In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living.

Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living.

Therefore we have developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location.

Recent Articles

Health Insurance Costs Rise As Wage Rates Stagnate Placing Families At Risk

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 11/02/2015

Health insurance premiums and wage rates are linked. A major component of the living wage tool is the amount of income individuals and family members must spent to purchase health insurance. Health insurance is critical to workers and families to reduce the prospect that an accident or unexpected illness drains a household’s savings or the lack of access to care compromises a household member’s ability to work. In the press today (, reports indicate health insurance premiums are going up. How will Americans pay for increased costs of health care? According to Sunday’s New York Times certainly not through employer-based increases in wage rates. Brought to light in the paper’s Review section, wage rates continue to stagnate despite declining unemployment and brighter economic conditions ( Reports indicate workers’ share of “corporate income...

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Two New Reports On New Orleans: Brookings Uses Living Wage Calculator to Examine Beneficiaries of Economic Recovery of New Orleans

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 08/14/2015

Posted at NextCity
New Orleans’ New Normal Is Leaving Many Residents Farther Behind

"New Brookings Institution data released today confirm there’s a murkier picture of economic progress emerging in New Orleans over the last five years than basic macro metrics can attest. The authors of “Opportunity Clusters: Identifying pathways to good jobs in metro New Orleans” also posit a potential anecdote to guide the city to a more equitable future: the “clusters theory” of economic development.

Although New Orleans has been witnessing its best job growth since the 1990s, inequality has surged in lockstep: Poverty is rising, working hours per week are falling, and average wages are too. Earned income for working-age adults who are part of struggling families averaged $21,775 in 2013, several thousand dollars below the national poverty level. And the trails to pros...

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Updating Our Minimum Hourly Wage for Retail Co-Workers

Written by IKEA on 06/26/2015

IKEA US announced that we will once again raise the minimum hourly wage for US retail co-workers, following our move earlier this year to a new minimum wage structure. The change, which will be effective as of January 1, 2016, will take the average minimum hourly wage in existing stores (as of June 2015) from $10.76 to $11.87 - a 10.3% increase and $4.62 above the current federal minimum wage. The minimum hourly wages are based on local living costs for co-workers, and we use the MIT Living Wage Calculator as input.

We continue to invest in making IKEA a great place to work. Fair wages are one part of our employment offer, which includes a competitive health care plan (for co-workers who work more than 20 hours a week), a 401(k) plan, an additional retirement plan, tuition assistance, a co-worker discount, a paid-time off package, and more.

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