Living Wage Calculator Shows How Bad The Working Poor Problem Really Is

 @gmorcroftg.morcroft@ibtimes.com
on November 21 2013 11:07 AM
  • Minimum wage US NY 2012
    Scene from a demonstration in New York in 2012 Reuters
  • Minimum Wage US NY 2013 Getty
    Employees and supporters demonstrate outside of Wendy's and Burger King fast-food restaurants to demand higher pay and the right to form a union on Aug. 29, 2013, in New York City. Getty Images
  • mit4
    Most individuals and families in the U.S. making the minimum wage live in poverty U.S. Census Bureau
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As Walmart runs a food drive for its impoverished staff and McDonald's recommends its burger-flippers sell possessions on eBay to come up with some extra cash, the topic of living wage vs. minimum wage rages across the Internet.

And now there's a scientific tool for use in that debate. Researchers at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology have developed a living wage calculator and made it available online for websurfers so they can check what a living wage would be in a certain area or city, based on criteria like family size and cost of services.

Not surprisingly, major metropolitan centers have higher expenses while more rural locations have a cheaper cost of living. 

For example, the calculator estimates that a living wage in Brooklyn, New York, for a family of two adults and three children would be a gross $26.12 an hour. That same family would be considered living in poverty at a wage of anything below $12.40 an hour. The minimum wage in New York City, of which Brooklyn is a borough, is $7.25 an hour.

Here are some charts that put the story in perspective.

mit1 The living wage in many cities across the U.S. is higher than the minimum wage  MIT Living Wage Calculator

 

mit2 Most Americans support an increase to the minimum wage  Gallup

 

mit3 Some argue a higher minimum wage would boost GDP and create new jobs  Economic Policy Institute

Click here to run living-wage calculations for your hometown.

 

 

 

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