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Many Americans, especially families, can’t live on a $15 minimum wage

Allison London

CNBC Personal Finance, February 21, 2021

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Even with a raise to $15 per hour, a typical family of four couldn’t afford the basics in any U.S. state, according to a CNBC analysis of cost-of-living data assembled by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Affording everyday items can be a challenge. For example, having a cell phone and broadband internet access — tightly linked to one’s ability to get and hold a job in the digital age — costs about $120 a month, Glasmeier said. That’s almost 10% of a low-wage earner’s budget.

The U.S. minimum is less than half the “living wage” for a single adult ($15.41 an hour, or roughly $32,000 a year before tax), according to national data compiled by MIT. It’s a third of what a family of four needs to live — around $21.50 per hour per parent, or almost $90,000 a year combined. And the effects are compounded for single parents.

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