(NEXSTAR) – If you find yourself struggling to pay bills despite a steady income, you may be simply be getting priced out by the high cost of living in some areas of South Carolina.
An updated tool from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is helping South Carolinians determine whether a person’s income is enough to live comfortably in their area.
MIT’s Living Wage Calculator provides a breakdown of typical expenses for individuals and families of up to three people, then determines the income needed to provide for basic expenses for each family size.
“We developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region based on typical expenses,” creators wrote in a press release. “The tool helps individuals, communities, and employers determine a local wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum standards of living.”
The calculator displays the “living wage” needed to support your family size, as well as the local minimum wage and poverty wage, which is the salary threshold required for federal assistance. Across many states, the minimum wage is enough to keep singles and some small families above the poverty line, but well below the salary required to pay all basic expenses.
The calculator includes required wages for single parents as well as one- and two-income households. Researchers also created statewide breakdowns as well as figures for major metropolitan areas within each state.
For a family of 4 to live comfortably in Spartanburg County, each parent would need to earn a living wage of $19.65 per hour.
For a family of 5 to live comfortably in Greenville County, each parent would need to earn a living wage of $22.58 per hour.
For 1 adult to live comfortably in Charleston County, they would need to earn a living wage of $16.43 per hour.
For a couple to live comfortably in Columbia, each person would have to earn a living wage of $24.41 per hour.
For a couple to live comfortably in the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin area with one adult working, they would need to earn a living wage of $23.66 per hour.
For a family of 3 to live in the Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach area, each parent would need to earn a living wage of $16.75 per hour.
Income data is pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and expense calculations are based on public information, including U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development housing costs figures.
You can find out more about the cost of living breakdowns on the MIT Living Wage Calculator.