Clawson: The Minimum Wage Isn’t a Living Wage in Any State in the US

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Reprinted from The Daily Kos by Laura Clawson on November 25, 2016.

“The highest minimum wage in the country is $11.50 an hour, in Washington, D.C.,” writes Laura Clawson in The Daily Kos. “This is something of a problem, because the lowest living wage for a single adult in the country is $14.50, in South Dakota. South Dakota’s minimum wage, meanwhile, is $8.55 an hour, while the District of Columbia’s single adult living wage is $21.92.

“Those numbers come to us courtesy of a new report from the People’s Action Institute. The big picture:

“‘Forty-three states have a living wage above $15 per hour for a single adult, and in no state can a single adult make ends meet on less than $14.50 per hour. Yet, only nine states have a minimum wage greater than $9 per hour and while California and Massachusetts reach $10 per hour, each still falls well short of providing a living wage. …

The Daily Kos 11/25

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at

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