Here’s the Gap Between the Minimum Wage and Cost of Living in Philly

Spoiler: It's huge.

A new tool by MIT shows the enormous gulf between the minimum wage in and the cost of living in Philadelphia.

The state’s $7.25 minimum wage would need to be raised to $24.10 for a parent with a spouse and two children to be able to support their family in Philly, according to MIT urban studies professor Amy Glasmeier’s analysis. For a single adult, it would need to be boosted to $11.59 to meet a minimum standard of living.

The Living Wage Calculator maps the gap between the minimum wage and cost of living in cities and counties throughout the country, with darker shades of red indicating a greater difference. Philadelphia is pretty red:

Map by MIT

Map by MIT

Unsurprisingly, places such as Washington, D.C., Boston and New York City are an even deeper shade of red. In D.C., the living wage for a parent supporting a spouse and two kids is $28.33, according to the analysis. In Suffolk County, where Boston is located, it’s $27.01. In fact, the map shows there isn’t a place in the country where the minimum wage exceeds the living wage for a parent with a spouse and two children.

Advocates for a $15 minimum wage have recently been pressing on City Council, which returned this week from its summer recess, to adopt a local wage. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a bill earlier this year that would ask voters if officials should back a higher minimum wage, and Council held a hearing on the minimum wage in March.

But Council members seem unlikely to approve a local wage for now. The hurdle? State law bars municipalities from setting their own minimum wage. Activists say a loophole would enable Philadelphia to get around that, but both the city law department and Council President Darrell Clarke have said they don’t believe Philly has the authority to establish a wage.