Do you make the living wage in Tennessee?

Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Not sure if you earn a living wage? A tool from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can help determine if your income is enough to make a comfortable living where you call home.

The Living Wage Calculator determines the living wage — the hourly rate that an individual in a household must earn to support his or herself and their family — for each county and metropolitan area based on the number of children and incomes that are in each household.

According to the calculator, the minimum wage for Tennessee ($7.25) does not fulfill the average living wage in any of the 95 counties, regardless of home size.


What is defined as a “Living Wage”

MIT’s Living Wage Calculator guide defines the living wage as what’s needed to cover basic family expenses (basic needs budget) plus all relevant taxes. The values are reported in 2020 dollars.

For a full breakdown of the data, click here.


Based on MIT’s calculation, the average living wage for a single adult with no children to get by in Tennessee is $13.25. The wage is $6.00 higher than the minimum wage.

The living wage is drastically increased for parents across the board, but especially for single parents. In Tennessee, the average living wage for a single parent of one child is $26.30. Each additional child in a single-parent household equates to about $6-8 more per child.

In Tennessee, a single parent with one child would need to make a living wage of $26.30 – 263% higher than the current minimum wage.

For a single parent with two children, the living wage jumps to $32.10 – which is 343% higher than the minimum wage.

Overall, the state minimum wage does not fulfill the living wage for single adult households, according to the calculator. The minimum wage in Tennessee also falls below the poverty wage in single-parent households on average.

Households with one adult/single-parents

Tennessee Avg.Non-ParentOne ChildTwo ChildrenThree Children
Living Wage$13.25$26.30$32.10$40.89
Poverty Wage$6.13$8.29$10.44$12.60
MIT Living Wage Calculator results for single people and parents in Tennessee

The average living wage for a household of two adults with one income doesn’t have the same drastic spikes when children are added ($3-5 more per child). But, like single adult households, Tennessee’s minimum wage does not fulfill the living wage requirements.

Households with two adults and one income

Tennessee Avg.Non-ParentsOne ChildTwo ChildrenThree Children
Living Wage$21.44$25.58$28.97$31.06
Poverty Wage$8.29$10.44$12.60$14.75
MIT Living Wage Calculator results for two-adult homes living on one income in Tennessee

The state’s minimum wage also falls below the living wage average in Tennessee for households with two working adults, and below the poverty wage starting at three children.

Households with two working adults

Tennessee Avg.Non-ParentsOne ChildTwo ChildrenThree Children
Living Wage$10.72$14.45$17.82$20.53
Poverty Wage$4.14$5.22$6.30$7.38
MIT Living Wage Calculator results for homes with two working adults in Tennessee

To see all wage calculations in Tennessee by county, click here.

And to see wage calculations from across the United States, click here.

Income data is pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and expense calculations are based on public information, including U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development housing costs figures.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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