Maine’s Rent Prices Unaffordable With Federal Minimum Wage
There has been plenty of discussion and disagreement over the federal minimum wage in the last decade. The United States has maintained a $7.25 minimum wage for workers since 2009, despite the face that inflation has caused a surge in price for goods, services, and housing.
So just how far behind is the federal minimum wage when it comes to living in Maine? The numbers are actually staggering.
According to Zillow, the median rent in Maine for housing is $2,013 per month. As Experian notes, individuals should only be spending between 30-40% of their income on rent in order to be able to afford food, gas, and other key items for daily life.
If someone was paid the federal minimum wage in Maine and worked 40 hours per week, they would receive a check for $290 before taxes were taken out. After taxes, that would likely leave this individual with a take-home pay of around $210 per week.
A single individual wouldn't be able to come up with half of the money needed for rent in Maine based on the federal minimum wage.
The Maine state minimum wage is set to increase to $14.15 per hour starting on January 1, 2024. A 40-hour work week at Maine state minimum wage would net an individual $566 per week. Take-home pay after taxes would be roughly $400 per week.
That still isn't nearly enough for a single individual to afford median rent in Maine while also being able to afford utilities, food, and other basic necessities. A two-income household with both members making minimum wage would be able to afford median rent in Maine, but would be living on tight margins for the rest of their living expenses.
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Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka