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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Are you earning a living wage?

The following interactive tool allows you to determine how many hours per week you would need to work at different wages to earn a "living wage".  A living wage is the amount of money needed to maintain a standard of living that is not considered within poverty or minimum wage ranges. The wage and hours requirements to meet living wage standard of living varies from state-to-state as the tool illustrates. For example, in Virginia a single adult with one child would have to earn $25.69 per hour for 40.1 hours per week to earn the minimum living wage, but in Wyoming the hourly pay would only have to be $20.86 to maintain the same minimum standard of living.

The results can also be compared with MIT's Living Wage Calculator; the differences are substantial. Moreover, in Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, where affluence is quite high, the MIT calculator states minimum living wage for a single adult  is $13.22 per hour. To evaluate which calculator is accurate check your own area and see if the minimum living wage is enough to pay for average housing, food and transportation costs. If it falls below that amount, then chances are the calculator is inaccurate giving more of a minimum wage.