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

Minimum Wage: Can an Individual or a Family Live on It?

Written by Carey Nadeau, OpenDataNation Inc. and Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier on 01/16/2016

While the minimum wage sets an earnings threshold under which our society is not willing to let families slip, it failed to approximate the basic expenses of families in 2014. Consequently, many working adults must seek public assistance and/or hold multiple jobs in order to afford to feed, clothe, house, and provide medical care for themselves and their families.

Establishing a living wage, an approximate income needed to meet a family’s basic needs, would enable 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.

An analysis of the living wage, compiling geographically specific expenditure data for food, childcare, health care, housin...

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2014 Data Indicate That Four in Ten Children Live in Low-Income Families Half of These Are in Poor Families and Nearly Half of Those in Deeply Poor Families

Written by Jessica Carson, Andrew Schaefer, Beth Mattingly on 12/17/2015

Carsey Institute Brief, University of New Hampshire
December 16, 2015

As we approach the holidays, new analysis from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy illustrates the impact of poverty on the lives of America's children. While most American adults will celebrate the holidays with some level of economic security, almost 50% of the nation's children live in uncertain circumstances attributable to low family income.


In 2014, more than four in ten children (44.1 percent) lived in low-income families, defined as families with income below 200 percent of the official poverty line.

More than one-fifth of children (21.7 percent) were poor, that is, lived below the poverty line, and nearly one-tenth (9.6 percent) lived in deep poverty, defined as having incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line.

The share of children living in deeply poor, poor, and low-income homes declined between 2013 and 2014.

The share of children living in low-income families...

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The Tipping Point: Most Americans No Longer Are Middle Class

Written by Marilyn Geewax NPR on 12/10/2015

Americans have long lived in a nation made up primarily of middle-class families, neither rich nor poor, but comfortable enough.

This year, that changed, according to the Pew Research Center.

A just-released analysis of government data shows that as of 2015, middle-income households have become the minority. The trend is so firmly established that it may well continue; Americans have experienced "a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point," Pew researchers concluded Wednesday.

Thanks to factory closings and other economic factors, the country now has 120.8 million adults living in middle-income households, the study found. That compares with the 121.3 million who are living in either upper- or lower-income households.

"The hollowing of the middle has proceeded steadily for the past four decades," Pew concluded.

And middle-income Americans not only have shrunk as a share of the population but have fallen further behind financially, with their median income d...

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