A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Last Revised: Mar 01, 2013 - Initial Posting: Aug 23, 2005

The Living Wage Calculator helps reflect poverty rates among the working poor for use with public policymaking and planning, as well as advocacy initiatives.


Living Wage CalculatorThe Poverty in America Project features a Living Wage Calculator that presents living wage estimates for individual locations throughout the United States.  Data is presented on basic monthly expenses according to family size and composition to compute the level of gross annual income required to afford the cost-of-living.  A Living Wage (per hour) is then compared to:

  • Typical wages for various professions
  • Poverty level
  • Minimum wage

It is largely recognized that Federal Poverty Guidelines are much lower than self-sufficiency levels - see Measuring Poverty in the United States from the National Center for Children in Poverty or the New Yorker article: Relatively Deprived: How Poor is Poor.

Measuring Poverty in the United States - National Center for Children in PovertyThe project has also involved research and data development and the publication of papers on Poverty in America Today and the Number of Working Poor Families Growing in America.

An Atlas on Poverty in America has also been developed, which depicts different levels of community economic health across the U.S.


Efforts to promote living wage job opportunities combined with efforts to help families meet basic living expenses such as food, housing, childcare, transportation, and health care are vital toward achievement of ROMA National Goal #2: The Conditions in Which Low-Income People Live are Improved.


Amy Glasmeier, Department of Urban Studies and Planning