School Workers Unable to Afford Housing

The National Housing Conference’s Center for Housing Policy released its 2016 edition of Paycheck to Paycheck. This year’s report focusses on housing affordability for five occupations found among workers at schools in major metropolitan areas nationwide: bus driver, child care (day care) teacher, groundskeeper, social worker, and high school teacher. The report finds that housing affordability is a challenge for school workers in many metropolitan areas.

The report examines housing affordability in 210 metropolitan areas for the median-wage worker with two to four years of experience in each of the five occupations. A median-wage bus driver could not afford to rent or buy a typical two-bedroom home in any of the metropolitan areas without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing. A median-wage high school teacher could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom home in 94% of the metropolitan areas, but could afford to buy in only 62% of the metropolitan areas. The table below provides the percentage of metropolitan areas where the median wage worker in each occupation could afford to rent or buy a typical two-bedroom home.

% of Metropolitan Areas where Typical 2-Bedroom Home is Affordable for Median Wage Worker


To Rent

To Buy

Bus Driver



Child Care Teacher






Social Worker



High School Teacher



Paycheck to Paycheck draws on data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) for median home prices, HUD’s 2016 Fair Market Rent data for rental prices, and for wages for workers, typically with two to four years of experience.

Paycheck to Paycheck 2016: A Snapshot of Housing Affordability for School Workers is available at:

Paycheck to Paycheck also provides an on-line database where users can compare housing costs and wages for 81 occupations in each of the metropolitan areas. It is available at: