From New York to Los Angeles, American cities are known around the world for being vibrant, industrious, and constantly growing. Every year, more people are enticed into big cities by unique job opportunities, cultures, landscapes, and communities.
As populations in these cities rise, so too does the cost of living — and if a city’s minimum wage doesn’t increase fast enough to match its growth, residents can be hard-pressed to make ends meet.
This is because minimum wage and a living wage (how much you actually need to earn to get by) aren’t the same thing. The federal minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour, but the living wage in many U.S. cities is much higher.
States and some cities set their own minimum wages to help their citizens break even. While this makes it easier for breadwinners to put food on the table, not all states or cities take this step. Even cities and states that increase the minimum wage almost never set the threshold at the living wage.
If you work a job that pays minimum wage and you want to move to a different city, check that city’s living wage to make sure it would be feasible for you. To help you out, Move.org compiled a list of popular American cities and ranked them based on how easily someone on minimum wage could afford to pay rent there.