10 cities where it's most terrifying to scrape by on minimum wage


Yesterday, New York became the first state to approve a $15 minimum wage for the state’s 200,000 fast-food cooks and cashiers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the occasion to announce a campaign to make New York the first state in the nation to adopt the same standard for all of its workers.

In fact, workers making minimum wage in New York counties have had it relatively easy, at least compared with the following 10 counties that, according to MIT data compiled by Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and mapping group ESRI, have the widest gaps between living wages and minimum wages for a two-spouse, two-child family:

10.   Spotsylvania County, Va.: minimum wage: $7.25 ; living wage $27.45

9.     Fairfax County Va.: minimum wage: $7.25 ; living wage $27.45

8.     Loudon County, Va.: minimum wage: $7.25 ; living wage $27.45

7.     Prince William County, Va.: minimum wage: $7.25 ; living wage $27.45

6.     Kauai County, HI: minimum wage: $7.25 ; living wage $20.22

5.     Marin County, Calif.: minimum wage: $9.00; living wage $21.31

4.     San Francisco County, Calif.: minimum wage: $9.00 ; living wage $21.31

3.     San Mateo County, Calif.: minimum wage: $9.00 ; living wage $21.31

2.    Nantucket County, Mass.: minimum wage: $8.00 ; living wage $29.33

1.    Honolulu County, HI: minimum wage $7.25; living wage $28.95

ESRI also created this interactive heat map showing the gap between the current minimum wage in a given jurisdiction and its cost of living for different-sized families.

A couple of the above counties could soon see some relief. They are located in eight states that are considering raising their minimum wages to at least $12, according to data put together by the National Employment Law Project (NELP). Here’s a map I put together using NELP’s data:

Paul Sonn, NELP legal co-director, says Massachusetts will likely be the next state to approve $15 minimum wage legislation that would cover fast-food and big-box retail workers; a hearing on that state’s bill is scheduled for October.

Sonn also said Oregon’s $13.50 minimum wage act would likely pass early next year, while Portland has its own $15 minimum wage effort underway, and Washington, D.C., is likely to put a $15 minimum wage measure on its ballot in 2016.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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