Did you ever wonder what it would be like to live in NYC on $15/hour if you were a single parent with one school-aged child? The Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York City 2018 defines the amount of income necessary to meet the basic needs of New York City families, differentiated by family type and where they live.
So let’s go there: You made $15/hr and you worked 40 hours per week which equals $31,200 per year before taxes. The self-sufficiency standard varies, depending on where you live. Anyone who has lived in NYC knows that living in the Bronx is less expensive than living in mid-Manhattan. So the swing for this single parent with one child ranges from $51,180 - $85,877 depending on where they live. This includes food, transporatation, childcare, healthcare. Anyway you look at it, $15 does not meet the needs of this family.
The hourly wage would have to be at least $25 per hour for that parent and child to live in NYC or they would have to move in with another family to share the costs.
This is not to say that the federally hourly wage shouldn’t be raised to $15. It should. But it’s important to note that not all states, towns and cities have the same costs and this hourly wage of $15/hour is the minimum! So let’s not pat ourselves on the backs quite yet. If people deserve a living wage, we have to consider an hourly wage that is not just minimum - it has to be livable