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Living Wage Overview

Is it possible to work 60 hour weeks and still be unable to cover basic expenses? Making minimum wage as a parent of one, you will need to work closer to 70 hours in all fifty states (plus the District of Columbia) just to make ends meet. If I told you that $25.00 an hour full time in D.C. isn't enough for some demographics to make it, would you believe me? You should. Welcome to the age of the eroded middle class, and the decimated working class. Whether you're planning a move, or another child, seeing if a new wage is good, or just curious, check out the cost of living in America today, and see if you're making a living wage.

How To Interact With this Graphic

1. Adjust the slider at the bottom to match your wage.

2. On the left, select how many adults and children are in your household.

3. Select a state to see where you fall between a poverty wage and a living wage.
- States that are brighter mean that you would earn closer to a living wage in that state.
- States that are darker mean that you would earn closer to a poverty wage in that state.
- The light blue triangle above the wage slider shows the minimum wage for that state.
- The dark blue triangle below the wage slider shows the federal minimum wage.
- The box above your wage listing shows how many hours a week you would have to work just to earn a living wage.

4. To see the nation divided into counties, click on “County View”. To see the nation divided into states, click on “State View”.

5. To zoom in on a particular state, first select the state then click on the plus sign that appears in the corner.
- While zoomed in, you can click on individual counties to see their poverty/living wages.
- To return to the national view, click anywhere outside of the state.

Some Interesting Facts

You can discover your own trends on our interactive map, but here are a few to get you started.

1.) Making minimum wage with one child is unlivable in all 50 states. (Assuming a 40 hour workweek.)

2.)For a single parent of three making $25.00 an hour living in MA, NY, NH,WI, MD, or HI isn't possible working less than 50 hours a week. Of the states listed, HI and D.C. are the most expensive, requiring 56.2 hours of work per week just to get by.

3.) Northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are the highest concentration of expensive counties in the nation. For a single parent of three, anything short of $37.00 an hour (close to $80,000 a year) is below a living wage.

4.)South Dakota, North Dakota, sections of Montana, and Eastern Washington are some of the most livable places in the United States if you are single and making minimum wage.

5.) For a married couple making $12.00 an hour, much of the midwest and rural Pennsylvania are livable.

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