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

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...

Read more

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.

Read more

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...

Read more