SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Struggling to pay bills, even though you have a steady income? You may be getting priced out by the high cost of living in your area. An updated tool from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows whether your income is enough to live comfortably in your area.
Using MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, you can view a breakdown of typical expenses for individuals and families up to five people. Then, you can determine the income needed to provide for basic expenses for each family size. Additionally, the calculator also shows the local minimum wage and poverty wage.
Earlier this year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition found minimum wage is not enough to cover the cost of rent anywhere in the country. According to the report, the average U.S. employee making the minimum wage would need to work 97 hours per week to cover an “affordable” two-bedroom home at Fair Market Rent. Meanwhile, affording a one-bedroom requires about 79 hours per week to afford.
The NLIHC report found a person living in Utah would need to make $20.21 to afford a modest two-bedroom rental while working a 40-hour workweek. That puts the Beehive State as having the 25th highest housing wage in the country.
While the minimum wage is not enough to afford modest housing in Utah, it also is not enough to live in the state.
According to MIT’s Liveable Wage Calculator, one adult with no children would need to make more than $14 an hour to affordable typical expenses. By having one child, the living wage jumps to $29.56. For two adults, both working, with one child, the living wage is $16.28.
If you live in Salt Lake City, those numbers increase slightly. For a single adult, the living wage is $15.07; with one child, it’s $30.59; and for two working adults with one child, it is $16.80. Across the five Utah metropolitan areas MIT analyzed, Logan is the cheapest: $12.81 for one adult, $26.99 for one adult with a child, and $15 for two working adults with one child.
On the county level, Summit County has the highest liveable wage rate based on MIT’s calculator. A single adult needs $15.31, slightly higher than the liveable wage for Salt Lake City. The cheapest county is Iron County, with a liveable wage of $12.80 for a single working adult.
To find out if you are making a liveable wage for your area, visit MIT’s Living Wage Calculator.