# San Diego Living Wage Calculator: Tool Determines Income Level

(NEXSTAR) – Have you struggled to make ends meet, even though you have a full-time job? An updated tool shows that this may be due to the area you live in.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has updated its living wage calculator, a tool that helps you determine the income needed to live in all 50 states, as well as local counties and metropolitan areas. Researchers draw on federal, state and local data to create the Living Wage Calculator, which can be found here.

To use the living wage calculator, select a state, city, or metro area. You’ll be able to see a breakdown of life, poverty and minimum wage for 12 different family structures: variations range from one to two adults with one or both working, and zero to three children.

Below this table is a second table that outlines typical expenses for each of the 12 structures. Expenses include food, child care, housing and taxes. The living wage mentioned above is calculated by determining these basic expenses and how much one would have to earn to pay for them.

According to the updated Living Wage Calculator, a living wage in the United States (based on 2021 data) is \$24.16 per hour before taxes for a family of four in which both adults work. This is up from \$21.54 in 2020.

“Minimum wage does not provide a living wage for most American families,” the creators say in a Release. “For two adult families and two children, the minimum wage covers 59.8% of living wage at best in Washington and 29.9% at worst in Wisconsin.

A family of four living in the New York area, the salary needed to cover basic expenses is higher than the national average at \$30.16. In St. Louis, a family of four needs a living wage below the US rate at \$23.24. If that same family moved to the San Francisco area, the same family would need a salary of \$35.56 to cover basic expenses.

To see your minimum required income and cost breakdown, visit the MIT Living Wage Calculator.

Early 2022, 26 states increased their minimum wage. By 2026, the minimum wage will be \$15 in all or part of 11 states. Yet nearly 20 states have a minimum wage at the national minimum, \$7.25, a rate that has not increased since 2009. Eight other states have minimum wages below \$10.

According to Economic Policy Institutethe purchasing power of that \$7.25/hour has already dropped dramatically since 2009. In 2021 dollars, \$7.25 was more like \$9.17 per hour in 2009. (The inflation that has occurred since June of last year has made the difference even more dramatic.)

Many companies have announced increases to their minimum starting wages in recent months. Including Target, hobby hall, Verizonand even the federal government – ​​President Joe Biden raised the minimum wage for federal employees to \$15 earlier this year.

So far this year, Americans have faced painful inflation with rising prices for everything from gas to groceries. US inflation reached 8.3% in April but has slowed from the 40-year high reported in March.

The Associated Press and Alix Martichoux of Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this report.