Employer contributions and public resources significantly change living wage requirements: Hourly wage that constitutes a “living wage” under selected scenarios

All income from full-time wages 19% of income from other sources Health insurance premium paid in full by employer Child care capped at 7% of income
Los Angeles  $46.21   $37.43   $43.81   $42.31 
New York  $52.02   $42.14   $46.92   $47.35 
Chicago  $37.97   $30.75   $35.32   $34.43 
Houston $32.74   $26.52   $29.82   $30.66 
Philadelphia $37.84   $30.65   $34.97   $34.58 

Notes: Living wages presented here are based on EPI’s Family Budget Calculator for the five largest metro areas based on a full-time worker supporting a two-person family (one adult and one child). EPI’s family budgets assume a one-child family has a four-year-old. Each policy scenario is independent, not cumulative, and holds constant all values that are based on other budget components, including other necessities and taxes. The third scenario zeroes out health insurance premium costs while retaining out-of-pocket health care expenses. 19% of income from other sources comes from the average incomes for four family types published by the CBO (CBO 2022). 19% is made up of social insurance and means tested transfers (10%) and nonwage market income (9%).

Source: Analysis of EPI’s Family Budget Calculator (EPI 2024a). 

View the underlying data on epi.org.