About the Living Wage Calculator

The Living Wage Calculator, Community Economic Toolbox, and Poverty in America websites were developed by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and implemented by West Arete.

Eric Schultheis, a doctoral student in the Department of Urban Studies at MIT, collected, processed, and aggregated the site’s data.

History

This online tool was developed as part of the Living Wage Project. For more information about this tool and its development, please see the publication Living Wage and Job Gap Study of Beaufort County, South Carolina.

The Living Wage Calculator is a companion to the Poverty in America website. Be sure to visit it as well!

Late 2004
The first version of the Living Wage Calculator is released.
June 2005
All values are adjusted to 2004 dollars to add consistency across the calculations.
July 2007
The Living Wage Calculator is updated with the prevailing minimum wages at all locations. The site's interface gets a major face lift.
November 2008
All data is updated to the latest available, and the source code behind the site goes through a major reorganization.
June 2012
All data is updated to the latest available. Slight changes made to the calculator’s methodology and data sources.

The site will continue to be updated periodically with new data, as it becomes available.

Food

Data are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 low-cost food plan. Regional adjustment factors are from the U.S. Department of Argriculture Economic Research Service.

Child Care

Data are from the report Parents and the High Cost of Child Care – 2011 Update published by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.

Healthcare

Data are from the 2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey and the 2010 wave of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

Housing

Data are from 2010 Fair Market Rents produced by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Transportation

Data and regional adjustment factors are from the 2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Other Necessities

Data and regional adjustment factors are from the 2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Taxes

These figures include estimated Federal payroll taxes as well as Federal and State income taxes for the 2011 tax year.

Wages by Occupational Group

These figures reflect May 2010 State-Level Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates produced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Minimum Wage

These figures reflect official Federal and State minimum wage rates as of June 1, 2010, published by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Poverty Level

These figures reflect official 2010 poverty thresholds produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.