Financial Self-Sufficiency
Living Wage Rate, 2019


Living Wage Rate, 2019

What does this measure?

The level of income needed for households of different sizes and types in a region to be able to pay for necessities including housing and food without outside assistance.

Why is this important?

The level of income needed to afford basic expenses often exceeds the minimum wage, forcing the working poor to work multiple jobs or seek public assistance to make ends meet. Understanding the true level of income required to cover housing, food, clothing, child care, transportation and medical expenses provides a more accurate benchmark for assessing the jobs available in a region or local area. The living wage also adjusts for regional variation in costs.

How is our county doing?

In Essex County in 2019, a family of four with two earners would each need to earn just about $22 an hour, or about $91,000 a year combined, in order to meet the living wage level. A family of three with one earner needs an hourly wage of $34 to earn $71,300 a year to make ends meet. Two earners with no dependents must earn $13 an hour or $53,800 combined. Essex County was slightly more expensive than the state as a whole.

How do we compare to similar counties?

Living wage figures for Essex County were very similar to Middlesex, MA, above Lake, IL and below the wages needed in Westchester, NY. A family of four with two earners would need an annual income about $101,800 in Westchester, for example.

Notes about the data

Figures are in 2019 dollars and assume a 40-hour work week. The living wage model is an alternative measure of basic needs. It is a market-based approach that draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family's likely minimum food, child care, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities (e.g. clothing, personal care items, etc.) costs. More information on the sources of data for costs is available at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Living Wage Rate, 2019
1 earning adult, 2 children2 adults (1 earning), 2 children2 earning adults2 earning adults, 2 children
Essex County, MA$40.90$34.27$12.94$21.87
Middlesex County, MA$41.75$35.12$13.31$22.30
Lake County, IL$34.82$30.02$11.28$18.83
Westchester County, NY$45.94$34.20$12.98$24.47
Massachusetts$39.37$32.74$12.30$21.11

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Notes: Figures are in constant 2017 dollars.




Annual Income, 2019
1 earning adult, 2 children2 adults (1 earning), 2 children2 earning adults2 earning adults, 2 children
Essex County, MA$85,077$71,279$53,846$91,000
Middlesex County, MA$86,849$73,051$55,372$92,750
Lake County, IL$72,423$62,439$46,936$78,346
Westchester County, NY$95,554$71,144$53,981$101,814
Massachusetts$81,891$68,093$51,154$87,814

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Notes: Figures are in constant 2017 dollars and assume working 40 hours each week.




INDICATORS TREND | ESSEX COUNTY
Prevalence of Overweight Adults Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Preterm Births Increasing
Infant Mortality Rate Maintaining
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Child Abuse and Neglect Increasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Youth Arrests Decreasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employment Maintaining
Tourism Spending Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Charitable Contributions Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Days with Good Air Quality Increasing
Beach Contamination Increasing
Daily Water Use per Resident Decreasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Crimes Against Property Decreasing
Drug-Related Arrests Maintaining
Reports of Domestic Violence Increasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Recidivism Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
People 65 or Older Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Households by Type Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Gender Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Total Jobs Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Increasing
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Median Earnings by Occupation by Gender Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County for Work Not Applicable
Employer Size Not Applicable
Self-Employment Revenue Increasing
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Female Enrollment in School Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
Per-Student Spending Increasing
Bullying Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Income in Relation to Poverty Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Rate by Household Type Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Households Receiving Federal Food Assistance Decreasing
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Earned Income Tax Credit Participation Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students Increasing
Median Home Value Increasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Homeownership Rates Maintaining
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeless Persons Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Medical Care Expenses Increasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma Maintaining
Prevalence of Overweight Children Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence Decreasing
Chronic Disease Among Older Adults Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Cancer Mortality Rate Decreasing
Heart Disease Mortality Rate Decreasing
Mortality Rate Decreasing
People who Smoke Not Applicable
Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Youth Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Not Applicable
Drug Overdose Mortality Rate Increasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Suicide Rate Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable