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Can you live on minimum wage in your state?

  • Can you live on minimum wage in your state?

    In 2018, state-specific minimum wages have risen in 18 different states, which is good news for those trying to get by without much, but also not necessarily indicative of the whole picture. While the pay required of employers continues to rise, so too do the costs of necessities sought out by employees being paid at or slightly above their state’s minimum hourly salary.

    Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that more than 2 in every 5 Americans struggle to make ends meet, it goes without saying that the poorest of that 40% must face immense difficulty in providing for themselves and their families. This is truest in the states in which minimum cost of living exceeds the state-mandated minimum wage by the greatest margin.

    To help understand which states’ residents experience the greatest difficulty living off their respective minimum wage, Stacker consulted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator to compare minimum wage and living wage in every state. MIT calculates each state’s living wage according to annual individual expenses such as food, child care, medical expenses, housing, transportation, and other necessities. This calculation also functions under the assumption that the worker is their household’s primary provider and works full-time and year-roundequivalent to 2,080 hours annually.

    Read on to discover where each state ranks in terms of livability.

    RELATED: Click here to see how minimum wage compares across every state in America

  • #51. Arizona

    Living wage: $11.22
    Minimum wage: $10.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $0.72

    Arizona raised its minimum wage from $10 to $10.50 on Jan. 1. The state won’t stop there though; the state minimum wage is set to hit $12 by 2020.

  • #50. Washington

    Living wage: $12.28
    Minimum wage: $11.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $0.78

    Washington workers saw their minimum wage rates go up by 50 cents to reach $11.50 on Jan. 1. On the same day Seattle’s minimum wage went up to $15 per hour for employers that offer medical benefits; those that don’t now pay $15.45. The rate is lower for smaller Seattle companies: $11.50 an hour with medical benefits or $14 an hour without.

  • #49. South Dakota

    Living wage: $10.03
    Minimum wage: $8.85
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.18

    South Dakota’s minimum wage is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the cost of living, which went up by 20 cents at the beginning of this year to hit $8.85 an hour. But because unemployment rates in the state are low, most employers are expected to pay above that rate.

  • #48. Nebraska

    Living wage: $10.60
    Minimum wage: $9.00
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.60

    Since January 2016 Nebraska’s minimum wage has been $9 an hour. That’s thanks to a successful 2014 ballot initiative that first raised the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 in 2015, then increased it by another dollar the following year.

  • #47. Maine

    Living wage: $11.60
    Minimum wage: $10.00
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.60

    Maine’s minimum wage went up to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, giving a raise to about 59,000 Mainers. The higher rate is part of a minimum wage law enacted in 2016 that will raise the minimum wage a dollar per year until it hits $12 in 2020.

  • #46. Michigan

    Living wage: $10.87
    Minimum wage: $9.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.62

    Michigan minimum wage workers saw their wages reach $9.25 an hour with the start of 2018. That’s up 35 cents from the previous rate of $8.90 per hour. Efforts to raise the state minimum wage even higher are underway, however, with one group calling for $12 an hour by 2022.

  • #45. Vermont

    Living wage: $12.32
    Minimum wage: $10.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.82

    Vermont’s minimum wage went up 50 cents with the new year to reach $10.50 an hour. Starting in 2019 the state’s minimum wage is set to increase by either 5% or the percentage increase of the consumer price index.

  • #44. Minnesota

    Living wage: $11.53
    Minimum wage: $9.65
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.88

    Minnesota is another state that adjusts its minimum wage rates annually for inflation. At the beginning of 2018, the state’s rate went up 15 cents from $9.50 to $9.65 an hour. However businesses with an annual gross revenue of less than $500,000 saw their minimum wage rates go up a more modest amount from $7.75 to $7.87.

  • #43. Arkansas

    Living wage: $10.38
    Minimum wage: $8.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.88

    Arkansas raised its minimum wage rate by a dollar in January 2017 to its current rate of $8.50. Soon after some lawmakers tried to pass a bill to prevent cities and counties from setting their own higher minimum wage rates, but the effort failed.

  • #42. West Virginia

    Living wage: $10.68
    Minimum wage: $8.75
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.93

    West Virginia raised its minimum wage by 75 cents to $8.75 an hour back in January 2016, boosting the annual pay of a full-time minimum wage worker to $18,200. The increase was part of a two-year plan starting with an increase from $7.25 to $8 per hour in January 2015.

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