Whether to move after college, and where to move to, are never easy questions. Often, if you’re lucky enough to find a job, it’s not a choice at all. But for those of us who set out to find ourselves, and hopefully a career, in a distant city (probably), it’s a gamble. It’s getting to be a riskier and riskier gamble, too, as evidenced by two fascinating maps we came across.

The New York Times reported fascinating research on metro areas and educational attainment, conducted by the Brookings Institution. The study found that between 1970 and today, the gaps in educational attainment between metro areas has grown considerably. Whereas in 1970, Dayton and San Francisco weren’t all that different, today the differences are vast. In 1970, the average metro population was 12 percent college graduates — New York was right there, average. Washington, D.C. was the most educated city in the nation at that time with 22.4% of the population having at least a bachelor’s degree. Now, 32 percent of the U.S. metro population has a college degree, and the gap between uneducated cities and educated ones has grown considerably: Bakersfield, Calif., the least educated, has just 15 percent college grads while DC boasts nearly 50 percent bachelor’s degree attainment.

Cities that lag on the jobs front cannot attract college grads like cities that do not. San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston, Stamford, Raleigh, Minneapolis, Denver and Austin lead the pack by several percentage points each. Stratification of all sorts seems to be the name of the game in the U.S. these days: is there any measurable metric of success that isn’t distributed more unequally now than it was 40 years ago?

This would seem to make your choice of metro area easy, right? Go where the grads and the jobs are. You don’t need The New York Times to tell you to avoid Dayton and Bakersfield, and instead seek opportunities in Raleigh or the Twin Cities or the Bay Area — that’s obvious.

While we’re on the topic: check out our guide to where you can live for free after graduation; cheap alternatives to expensive cities; and 10 U.S. cities’ affordability index.

But the second map, which we spotted over at The Billfold, spells trouble for this strategy. The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently put out a map showing, state-by-state, how many hours a week a minimum wage earner would have to work to afford a fair market rate two-bedroom apartment. It isn’t pretty. There isn’t a state in the union where you can put in 40 hours a week at $7.25 — the federal minimum, though some states are higher — and afford to house your family. West Virginia comes closest, at 63 hours a week. Washington, D.C., that most educated of metros, leads the pack with 140 hours. 140 hours! You would need to work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to pull that off.

And yet Washington, D.C. just so happens to house the legislature that has not raised the federal minimum wage since 2007 — at which point it was $5.15! At $5.15 an hour, you would need to work 197 hours a week for an apartment (going off of NLIHC’s numbers), which would require that weeks be eight days long.

California, New York and Massachusetts all place high on the scale as well.

So, some cities are dead-ends for employment befitting a college grad, and some are perfect for it. Unfortunately, those that offer employment opportunities are terrifyingly expensive for the precise fact that they offer employment opportunities. Also, these cities are a bit precious about their own history, and therefore averse to allowing for tall, out-of-scale development. Matthew Yglesias, author of The Rent is Too Damn High, argues in his book that, were zoning laws in these cities relaxed to allow for more development, housing would be cheaper and these cities would thrive still more. Housing is a product, and it is hopelessly scarce in the cites where it is most in demand; unshackling the housing supply from its faux-scarcity in these cities would bring down its value, making housing more affordable.

That, or municipalities can raise local minimum wages to bring them in check with reality. San Francisco, for instance, has. Of course, that hasn’t made housing any cheaper in the city, exactly.

Your policy professionals haven’t done well by you, young graduates. Don’t forget that, on top of paying exorbitant rents to live in the ghettos of yesteryear, you’ll be paying down those student loans. It’s not pretty, but at least we made a handy guide to the cheapest, best neighborhoods in the astonishingly expensive cities we must call home.

Otherwise, Madison, Wis. and Raleigh, N.C., are two of your best buys if you’re looking for low cost of living and lots of jobs. Take note, young people with dreams of a crappy Brooklyn apartment!

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  • Alex Matjanec

    Classic case of supply and demand.

  • Gil Jacobsen

    Dang, where’s the overlay showing the male-to-female ratio?

  • Filby

    Good point on zoning regulations being at fault, but bad point on minimum wage. Most people earning the lowest wages aren’t concerned with paying rent, but with getting a summer job or building skills which allow them to move up the economic ladder. Minimum wage kicks out the bottom rungs of the economic ladder and hurts the poorest and weakest members of society.

