Minimum wage is a hot-button issue these days. Everyone from politicians to podcast hosts is fiercely debating the subject—and with good reason. The US hasn’t raised its minimum wage since 2009 when it was set at $7.25. Meanwhile, living costs across the country have only gone up. The result is that the federal minimum wage is no longer livable in many places.
Luckily, some cities and states have set their own minimum wages to try to solve this problem, some with more success than others. To find out which US cities are the most affordable for people who make minimum wage, we compared the average rent in the US’s most populous cities to the minimum wage in those cities.
We found that the federal minimum wage just doesn’t cut it in most places. In the least livable cities, you’d have to work close to 200 hours every month while making minimum wage just to pay rent—let alone buy groceries, save up for a house, or afford hobbies. Luckily, the situation isn’t that bleak everywhere.
Whether you’re looking for an affordable place to move to or you’re just trying to get informed before you debate your uncle at the next family gathering, our analysis provides all the information you need.