Can You Live on the Minimum Wage?

Photo by Lydia Chávez

Photo by Lydia Chávez

A new interactive at the NYT allows you to find out.

More than 4.8 million workers now earn the lowest legal pay. This calculator, for a single childless worker, shows the hard choices that have to be made living on the smallest paychecks.

Start by choosing your state:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Washington D.C.

 CLICK HERE to try it.

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Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission

7 Comments

  1. mission resident

    This is an exercise everyone should do. Minimum wage jobs have no skill level. You can master the job in about a month which means you can be replaced at any time with no problem at all. No one that works for minimum wage should ever plan on being in that job for long term. If it’s the only job you can get to make ends meat, then every day you should be looking for another opportunity or schooling to improve your marketability. If you find yourself working for minimum wage for more than 6-12 months, look inward to find out why you haven’t been able to find another job or get a raise within that job. There’s always something one can do to improve there situation. Sorry if that doesn’t sound compassionate, but tough love can be more compassionate than empathy when looking at the long game.

    • John

      Yes, what concerns me about discussions of minimum wage is that they always seem to focus on what someone allegedly needs to live, and not on the value created by that job.

      If I run a business that generates a profit of $12 an hour for each employee, then if the minimum wage is $10, it’s viable. At a $12 minimum wage, it is marginal, and at $15 an hour, I’m losing money and would be better off letting the worker go.

      So the debate over minimum wage is often presented as a free lunch when the reality is that a higher minimum wage will kill some jobs and drive other jobs beyond the city limits.

      Germany has never had a minimum wage and it has the most successful economy in Europe.

      • landline

        And San Francisco has the one of the highest minimum wages in the nation and one of the most thriving economies.

        Profit is what’s left after all costs including wages are deducted from revenue. Where did you study economics and business again? The University of Trollery, where grades are directly proportional to the number of comments?

        • John

          landline, what would your advice be to a business owner in SF whose employees each earn him $12 an hour IF the minimum wage goes to $15? Would it be:

          1) Shut down his business?
          2) Keep only the best employees who earn him more than $15 an hour?
          3) Move his business to Daly City
          4) Carry on regardless and make a loss.

          SF’s booming economy is not due to minimum wage jobs. You’re confusing us with Texas.

      • nutrisystem

        Germany has some of the highest wages in the world, and yet is doing very well. How can coservadouches explain that?

        In Germany, a full time job entitles a worker to a dignified standard of living – no exceptions. That’s called a social contract.

        Germany seems to prove that fairness towards workers (instead of Texas-style viciousness) creates a positive attitude that pays off for the society.

        • John

          My point was that Germany doesn’t mandate any minimum level of pay, and instead leaves pay as a matter of negotiation between employer and worker.

          If Germans enjoy high wages, and they do, it is because they produce to a very high standard, thereby earning the profits to pay higher wages.

          And that is how we create better pay. Not by some capricious bureaucratic mandate but by delivering value and revenues.

        • mission resident

          Nutrisystem, stop calling people names as it makes you seem ignorant.

          You mention “Full-time” job. Is 25 hours full-time? Does that mean Germany pays 20 hour/week folks less than full-time in hourly rate? What do you pay a 6th grader trying to make extra cash by mowing the lawn or taking an old ladies garbage out?

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