- In 15 out of 69 metropolitan areas analyzed by the National Council on Teacher Quality, the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment surpasses 30% of a beginning teacher’s salary.
- For 53 of the districts studied, rising rental costs outpaced raises to teacher salaries, NCTQ found. But rent remains unaffordable — over 30% of teachers’ salaries — even when districts like Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools and California’s San Francisco Unified School District have provided teachers with cost-of-living increases higher than rising rental costs over the last five years.
- When it comes to homeownership in the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, NCTQ said it would take 13.6 years for a teacher on a single income to save 10% a year in order to make a 20% down payment on a median-priced house in their locality.
As schools face ongoing concerns around teacher vacancies, the rising cost of living in certain metropolitan areas may further push away prospective educators and those already in the field as it becomes harder to afford rent or a down payment.
NCTQ’s analysis found a wide variety of living costs for teachers. In San Francisco, for instance, renting a one-bedroom apartment costs 47% of a teacher’s salary, compared to just 17% for a similar space in Kansas’ Wichita Public Schools.
San Francisco Unified School District also leads as the most expensive school system for teachers to buy a home, as it would take an estimated 30 years for an educator to save enough to make a 20% down payment. On the flip side, it would take teachers in West Virginia’s Kanawha County Schools just seven years to save up for a 20% down payment on a home.
Amid the growing stress for some teachers to find affordable housing, districts are having to get creative in their recruitment and retention efforts.
For instance, amid rising living costs in metropolitan areas like the San Francisco Bay Area, California’s Milpitas Unified School District put out a call to families in September asking them to rent rooms in their homes to educators as one staffing strategy. Another Bay Area school system, Jefferson Union High School District, opened its own affordable housing for employees in 2022.
In Michigan, Holland Public Schools recently launched a Teachers Live Here program, which will give $25,000 in down payment assistance to teachers who continue to work an additional five years in the district.