What it takes to make a living in Penobscot County

Letters submitted by BDN readers are vetted by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

For US counties, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology publishes a living wage calculatorupdated annually.

The calculator describes the “living wage” as “the minimum income standard which, if met, draws a fine line between the financial independence of the working poor and the need to seek public assistance or suffer from food insecurity. and housing constant and serious”.

The calculator’s first graph, adjusted for each county and adjusted for various numbers of adults and children in a household, shows the wages each worker must earn year-round to support the household. Full-time, year-round employment is assumed to be 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year (2,080 hours).

Other graphs show a household’s annual expenses and the typical wage for various types of work if the worker was employed year-round.

The technical notes list the assumptions used in calculating the figures. For example, expenses do not include funds for entertainment, unpaid vacations or holidays, prepared meals and restaurants, or savings for the purchase of a home or retirement.

For Penobscot Countyfor example, the living wage needed to support a one-person household is $14.35 per hour, full-time, full-year ($29,848 per year).

For two adults and two children, one of whom works, the annual income must be $65,894 ($31.68 per hour for 2,080 hours). If both adults are working (two children), the income must be $85,405 (each worker $20.53 per hour, full time, full year).

Chris Keefe


Michael A. Bynum