CHICAGO (NEXSTAR) — If you find yourself struggling to pay bills despite a steady income, you may be simply getting priced out by the high cost of living in your state or metropolitan area.
An updated tool from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is helping Americans determine whether a person’s income is enough to live comfortably in their area.
MIT’s Living Wage Calculator provides a breakdown of typical expenses for individuals and families of up to five people, then determines the income needed to provide for basic expenses for each family size.
“We developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region based on typical expenses,” the creators wrote in a press release. “The tool helps individuals, communities, and employers determine a local wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum standards of living.”
The calculator displays the “living wage” needed to support your family size, as well as the local minimum wage and poverty wage, which is the salary threshold required for federal assistance.
Across many states, minimum wage is enough to keep singles and some small families above the poverty line, but well below the salary required to pay all basic expenses.
The calculator includes required wages for single parents as well as one- and two-income households. Researchers also created statewide breakdowns as well as figures for major metropolitan areas within each state.
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.
You can find your needed minimum income and cost breakdown on the MIT Living Wage Calculator portal.