How Much Is Really a ‘Living Wage’ in Every State?

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Can you afford to live where you are? The legal minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 an hour, and some states and a few cities set their minimum wages higher.

But the cost of living varies a great deal across the country. If you’re in San Francisco, you’ll need a lot more than in Mississippi. And even in lower-cost areas, a minimum wage may not be enough to support a family.

Merriam-Webster defines a living wage as “sufficient to provide the necessities and comforts essential to an acceptable standard of living.” Researchers calculate a “living wage” for an idea of the minimum needed for basic necessities, taking into account local, regional or state costs.

We used the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator for a state-by-state look at what it takes to earn a basic standard of living.

This slideshow starts with areas where the living wage is highest. See if you make a living wage for your state.

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