Market Overview

10 States That Put The Least Financial Strain On American Earners

10 States That Put The Least Financial Strain On American Earners

One of the biggest ongoing political debates in the U.S. today is the idea of minimum wage and living wage. The federal U.S. minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but states like California and Massachusetts have taken initiative to raise statewide minimum wage to $12 per hour this year. The Fight For $15 movement is pushing for a nationwide minimum wage of $15 per hour, but so far no legislation to achieve this goal has made much progress.

A full-time worker paid $7.25 per hour under the current federal law earns about $14,500 per year. Unfortunately, according to data from MIT, $14,500 is well below a living wage no matter which states Americans live.

A Real Living Wage

The MIT living wage calculator determines the amount of money an American would need to earn per year in each of the 50 states to get by without outside financial assistance.

The calculator accounts for factors such as affordable housing, groceries, health care and insurance rates in each state. It then determines the annual earnings required to avoid living in poverty given those conditions.

According to the calculator, Mississippi is the most affordable state in the country. To avoid poverty in Mississippi, residents need to earn just $48,537. That number includes an average annual housing cost of $9,009 and an average food cost of $6,832.

Most Affordable States

Behind Mississippi, the only other state where Americans can earn less than $50,000 and still stay comfortably above the poverty line is Arkansas at $49,970.

Here’s a look at the rest of the 10 cheapest states to live sorted by annual living wage.

  1. Mississippi - $48,537
  2. Arkansas - $49,970
  3. West Virginia - $50,068
  4. Tennessee - $50,152
  5. South Dakota - $50,166
  6. Alabama - $50,585
  7. Kentucky - $51,925
  8. Ohio - $52,013
  9. South Carolina - $52,038
  10. Indiana - $52,207

Related Links:

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Posted-In: living wage minimum wageEducation Personal Finance General Best of Benzinga


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