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

Results from the 2016 Data Update

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and Carey Anne Nadeau, on 04/13/2017

Establishing a living wage, an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs, would enables the working poor to achieve financial independence while maintaining housing and food security. When coupled with lowered expenses, for childcare and housing in particular, the living wage might also free up resources for savings, investment, and/or for the purchase of capital assets (e.g. provisions for retirement or home purchases) that build wealth and ensure long-term financial security.

The 2016 analysis of the living wage, compiling geographically specific expenditure data for food, childcare, health care, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities, finds that:
The living wage in the United States is $15.84 per hour, before taxes for a family of four (two working adults, two children), compared to $15.12 in 2015.

The minimum wage does not provide a living wage for most American families. A typical family of four (two working adults, two children) needs to...

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Findings from latest Living Wage data update

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 03/24/2017

The data behind the Living Wage Calculator has received another update. It is now current as of February 7th, 2017.

You can read about the latest findings and analysis in this document.

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City of Dallas contracts more expensive, but better workers are sticking around thanks to living wage.

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 03/19/2017

With a year of experience, the city of Dallas, Texas released the results of the first year of the city’s living wage program. Approved in late 2015, the Dallas City Council established a minimum wage rate for city contract employees of $10.37/hour. This increase exceeds the current nation minimum by 3 dollars ( $7.25). While the cost of living differential among cities is difficult to estimate, in Dallas utilities, healthcare, and child care costs surpass the national average. The increase in the contract starting wage (the stated living wage) has had a significant impact on residents of the city: 92% of contract employees indicated they live in the city; 95% of the sanitation workers reported they lived in the city. Where benefits are clearly evident is in improved attendance of employees and improved morale. Lower turnover enabled the city to hire 18 temporary workers into full-time jobs. Leaders in the city acknowledged that wages had been stagnant for a long time. By increasi...

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