    • See, I think we actually agree on this? I think you’re assuming that minimum wage earners are only teenagers, and that unfortunately is not the case — plenty of people try to make a living on minimum wage (ask the Walton family!).

      • Brett Koenig

        Walmart does not pay minimum wage for any job where I live. Even the people who just collect carts and bring them back from the parking lot make more than minimum wage. At least they did when I worked in a grocery store. I was union grocery store worker and my Walmart counterpart made more than me.

        • Erynn Schwellinger

          Because 7.45 is THAT much a more viable wage.

      • Justin McKay

        @Willy if you look at the demographics of the minimum wage earner, you will find one thing in common. They lack the education for a better paying job. The opportunity is already there for them to obtain a better education. It is generally a lack of effort which keeps them from getting that education. Society should not provide additional funds without additional effort. It is up to the individual to make the right choices that help them achieve a better job in the future.

        • Anne Smith

          @Justin  Say What?! Let’s say a student who is under 24 has parents who for whatever reason cannot or will not co-sign a Government Parent-Plus Student loan…my daughter was offered $5500 to cover in-state tuition cost of $22,000.  At minimum wage working full time while going to difficult classes full time, she can only hope to make about $15,000. Last year she made that much waitressing full time at an Applebee’s restaurant while in school.  If you do the math you can see she has no hope of making a year’s tuition. Sallie Mae offered her an adjustable rate student loan that quoted her interest rates up to 25%!! with an asterisked remark that said 25% was not the maximum interest that could be charged and it could go higher!. But alas it also needed parents to cosign, so we opted for the parent-plus loan. I thought about what students do who don’t have parents who qualify to cosign or won’t cosign. They don’t go to college is what happens, unless they are lucky enough to get a scholarship, but there are not enough scholarships to go around to every kid who wants to go to college. They work full time and pay for classes as they can, sometimes taking a decade to graduate.  In the meantime, they have the privilege of having someone like you call them lazy or telling them it’s their fault due to lack of effort.

    • Erynn Schwellinger

      In my experiance, most people who make minimum wage or closed to it are people, from a massive veriety of jobs. Go to a 24 hour grocery store at night. How many people there do you think make more than $9 an hour? If any? Including the night premium. Now take a look at their age-ranges. EVERYONE is there. EVERYONE. 19-64. 2 kids and a spouse, university graduates… and $9 an hour isn’t enough to make rent.
      Now have a look around the day shift. There are adults there. There’s adults in the fast food place, too. How much do you think your waitress is being paid next time you go to a shitty restraunt?
      More than just teenagers have jobs with minimum wage. People who are looking for work – any work – for whatever reason they have. There’s a LOT of them right now.

      • GenY-DC

        Waiters and waitresses get paid around $2.40/hr and the difference between that and minumum wage acts as a credit if you don’t make it in tips (I avg. $15/hr weekdays, $20/hr weekends). As for people in supermarkets; when I worked there (2007) I started at $8.45/hr but because I worked hard and looked for ways to learn new skills and help others when I left in 2009 I was making $10.75/hr. They’ll keep you on and give you decent rasies as long as you’re a valuable team player.

  • brandon davidson

    From this I deduce that the areas with the most government regulation have the highest cost of living.

    • Correlation and causation: not the same thing!

      The irony here, of course, is that suburbs (which I imagine you’re defending?) are actually still more Draconian when it comes to zoning regulations, in an intentional effort to limit housing supply and protect property values. Streets must be wide enough to allow fire trucks to to a U-turn, no mixed-use, minimum lot acreage, etc.

      The driver of increased price in these cities is increased demand, plain and simple — it’s much more a market-driven effect than your comment would suggest. What Yglesias is arguing is that cities facing this increase in demand have outdated zoning laws, and they ought to make an effort to increase their housing supplies in response.

  • asmith

    There is so much information missing information this is impossible to evaluate.

    Why is a college Grad making minimum wage ?
    Why is an entry level worker seeking to house a family ?

    While it might be reasonable to question whether actually poor families can live on a minimum wage.

    At the same time i would presume that a recent college grad would have the sufficient intelligence not to need a two bedroom apartment until they could afford it.

