Three Black Hills counties are among South Dakota's most expensive for renters, according to a report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Pennington, Fall River and Custer counties rank among the top five most expensive counties statewide.
Nationwide, South Dakota ranks 48th for the wage needed to afford the average fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment.
The report calculates that a worker would need to earn $13.41 per hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at $698. That wage is $4.91 more than the state's minimum wage of $8.50. South Dakota compares to No. 52 Puerto Rico on the low end at a needed wage of $10.53 and No. 1 Hawaii with a needed wage of $31.61.
The report notes that the average renter in South Dakota earns $10.67 per hour, making a rent of $555 affordable. A minimum wage worker would need to work 49 hours per week to afford the average one-bedroom apartment at $540 per month and 63 hours to afford a two-bedroom unit.
The report finds Douglas County the most expensive county for renters, with $16.04 per hour needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market value. The remaining top five counties are Pennington ($15.27), Buffalo ($14.83), Fall River ($14.42) and Custer ($14.23).
In South Dakota, 32 percent, or 103,264, of households are rented.