How Far Does An $11 Minimum Wage Get You?

Walmart recently announced it would be raising their minimum starting wage to $11 an hour. The announcement comes on the heels of the new federal tax overhaul, a tightening labor market, and increased pressure from around the country for higher state minimum wages. The move is rightly garnering some praise, however it does beg the question of whether or not its enough. How far does an $11 minimum wage go?

America is a diverse country with hundreds of cities and metropolitan areas. location matters, and the cost of living varies widely based on that location. It’s difficult to pin down what a “typical” American cost of living is, which is why City vs City focuses on the true cost of living at the zip code level. 

Major urban centers such as New York, Los Angeles, etc see higher median housing costs as well as higher earnings. On the other hand, rural areas and suburbs tend to have a lower cost of living. Location matters.

An $11 minimum wage is well above the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. At the state level, it surpasses nearly every state’s own minimum wage. Notable exceptions include:  California ($11), Massachusetts ($11), Washington State ($11.50), and the District of Columbia ($12.50).

Is It Enough?

For half of the people reading this, an $11 minimum wage might sound like music to your ears. For the other half, it’s not enough to get by. Again, location matters. An $11 minimum wage works out to roughly $22,880 per year.

This is well below the federal poverty level of $12,140 for a single person. However, it is also far below the average US salary of  $44,564 per year. Of course the location, type of job, and hours worked vary greatly.

Wages have been slow to increase in the US over the past few decades, and depending on location, $11 an hour could go a long way.  Location matters, which is why City vs City examines cost of living at the zip code level.

Using accurate, local information, our app calculates the true cost of living in your city. Then, we compare it with another city of your choosing. The result is a side by side comparison with your current living cost and what you can expect in another city.

Download the City vs City app today to find out more.