I got tired of discussions about low wages getting derailed by Minimum Wage talking points, so here’s a resource page on low wages in the U.S.
Updates will be added from time to time.
What Is The Cost Of Living?
The living wage in the United States in 2016 was $15.84 per hour before taxes for a family of two working adults and two children. That’s $63,360 annually.
It includes a family’s likely minimum food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities (e.g. clothing, personal care items, etc.) costs. It is the minimum needed to stay off public assistance.
It does not include money for:
- Internet or smartphone
- Education or job training
- Saving or investing
- Special work clothes and tools
- Paying off existing debts
- Uncovered medical expenses (special diets, OTC medicines, etc.)
- Capital expenditures (business start-up, purchase a home or land)
- Hiring a lawyer or accountant for help with finances
Who Makes Less Than That?
According to Fortune, over 40% of American workers are working for less than that. 46% of them are over 35 years of age.
Further, “six of the 10 largest occupations with median wages less than $15 are also among the jobs projected to grow the most by 2022: retail salespersons, combined food preparation and serving workers, laborers and freight movers, janitors and cleaners (except maids and housekeeping cleaners), stock clerks and order fillers, nursing assistants, and personal care aides.”