(476) Calculating a living wage

Minimum Wage CalculatorFor the United States: the Living Wage Calculator has been whirring away online generating data for every county in the United States since 2004.  Cost of living information is fed into the calculator to generate a realistic wage that will keep workers and their family members out of poverty.  Quick and easy to use.

Living Wage Calculator – Poverty in America/MIT

For Canada:  Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives provides a calculation method for living wages in Canada as a technical appendix to an update of a major report on living wages in Metro Vancouver.  Using this method involves downloading a .pdf file and a spreadsheet file and then inputting data for the community you are interested in.  Not as quick and easy to use but good to have.

Working for a Living Wage: 2013 26-page .pdf file from CCPA

Less keen on the homework involved in using the CCPA method we chose two Chicagoland counties from the MIT/Poverty in America calculator we thought would compare roughly with the Greater Toronto Area.  The hourly wage range indicated by the calculator as needed to keep workers and children out of poverty is from just over ten dollars for a single worker to over thirty dollars for a single worker with three children.  Workers with combinations of partners and children required hourly wage rates around the twenty dollar mark to maintain themselves above poverty levels.

The point of both tools is to demonstrate in a real world way that minimum wages are too low to keep working people out of poverty.