    In my city 400 sq.ft. efficiencies – that is half the size of a family home in 1950, are going for about $400/month. or approximately 30% of ones minimum wage income. The general rule of thumb is that housing should cost 25-35% of your wages.

    This all ignore the fact that the average starting salary in 2011 for a college grad is $48,000.
    Or enough to pay the mortgage on a $300,000 home.

    As a city landlord, none of my tenants are college graduates. Few are high school graduates. Most are receiving significant government assistance.

    I am lucky if I break even – without placing any value on my time.
    My primary cost is the mortgage on the building. But the next largest cost is the myriads of county and city taxes, permits and fees, further as the mortgage is fixed, it is tax and fee increases that directly drive rent increases. The next major cost is code enforcement.
    Most tenants are relatively destructive. I generally have to replace the 10 year smoke detectors the city requires in each room, every year. I rarely have time to perform the real repairs that the building might actually need because I am too busy dealing with couches and mattresses that tenants or others have left in front of my building, or trash that was not collected because no one took their trash out, or the city wigging out because the grass in the back yard is now 4″ high. While real improvements like renovating kitchens and baths upgrading appliances, installing better locks, and lighting, sealing or replacing windows, languish because time is wasted dealing with the trivialities the city cares about.

    If you are a prospective tenant and want to know how to keep your rent down, it is simple.

    Your apartment is your home. Take care of it. Grasp that with very few exceptions much of what goes wrong is your responsibility. An empty apartment has no pests, the lights do not burn out, the toilet does not clog, fixtures do not get damaged. Smoke detectors do not disappear or mysteriously die, windows do not break. Carpet does not get burned. Stoves do not get dirty, …. If these or any of myriads of other things that are just part of life happen while you live there – take care of them yourself. And for god’s sake do not call the city building inspector everytime your light bulb burns out. Don’t try to heat your apartment using your stove, and don’t throw away the smoke detector when it goes off because you are heating your home with the stove. And pay your rent on time all the time.

    As a landlord, if you do not cost me money. If you take care of your place. If you leave as nice or better than you found it, When i have to raise the rent, I will start with other tenants.
    If you want to paint your apartment – I will pay for all the supplies. If you treat your apartment like it was your home, i will leave you alone. Never raise your rent, give you an excellent reference and be sad to see you go.

    The supply of inexpensive decent apartments is determined by the supply of reliable self-sufficient tenants. When you increase a landlords costs, your increasing your rent.

    And i would note we live in the internet era. Tenants can check out prospective landlords and apartments before they rent – and landlords can check out prospective tenants before renting. When i process an application, the first thing I do is call the prior landlord. If you are going to be a difficult and expensive tenant. I will know and decide accordingly. If you were a difficult and expensive tenant for me, your next prospective landlord will know too.

    When your application is being constantly denied and the only places you can rent are pretty bad – AND expensive, it is not because you only make minimum wage. It is because the word has gotten out that your trouble, and your not getting into the better places.

    • Erynn Schwellinger

      OK, I work nights and it’s 7:31 AM. So TL:DR.
      But “Why is a college Grad making minimum wage ?”
      Seriously? You need to ask that? With the job market where it is most college grads are lucky to get ANY work AT ALL. So yea, a lot of them work minimum wage. The people you see stocking the shelves at wal-mart when you go in there? Yea, at least one of them probably has a degree. And no, it isn’t a personal failing that resulted in a lack of a well-paid job. There simply aren’t the jobs.

    • Praelium

      Bravo. Excellent advice. Rent a nice apartment, keep it clean, pay the rent on time, fix minor things yourself, and be kind to the landlord. Then the neighbors will chill, the rent won’t go up, and the complex becomes quieter and safer. Why be cool and ethical? To have reasonable rent and a good reference.

    • Ian Kinzel

      $48,000 starting salary for a college grad? You’re kidding me, right? I graduated in 2010 from UC Davis and I’m on pace to make a whopping $5,600 on the year. Out of all the people I knew in college, and all the recent grads I know, I’d be really interested to know if any of them are making over $25k. I don’t know of any.

    • Maureen Owen

      There is so much “information missing information” (do you have a verbal impediment that complements your thinking impediment?) that it is impossible to evaluate. So I won’t. Except to say you are such an accomplished liar and distorter of the facts in the article that you should send your resume to Romney/Ryan pronto.

