Minimum wage differs from state to state. If you’re lucky enough to live in Seattle, you’ll make at least $15 an hour as an entry-level employee.
As of this year, almost two dozen states still use the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. How far does that actually go?
A full-time employee making $7.25 an hour has an annual salary of $15,080 a year before taxes. Is it possible to live a decent life on this salary? The answer: It depends.
It can be pretty difficult. Oklahoma is the cheapest state on the list, and employees still need to make $4,000 to make a living wage. In Pennsylvania, a living annual wage is $25,711 –– almost $10,000 more than a minimum wage worker currently makes.
In order to make sure employees can afford food, health insurance, housing, transportation, clothing and other basic necessities, every state paying workers an hourly wage of $7.25 would need to raise the minimum wage several dollars.
While not every state will get on Seattle’s level, it’s clear that something needs to change nationwide.
For a lighter take on a living wage, look at our infographic about whether sitcom stars could actually afford their homes.