Are you earning a living wage? Tool calculates income needed for singles, parents in all 50 states

CHICAGO (NEXSTAR) — If you’re struggling to pay your bills despite having a steady income, you may just be overrated by the high cost of living in your state or metro area.

An updated tool from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology helps Americans determine if a person’s income is enough to live comfortably in their area.

MIT Living Wage Calculator provides a breakdown of typical expenses for individuals and families of up to five, then determines the income needed to meet basic expenses for each family size.

“We’ve developed a Living Wage Calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region based on typical expenses,” the creators wrote in a press release. “The tool helps individuals, communities and employers determine a local wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum living standards.”

The calculator displays the “living wage” needed to support your family size, as well as the local minimum wage and poverty wage, which is the wage threshold required for federal assistance.

In many states, the minimum wage is enough to keep single people and some small families above the poverty line, but well below the wage required to pay all basic expenses.

The calculator includes required wages for single parents as well as single and dual income households. The researchers also created statewide breakdowns as well as numbers for each state’s major metropolitan areas.

Income data is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and expense calculations are based on public information, including housing cost figures from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

You can find the minimum income you need and the cost breakdown on the MIT Living Wage Calculator gate.

Michael A. Bynum