      And why do you want someone to leave your place *better* than they found it? That means you want free labor. There is so much “information missing information” with your post that it is impossible to evaluate, other than you are a greedy fart. Oh, and learn to spell fourth grade words such as “you’re.” You should leave the English language better than you found it.

    • Sonnyconder

      Happy to see someone is looking at these mapped “factoids” a little bit critically. The map, the language and the legend for the map imply that you have to work 60, 70 or even 100 hours per week to afford a 2 bedroom apartment. Knowing the minimum wage and median apartment rents for a number of jurisdictions I am quickly able to deduce that conclusion rests on comparing a weekly income to a monthly rent! Comparing monthly income to monthly rent quickly yields economically tenable results of roughly 30 – 50% of minimum wage income for rent. Comparable to Survey of Current Expenditures rates of 40 – 60% for all housing related expenditures for roughly the same income groupings. Shame on this publication for being so sloppy! If something looks incredible, it is!

    • Nicholas Haley

      Gross pay for $7.25 @ 40/ week = roughly $1,250/ month, based on 4.3 weeks per month. That’s more than $1,000 after taxes. In my city (Las Vegas), there are plenty of places where you can rent a two-bedroom place for under $600 and not fear for your safety. This can be verified by anyone with access to Craig’s List.

      I have no idea how they are coming up with these calculations.

      • PliedPsyche

        Graduates have to pay off hefty student loans in addition, and also eat food. Also consider that many grads do not work a full-time job as there are few available.

  • Michael

    I agree with the general point, but the math is very suspect.
    70 hrs* 4 weeks* $7.25 = $2030/month.
    88 hrs * 4 weeks* $7.25 = $2552/month.
    Even in very expensive, very restricted areas like New York you can find an apartment for significantly less than $2,000/month if you need to. Obviously that doesn’t include all other expenses and living on minimum wage is very hard and made harder by high rents. I agree with the general article. I just don’t understand how they worked out the math to get the numbers they did. Also, if you’re one person working minimum wage, maybe you wouldn’t get a “fair market” 2 bedroom apartment, duh.

    • Well I think the point is that a.) an 80 hour workweek is more than a bit excessive and b.) you cannot raise a family on minimum wage — this is the reason for the two-bedroom consideration. In theory it should be a living wage, and it most certainly is not anymore.

      • Gmama

        it isn’t that complex, wait until you are married to have children so you will have two incomes AND don’t have kids if you cannot afford them. Minimum wage is designed for entry level low skill jobs, not head of family jobs. If you show up on time, not hungover or high, do a good job and make yourself valuable to your employer you move up in income.

        • This is excellent career advice, I’ll give you that. You can’t deny the fact that the minimum wage has stagnated for the last four decades, though, while corporate share of profits has skyrocketed. It’s a transfer of wealth from worker to shareholder, plain and simple.

          I agree that people could be wiser about family planning, but I’m not trying to tell people how to live. I just think the corporate-profit-pie could be shared differently.

          • Gmama

            Well I don’t care how anyone lives UNTIL they begin complaining that things aren’t fair. I also don’t think I know the magic formula for deciding how much a corporation should profit.

            Furthermore it really is that simple, according to census data people who finish high school get any full-time job and wait until they are married and 21 before having children have only a 2% chance of living in poverty. There are jobs that cannot be filled, and Americans refuse to do them. If you were hiring someone would you hire the person who previously worked full time at minimum wage or the person who had collected welfare and told you they were better than the minimum wage jobs offered. Now add to the mix that the first candidate finished high school and the other did not.

