July 20, 2024

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The hourly wage a single person needs in the largest U.S. cities

2 min read

You’ll need to earn around $25 per hour to live on your own in the United States’ 25 largest cities.

That’s a median figure: You’ll need more in cities like San Francisco or Boston, and less in San Antonio or Detroit. The money covers a single person’s basic expenses like housing in a studio apartment, food, health care and transportation, based on estimates from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute’s Living Wage Family Budget calculator.

A $25 per hour wage works out to $52,000 per year, based on a 40-hour work week. But in nearly half of the 25 largest cities, the living wage is double that of the local minimum wage. In many of these markets, the minimum wage is less than $15 per hour. In some cities, minimum wage is as low as $7.25 per hour — the federal minimum.

Many solo minimum-wage earners struggle to afford basic expenses based on their wages alone, and as such, rely on family or government assistance to get by. EPI’s living wage estimates don’t include those other possible sources of money.

Minimum-wage earners might also make sacrifices like forgoing car ownership or skipping on health care insurance. Having employer-sponsored health insurance certainly helps: It shaves roughly $2 off the hourly living wage in the 25 largest U.S. cities, according to EPI’s estimates.

Here’s a look at those 25 most-populated metro areas, ranked by the highest minimum wage needed to cover necessities:

1. San Francisco 

  • Hourly wage needed to cover basic costs: $35.98
  • Hourly minimum wage: $18.07 ($20 for fast food workers)

2. Boston

  • Hourly wage to cover basic costs: $34.02
  • Hourly minimum wage: $15

3. New York

  • Hourly wage to cover basic costs: $33.58
  • Hourly minimum wage: $16

4. Seattle

  • Hourly wage to cover basic costs: $31.93
  • Hourly minimum wage: $19.97 (for most workers)

5. San Diego

  • Hourly wage to cover basic costs: $30.46
  • Hourly minimum wage: $16.85 ($20 for fast food workers)

6. Washington, DC

  • Hourly wage to cover basic costs: $28.89
  • Hourly minimum wage: $17.50

7. Los Angeles

  • Hourly wage…



2024-06-22 09:15:00

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