Can People Really Survive On $15-An-Hour Minimum Wage? It’s Possible If You Live In One Of These Cities

minimum wage

The last time the federal minimum wage was raised – from $6.55 to $7.25 – was back in July 2009.

So much has changed in the world in 12 years but one thing is for sure – few people can live on $7.25-an-hour.

At today’s rate, a full-time minimum wage worker makes only $15,080 annually. This puts them well below the poverty line ($17,420) for a family of two.

Amazon and other corporations have stated that $15/hr is the solution for low hourly wages. This might be true but not for people in different parts of the country.

So in what cities can people actually live off of $15/hr and still have a decent quality of life?

The team at moveBuddha wanted to uncover where in the United States a $15/hr wage can provide a reliable source of income for a typical single individual, and where it would be completely unrealistic.

The website analyzed the cost of living in America’s 99 largest cities to find the most and least feasible locations for workers making $15/hour. Here’s what they uncovered.

The five best cities to live in while making the proposed $15/hr are:

  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Spokane, WA

Albuquerque, NM is the most livable US city for $15/hr, here, full-time minimum wage workers could pocket as much as $862 per month (36% of their salary) after paying essential expenses.

As for the WORST, the top five cities are all in California and have insane rental costs: Irvine, San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego, and Anaheim.

Other cities not fit for $15/hr earnings are far-off places like Honolulu and Anchorage and the typical big cities like Seattle, Boston, New York, LA, D.C., and Austin.

Many of the cities where a $15/hr wage is least feasible are cities that already have a local minimum wage near $15/hr.

For example, six least livable cities for $15 minimum wage are in California, where the statewide minimum wage is already $14. Seattle, the 9th least livable city for $15/hour, has a citywide minimum wage of $16.69 as of 2021.

Click here to read the entire report.

Chris Illuminati

Chris Illuminati is the author of five books and has written about personal finance, wealth, debt management, and entrepreneurship for numerous outlets including Wise Bread, Grow or Die, and Bankrate.