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NextGen Magazine


Study: 57.2 Percent Live in Areas Where Median Wage is Greater Than Living Wage

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Nov 22, 2021

A recent analysis by LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, found that 57.2 percent of American workers are paid, on average, above a living wage in their area, though there are vast differences among states, Fast Company reported. A living wage is defined as a theoretical income level that allows individuals or families to afford adequate shelter, food and other necessities.

To reach their conclusions, LendingTree analysts used the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Living Wage Calculator and jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to find the states with the highest percentage of workers in occupations that pay, on average, above a living wage. Since the average family size in the United States is 3.15, researchers focused on families with two working parents and one child. This is how they came up with the 57.2 percent figure. 

However some areas are much better, while others are much worse. The study found that Washington, D.C., has the highest proportion of people making more than the local living wage, 75.4 percent, followed by North Dakota at 71 percent and Alaska at 70.9 percent. The three worst states were California, at 46.9 percent; Arkansas, 47.6 percent; and Hawaii, 48.4 percent. 

New York ranked just above the bottom quarter, at 37; approximately 53 percent of workers in the Empire State make more than the local living wage.