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

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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Why Companies and Employers Say They Use the Living Wage Calculator

Written by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 06/26/2015

The recent announcement by IKEA that its 2015 compensation scheme will utilize the values from the living wage calculator has prompted a number from the tool using community.

I am frequently asked, “why do businesses use the living wage tool?" Here I list the top reasons why large and small businesses use the calculator. I do not weigh in on the reasons nor do I rank them. Here are the top answers to the question, "why do firms of all types, sizes and sectors use the tool?

Because they can. Firms use the tool in instances where they feel they can afford to do so;

They acknowledge the relationship between loyalty and compensation;

They see the link between productivity and compensatory wage rates;

Because it is the right thing to do;

The owner has worked low wage jobs and knows how hard it is to make it on low wages;

It is a worthy and moral practice.

Because if people are paid more they spend more.

Costs of living are out of sync with long term wage rat...

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Update: New Data, New Findings, Always Clarifying the Message Based on User Feedback

Written by Carey Nadeau and Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 05/28/2015

Living wage calculations are based on publicly available data. The calculation itself, however is based on a formula that includes multiple sub calculations that we update as new information in the form of user observations reaches our desks. When users of the calculator observe a result that doesn't make sense to them they write us and we dive back into the tool to see what is going on. We encourage you to let us know what you think and also what you find.

Wage data (adjusted for inflation) for 50,846,234 households from the American Community Survey 1-year estimates were compared to the living wage. These households were selected because the family compositions, including age and labor force status, were comparable to the family compositions included in the living wage calculator.

More than one-third of families (37.6%), more than 19.1 million families, earned less than the living wage, compared to 20.3% below the poverty line in 2014. Over 8.6 million families (for whi...

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