2 bedroom apartment in Missoula is $905.00. And even studios and 1 bedrooms average $700.00-$800.00 per month – much more than affordable for someone earning $10.00 an hour.
Let’s take the Cost of Living Challenge, shall we?