How much does a $15 minimum wage buy in your state?

Raising the minimum wage to $15 is a hot topic in D.C. and in state capitols across the country. The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009, but 29 states have passed their own minimum wage laws that set the rate higher than the federal rate, ranging from $7.50 in Arkansas, Maine and New Mexico to $9.25 in Oregon and $9.47 in Washington.

The Pew Research Center calculated what $15 would be worth in different cities across the U.S. taking into account the cost of living, which reveals the purchasing power of the minimum wage. For example, the report says that a a national $15 minimum wage would equal about $17.08 worth of purchasing power in Macon, Georgia, but only $12.26 in New York City. 

The Pew Center calculated these estimates using data on regional price parities for each of the 381 metropolitan statistical areas. The regional price parities were developed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and designed to measure the difference in local price levels of goods and services across the country, relative to the overall national price level.


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