Let’s be honest, renters are struggling to navigate affordability nationwide, especially Millennials who on average spend more than 45% of their income on rent before the age of 30.
So, it shouldn’t be surprising when a Millennial voices concern about rental affordability, right? But what if that Millennial is a newly elected member of the House of Representatives?
Last week, in an interview conducted by Azi Paybarah, congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed fear she wouldn't be able to afford rent until her new gig starts in January.
From the interview:
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said the transition period will be “very unusual, because I can’t really take a salary. I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.” She said she saved money before leaving her job at the restaurant and planned accordingly with her partner. “We’re kind of just dealing with the logistics of it day by day, but I’ve really been just kind of squirreling away and then hoping that gets me to January.”
At 29 years old, Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest representative to be elected to Congress, and her renting concerns are a reality for many young people living paycheck to paycheck.
According to a study from RentCafé, data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that although Millennials earn more income than previous generations they also have to spend more on rent, paying about $92,600 by their 30th birthday.
This burden paired with climbing rent prices, have left many in a similar situation.
Last month, data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that median rent hit an all-time-high nationwide, topping $1,000 during the third quarter of 2018 for the first time ever.
According to the Census data, the median asking rent during Q3 was $1,003, an increase of $52 over Q2 and an increase of $91 over the same time period last year. That’s an increase of nearly 10% in just one year.
It’s also worth noting that Ocasio-Cortez is relocating to Washington D.C., which ranks as the sixth most expensive rental market in the country, according to Zumper. Furthermore, RentCafé states the median apartment rent in Washington D.C averages $2,072, towering the Census’ national median.
Despite this, a Fox News panelist on “America’s Newsroom” mocked Ocasio-Cortez's financial situation, laughing that the "self-proclaimed socialist" couldn't afford rent in Washington.
Although Ocasio-Cortez has secured an esteemed government position, she insists her renting difficulties illustrate the plight of many Americans around the country.
40% of ALL Americans currently struggle to pay for one basic need like food or rent.
As much as @FoxNews likes to mock the working-class, the real scandal is that at the wealthiest point in our history, we are at one of our most unequal.
Most Americans are barely scraping by.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 9, 2018