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Some sobering truth for today... in no state in the United States can a minimum wage worker to rent a two bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent working the standard 40-hour work week.

You can quibble around the edges of if that is the right way to look at the challenge faced by a massive chunk of our peer citizens. But you can't argue with the fact that this is a big problem.

If you are going to work above 88 hours per week (deep blue states below along the edges and FL) how are you going raise your children, how are you going to take care of your health, how are you going to live?

If you are on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter you are most likely worried about first world problems. Collectively we, and the new batch we just sent to Washington DC, need to figure this problem out. No quick fixes for sure, but we can certainly do better.

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It's unfortunate. I by no means make minimum wage, but as the sole supporter of my wife and two kids I can say that in California it is near impossible, yet what my wife would make on minimum wage would wind up going all to childcare, which would ultimately cancel out her entire paycheck. It's tough, and California is probably one of the worst when it comes to cost of living and clearly this map reflects that.  I agree that this is a major issue. I don't know how anyone on minimum wage can live.
ugh..this comment started off so short....incoming rant :-p

I saw this graph yesterday and it is indeed sad but helps spark other conversations.  One discussion I had with a friend is where we came to the conclusion that 40 hours getting paid the bare minimal is all you will need for "The American Dream."

If you are satisfied with minimum wage then you will never be financially sound.  I'm of the opinion that minimum wage is a starting point for someone who doesn't have the skills or work history to make more and support themselves and others.  It's entry level payment for your start in the workforce.  Minimum wage is for your first job while you are still trying to be self sufficient.  And nobody says you only need to work 40 hours.  Sure many jobs will cut you off to avoid overtime but that doesn't limit you from finding a second part time job.  

I'm not trying to brag but only point out hard work DOES pay off!.  I've been blessed to have 2 jobs for 8+ years now.  I work a 9-5 as a career and a night and weekends job for added comfortable living.  I didn't have that handed to me either.  I worked hard in school, paid my own way, did community college instead of expensive 4 year loans. I've got plenty of debt but my work ethic and determination is erasing all of that. I've sacrificed sitting on the couch playing xbox so I can feed my family of 6 but in the future there will be plenty of xbox ;-) 
+Andy Scott I agree with part of what you said in regards to working hard and it paying off, but at what cost. With working two jobs for so long, how has that impacted your family life? Not blasting you for it by any means, just honestly curious.  What do you sacrifice with your family being that you work 9-5 and then spend your night and weekends working more?
+Mike Wilton I probably only log about 20 hours each week at my night job (restaurant work for the past 3 years, various other night jobs before that) and my children (all under the age of 6) are usually in bed.  I'm at home on mornings and early afternoons on weekends so I still get to seem them every day. My wife is able to live as a "homemaker" like she always wanted and take care of the house and children.  It's a life that has worked well for us.

I will say this as a negative though, having the extra income has been somewhat of a enabler to spend more.  The goal of having the second job was to pay off debt so a second job would no longer be needed but we've adjusted our lives to dial the needle a bit more towards comfortable living instead of super tight budgets and maximum debt repayment.  One day I might go back to just one job but for now I've adjusted to putting in 60+ hours a week and it feels normal to me.
It's helpful to see the chart reflects the wide ranges of costs of living across the country. From the report notes, it looks like the federal minimum wage was used in the calculations even though some states have a higher local rate. Even with that adjustment, it's still going to be a challenge to afford housing on minimum wage. I wonde how an election map would look combined with this data?
Out of curiosity, I'm interested in solutions other than raising minimum wage or providing heavily-subsidized housing.  Any ideas?
The majority of jobs for unskilled labor pay more than minimum wage. An entry level checker at Target makes 12.50 an hour.  The math on a minimum wage job works out to 1160 a month.  Here in MO there are appartments for 200-300 dollars.  They suck but they are a roof over your head.  The graph above is skewed to try and make a politcal point, garbage like this is twisted data mascarading as truth.
I agree, +Michael Klozotsky . Not only are minimum-wage levels a joke, but in many places, finding full-time work even at those starvation wages is very difficult. 

To be honest, I thought Erenreich's reading of the problem was superficial and optimistic, even when the book first came out. 
Raise the minimum wage, jobs go overseas, people live in poverty. Keep it where it's at, people live in poverty. What to do, what to do...
Just a quick note: Minimum wages:

United Kingdom: $9.8/hour
Denmark: $18/hour
France: $12/hour
Australia: $15.6/hour
Canada: $10/hour
Mexico: $4.5/hour

USA: $7.5/hour
China: $0.8/hour

Of course, there are huge differences in income tax, housing prices, and general living costs, as well. So we cannot compare it as simply as this.

Also take a look at We The Tiny House People (Documentary): Small Homes, Tiny Flats & Wee Shelters ... a great documentary about people living in tiny houses, most of which are illegal because the US housing regulations prohibits small houses to be build (that's why many build them on trailers).
Shocked no one has mentioned the devaluation of the dollar. This will get much worse as the second and third waves of stimulus hit. When you hedge debt on future labor after dumping huge amounts of reserve notes, you get massive inflation. Keynes wrote about this extensively. Problem is he never accounted for our debt and thus, arbitrarily applied reasonable, low caps.
It will also be interesting to see what happens as full time jobs devolve to part time due to new healthcare law.
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