            • Erynn Schwellinger

              It’s designed for, but is not used for, entry level jobs. As for ‘wait until you have two incomes’ – seriously? Do you know ANYTHING about infant development? That’s FAR from the optimal situation for a baby OR a pregnant woman. How long do you think she’s going to get off work, paid, to have her baby? A month? Two? Try not at all. Most places won’t give paid maternity leave. And unpaid maternity leave… if you’re relying on two incomes, how, exactly, are you going to pay for that? She’s going to need to be working at 9 months and then a week after she gives birth? How is that OK? How is that even supposed to be viable? How is the infant supposed to develop properly without time with it’s parents? How is breast feeding going to be viable in the long term? Or even the short term. Breast pumps don’t work like a baby suckling. The actual suckling needs to happen, and regularly.
              As for ‘do a good job and make yourself valuable’… do you remember what it’s like to be working a shitty job because there aren’t any other options for an employer who only cares about you when you don’t do a fantastic job and ignores you the rest of the time? Because that’s what nearly every low paid job is like.
              Employers do not pay people a fair wage, by large, if they do not have to.
              Also, judging people by their not being at the poverty line is unrealistic. Even up to 200% of the poverty line, there are SERIOUS financial difficulties surrounding child-birth, pre-natal care and child rearing.
              Americans, by large refuse to fill jobs that are underpaid and overworked – jobs like farm work, where people aren’t paid nearly enough for the INCREADIBLE physical hell they put their bodies through… because the people at the supermeket don’t want to pay more for their food. People want a living wage if they’re going to break their backs every day. They don’t get it. What’s the point of working for a wage that doesn’t pay the bills and doesn’t leave enough time to search for other work?
              As for welfare – that isn’t an issue here. I don’t even know why you brought it up. This is about WORK. Minimum wage should be better than welfare, and that’s a fact of life. But this isn’t about welfare and it shouldn’t be factored in.
              Nor should the pitiful excuse for a ‘which one would you hire’. That presumes there’s a job to be had. Have you looked at the employment statistics lately? Even better, have you looked at what percentage of available jobs are full time and exceed minimum wage? Your statements smack of having forgotten or never been in a situation where minimum wage – or just over it – was all you had to work with for you and your family.
              Even more than that, you presume that people always have been making minimum wage and, somehow, when they get a better job they’ll keep that and be secure forever. That doesn’t happen. In fact in the last few years lay-offs have been huge. Families that WERE stable and making enough now make close to nothing as people kill themselves to try and take care of their children. You show no understanding of the current job market or the volatility of life.

              • Gmama

                Uhhhh I have 3 kids, but thanks for the lecture on infant development. I was married before I had them and had two stable incomes. In fact we gave up a lot to allow me to stay home and work at freelance jobs for the first few years of my kids lives. I know it is difficult for you to comprehend, but there should be two people able to bring income into the family before a baby is brought into the world. A single woman without substantial savings to weather the post natal period should consider getting a gerbil, not having a baby.

                God forbid anyone work hard. In high school at the age of 16 I worked as a home health aide. That job involves lifting overweight incontinent elderly people and cleaning their waste when they soil themselves. It wasn’t exactly high end. Most of the patients had no idea if I was there or not. However I made sure that although no one was watching I treated them with dignity and respect and tried to make them as comfortable as possible. It did teach me to work hard and take pride in my work and develop a reverence for the helpless.

                Get trained to be a machinist, there are plenty of jobs.

                • Andrew

                  Way to go. Skim an article proving by the numbers that there isn’t as much opportunity as there used to be, and respond by simply asserting that there is, because you worked hard. Brilliant analysis.

                • Hilary

                  @Gmama, given that 85% of single parent households are headed by women, a majority of which were married prior to becoming single mothers it seems as if your assessment is a tad niave. Single mothers also work on average slightly more outside the home than their married counter part while only 1 in 3 actually receives support (an average of $300/mo). Given the astronomical cost of child care and lower wages for women, you see where I’m going……feel free to actually read census data, its all there. Or, you can continue to make value judgments based on supposition about work ethic and waiting.

    • In addition to daily living expenses, there is also a thing called “taxes” which needs to be added into your math.

    • Erynn Schwellinger

      No State tax included, 70 hours becomes 1725.5. Keeping in mind that is one 40 hour a week job and one 30. That’s still a lot, and yes, no-one working minimum wage is going to get a 2 bed 2 bath on their own…. but surely two jobs counts for something here? I was paying over $700 for a 1 bed 1 bath in Georgia. That’s not a lot of money left to work with given the amount of work that is being done – including several 18 hour days in a row (each 8 hour shift requiring a 1 hour lunchbreak)…. or no weekends at all. They worked with an average of rents, not the cheapest rents – which are, in my experience, still well out of viable reach when including food bills, fuel costs, health insurance and utility bills. This is still not a viable option to expect from the poorest elements of the population.

    • ouch

      you also need to take into account taxes

  • james cranford

    show me a college graduate making minimum wage, and i will show they are a: unwilling to move to where jobs are for his major, b: has a pretty useless degree, c:or for some reason is not a desirable employee. when i worked at a restaurant… we were limited to how much we could spend an hour on labor, due to rent, utilities, food costs and such. so, when the minimum wage went up, we downsized each shift by one worker, his former pay covering, in part, everybody’s ‘payraise’. effectively costing jobs. and that was one restaurant. multiply that by how many restaurants, bars, and other businesses had to do the same thing, how many jobs did that cost??? so much for helping out the worker. oh, and at our store, after six months you got a raise and each year after that with the option to go into management and other opportunities. the minimum wage is just for those just starting out. how much is a person worth paid to hang out and occasionally sweep and mop, maybe take out the trash?

    • Erynn Schwellinger

      Bad form on the part of your
      restaurant. when the minimum wage goes up, everyone has more to spend. Your
      restaurant was covering it’s own arse just in case it couldn’t rake in it’s share of the new market.

      • You assume that if minimum wage went up, all salaries go up. That is not the case. A min. wage employee with a raise would still not afford to go out. Besides, the restaurant is the one in business, its there decisions that cause the business (and it employees) to sink or swim, not baseless theories.

  • TR

    Willy, I living wage would do nothing more than drive the prices of lower cost goods up. In turn, this has more of a negative impact on the people who make smaller incomes. The cost of goods are directly impacted by the largest expense in running a business….labor.

    • Erynn Schwellinger

      That didn’t happen when minimum wage was introduced, nor at any time when it was brought up to be a living wage. Paying the poorest people sufficiently jsut gets the economy moving faster; it takea a VERY long time for it to become unviable again because the people making they money are also SPENDING the money.

  • Go west young man. Really really far west. Like SE Asia West. Explore the world while you are young, pay your dues, learn your trade and make your fortune. Companies over there are waiting for you with good entry level jobs and they pay you enough to live well. Then leverage that experience in the wider world to come home and live and work in one of our great cities in a good neighborhood. Don’t waste your youth in a crappy neighborhood or a second rate city over here.

    That is so Boomer anyway.

  • Erynn Schwellinger

    One problem with the theory of building more housing: There’s already plenty of unoccupied housing around. Companies are still building houses they can’t sell, buying houses they can’t rent. Setting unrealistic prices and letting it rot. The problem doesn’t lie with government alone – a lot of it is plain old human greed at the local level.

    • Lisa

      So greed is setting prices so high that you can’t sell? That obviously isn’t greed for more money, it must be greed for empty apartment units. Those greedy developers…..trying to hoard all of their apartments and go bankrupt.

    • Note QE3 pretends to trickle down jobs by buying up mortgages from big banks with electronic money. (The Fed no longer bothers to actually “print” most of the stuff any more!) At $40B per month, it is twice as large as the Bush Tax Cuts (and 8 times larger than the “for the rich” part.) …and unlike the BTCs, none of the stimulus money goes to the poor, middle class, or even “the rich”, except for the bankers!

    • Nicholas Haley

      So someone who is greedy prefers no money rather than less money?

      Living in one of the worst housing markets, I have watched prices become very realisitic over the past few years. As someone who rents two houses, I am all too happy if the guy next to me is unrealistic because it makes it easier for me to keep my homes full. One of my neighbors has had an empty home since Thanksgiving 2009. I don’t know what I call someone who leaves a rental property empty that long, but greedy isn’t it.

  • Just me wondering

    Nothing like an article that refers to two maps and then only shows one.

    • The first one is a New York Times interactive, and we couldn’t just drop it in — there’s a link!

      • Guest

        I don’t see the link.

        • Marcelo

          The New York Times reported. “Reported” is hyperlinked to the article and the 2nd map.

  • Ian Kinzel

    I’ve suspected the same all along, but this is a very unconvincing way to make the point at hand. How many people need a two-bedroom apartment in the first place? I’d be happy if I could pull off a full-time minimum wage job and a studio apartment. What are the numbers for that? This article doesn’t say.

    What this article DOES show is that you can’t raise a family on a single minimum-wage income. How applicable that is to recent grads…well, I don’t know many 23-year-old college graduates who are also married and having kids.

  • Pete Duffy

    Dumb story, lots of facts and no relationship at all to the facts or problem. Guess we just found another grad that may be screwed. Now try and review all the data and see the rest of the picture

  • Lapsed_Republican

    I have to point out that I made $1.65 per hour (the minimum wage) in 1960. Adjusted for inflation that should have been a minimum wage of $12.01 in 2010 dollars (the latest inflation data I have available). In 2012 the difference is even larger. WTF happened? Where are the responsible lawmakers? It seems to me that the lack of income tax on the difference (about $5.00 per hour) is where much of our fiscal problem is. If the 49% of the population pays no income tax, pay them more.

    • There are no responsible lawmakers… they are representatives of the “citizens” that voted for them! I’ve been told by a county welfare officer that a family of 4 gets $2000 per month in food stamps, no work requirement, free housing if they claim no relatives will take them in. If we fail to account for whatever the actual entitlements are, talking about a minimum wage is pointless… and why these “representatives of the people” vote to expand the availability of food stamps rather than the minimum wage!

  • Justin McKay

    Here are some important facts.

    In 2010:

    49% of minimum wage workers were 24 or younger.

    As they age, many of the people will complete a college degree and get a better paying job.
    Many people under 24, particular college students receive some other form of support during these years from sources like family, scholarships, loans and grants.

    28% never graduated from High School
    29% were high school graduates.
    31% never finished college
    5% had an associates degree.

    That means that 93% of minimum wage workers do not have a 4 year college degree. The solution is not to raise minimum wage, but to encourage them to continue their education and take advantage of the already available education funding.

    (Source: US Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2010)

    • Maybe the 93% are young families, families with members who are disabled, or workers who are physically or mentally disabled themselves. Virtually no employer gives these people more than 30 hrs. a week, so they don’t have medical insurance. Even if they are single with no one to support, all they need is a two week illness and between the lost wages and medical bills, they’d never be able to get a higher education. And if by some divine intervention they all got degrees,who would take their place? Where would they live? People of all walks of life need to make a decent living. But those problems don’t exist in the bubble you live in.

  • anotherinterestedreader

    Previous generations figured out how to live with a room-mate until you could afford a place of your own.

  • Selbo

    Let’s make the minimum wage $1,000 per hour. We all deserve to be millionaires.

    • Nicholas Haley

      Better yet, let’s just make housing, food, higher education and health care free.

  • Steve

    There are so many things wrong with the economic assumptions and statements in this piece it makes my head spin, but I find it funny that on one hand the author tries to point out how we need to raise minimum wage while at the same time relieve housing market regulations. Pick one, buddy! Why not eliminate most market regulations and let fair market value determine just how much your degree is worth, too!

  • sk8sonh2o

    Affordability index shows tiny New Hartford, CT to be one of the best deals between New York and Boston. 38% hold degrees, & great schools, skiing, trout river, lakes, woods. Aerospace, health and insurance jobs are within 40 min commute.

  • SayHi2YourMom4Me

    Minimum wage is bull. Is there a better way to describe it? What’s better, where I live, most of the employers 1) all pay minimum wage, and 2) won’t hire anyone for over 30 hrs a week so they don’t have to pay benefits! So you can be working 2 jobs, barely able to pay rent, and no health insurance! Sound like it’s a sustainable way to live? I THINK NOT.. Luckily I’m about to move. Also, most of the properties are rented and either owned by one of a couple landlords or absentee landlords, so all that rent money? Just goes right out of town…

  • Have you not missed the point? Cities are too expensive… they require a college degree just to pay the rent! Why live there? You’re making the typical elitist mistake by assuming a college degree and an expensive apartment is found in the city because it is a better place to live, when the opposite could easily be argued. Throughout my career as an engineer I never found a better job in a city. All the best labs were in the countryside, or at least the suburbs. The one time I bought a home in a middle sized city, I had to switch my kids to private schools to get decent teachers! Never again… I avoid even visiting cities.

    • P.S. Cities were a great innovation before the invention of personal transportation, and then held their own because of mass transportation for workers. But with the invention of the Internet and modern telecommunications, cities have become efficient only in the housing and servicing of hapless welfare clients, sad as that is to admit. In a few more decades, cities will evolve into museums and parks, preserving quaint examples of what life was like in the days before instant communications. Assuming, of course, our children don’t all end up being college educated welfare recipients, locked out of the countryside because all the land has been bought up by foreigners who became rich loaning our government money!