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The Living Wage Calculator

Poll Results: How accurate is the living wage calculator for your area?

  • 24% (94)
    Yes the calculator was spot on
  • 56% (215)
    No way the calculator was too low, it thinks we can live with out food or shelter
  • 11% (42)
    No way the calculator estimates too much money, we don't need caviar to survive
  • 7% (27)
    obligatory other, please explain
378 Total Votes  
post #1 of 196
Thread Starter 
Have you seen the living wage calculator? How accurate do you find it for your area?


For me it was fairly generous. It was 10% higher than what DP makes, but we have everything we need and extra. I think we could easily cut some extras and live off of what it suggests is a living wage for our area.
post #2 of 196
That link is to a calendar.
post #3 of 196
April 13 is Blame Somebody Else Day.
post #4 of 196
Thread Starter 
Doh! Thanks, I fixed it.
post #5 of 196
I voted right on, but I suspect most people in my area would disagree. We have been car-free for 7 years, so that helps. And the rent it quoted was $200 higher than what we pay, because we live in a less than glamorous apartment. The food quote was a little low, though, imho.
post #6 of 196
ha! Ha ha ha! Oh man... find me that rent in Manhattan and I'll throw you a freaking parade!
post #7 of 196
Well, it didn't include what the wage should be if you had two adults and more than two kids. But it did not accurately calculate the housing costs (astronomical) in my area, not at all. So, it underestimated what the living wage would be for me.

It was much closer to accurate when I checked for my sister's location, a medium sized midwestern city.
post #8 of 196
I picked that it was low. The housing cost it gave was half of what our mortgage is, and we live in a townhouse that is way way cheaper than most of the housing around here.
post #9 of 196
Well, it really underestimated housing and child care, so I think it's pretty low for my midwestern city.
post #10 of 196
I voted spot on but it wasn't quite but pretty close.

We make $10,000 a year less (before taxes) than what they consider average for a family of 4 (we are a family of 5). My dh makes $6 less an Hr than what they consider a living wage.
post #11 of 196
It was pretty close here. The housing was a tad bit higher than we pay, but lately the houses around here are going for a lot more than we paid, so my guess is it would be too low. (We paid $40000 for a house four years ago that would now go for about $70000 now.)

The most interesting thing was the average wages for this area since the best paying jobs around here weren't mentioned or listed below actual wages. We have a candy factory, a refinery, and a prison as our top three "best" jobs in town (highest paying, best benefits, most "prestige" if you can imagine that.) Of course, doctors and lawyers and such make more, but you know what I mean.
post #12 of 196
I'd say its an underestimate.

It has only $127 for transportation. We have one car with a pymt of just over $200 which is pretty cheap for a car pymt I think, that doesn't include gas, maintenance, or insurance.

It has $594 for housing. You could probably find a fairly crappy apartment for that but most houses rent for $1000 or more. A decent house in a decent neighborhood is going to be around $200k so I can't see a mortgage for less that $600 on that.
post #13 of 196
Too low. It says two adults can live on less than $400/mo rent here. That's possible, but not likely.
post #14 of 196
I voted "spot on." The calculations seemed like the minimum for the area--the food costs and rent seemed lowish--but doable.
post #15 of 196
I'm looking at the 2 adult 2 child costs...

Housing was low. We rented a 2 bedroom apartment 8 years ago for right around the housing figure they gave for a family of 4. I can't imagine that rents haven't gone up since then. There's no way you could buy anything for a mortgage payment that low.

Childcare was low. It was $100 less then I'm paying for one child to receive care from a licensed home daycare provider. From what I've seen our DCP's costs are average for the area. My older child is in public school and we're juggling dh and my schedule to avoid putting her in aftercare. (that will change in a few weeks though) If she were in daycare or after school care the number would be even more off.

Transportation was probably about right if you own a paid-for car. If you're taking public transportation or making a car payment it was also low.
post #16 of 196
I found the calculator too low for someone wanting to *move* to my town though I think you could make it, albeit very frugally, if you bought your house 5-10 years ago. There are very few rentals around here.

For example:
1)there is not a single home for sale in my town for less than 500K. The one house at the low end is a 4 room (kitchen, living room, 2 bedroom) cape on less than a quarter acre on busy street a few house down from a 7-11. My husband is a mortgage broker and said the median selling price in 2005 in our town was aprox in the low 400's. As of today there not a single home or apartment for rent.
2) Our tax base is the highest all surrounding towns and one of the highest in the state
3) A survey of local grocery store prices found the most chains (Stop and Shop, Shaws) prices were highest in our town and the 2 adjacent towns.
post #17 of 196
According to that, I would have to make $21.48/hr for a living wage. Hah!
post #18 of 196
Originally Posted by kama'aina mama View Post
ha! Ha ha ha! Oh man... find me that rent in Manhattan and I'll throw you a freaking parade!
OMG--I checked that out. $1135 for rent in Manhattan for 2 adults and 1 child? What would you be renting? A parking spot?

They listed housing in DC (where I live now) at $1225. Now that seems pretty low to me still, but how on earth are they figuring that DC housing is HIGHER than Manhattan housing? We rent in DC for about $800 less than we did in NYC--in an expensive neighborhood, for a bigger apartment. And we just bought a 4-bedroom house in a very good DC neighborhood for the cost of a (crappy) 1-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.

I think this thing is off.
post #19 of 196

Totally wrong

Monthly Expenses:
Food $156 HA! Yeah, right.
Child Care $0 ok.
Medical $98 Health insurance is about $300, so totally wrong.
Housing $1,063 My rent alone is 995, not including oil/electric. A mortgage payment in my town is about 3000-5000.
Transportation $127 - maybe. If you didn't have a car payment, but probably not because everyone drives huge SUVs.
Other $460 - dog food, toiletries, student loans, car payment, etc. etc. not even close.
Monthly After-Tax Income That's Required $1,904 A joke.
Annual After-Tax Income That's Required $22,848

A single person in this town making that much money would not be living here for long, unless they were in the trailer park (the one that is across the street from the $1.3 million dollar houses.)
post #20 of 196
Thread Starter 
from the site, on how they figure housing costs

The state-level FMR (fair-market rent) data are taken from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, which uses HUD 2005 FMR data.

The county- and place-level data are taken from HUD Fair-Market Rents, FY 2006.

A select few places use HUD Fair-Market Rents, FY 2002. We then adjusted the values to 2004 dollars using the CPI-U.
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