By Jason Proctor
Minimum wage in Oregon has been on the rise. In the past ten years, minimum wage has gone from $7.05 to $9.10. With more and more people making only minimum wage, the question arises, can you live on minimum wage? This means a place to sleep like a house or an apartment, money for utilities, and a budget for clothes and necessities.
An average job works you between 130 to 180 hours a month. This equates to about $1500 a month, before taxes. After taxes, you take home about $1,000. Only making minimum wage you qualify for EBT, or food stamps. So you have $1,000 dollars for clothing, house utilities, and basic necessities. An average two bedroom apartment is $657 a month. Utilities are about $200 a month, which leaves you with $143 for clothes, internet, and whatever you need.
Yes you can live on minimum wage if you work a decent amount of hours a month. It is a very very minimum lifestyle, and it would be much more comfortable to live with a roommate, and you would not have to worry about just barely getting by. Oregon has a high minimum wage, higher than most other states. This helps with being able to afford to live. At the same time, finding any job is difficult. There is a large homeless population that proves that.
In Eugene, nearly 3,000 people don’t have a home to return to each night. Over 90% of them have roots in Eugene, and aren’t just passing through. With them being homeless though, very few places are wanting to hire them, leaving them homeless. Even if they just made minimum wage, they would be able to have a place to live and food and utilities. There aren’t enough jobs to go around though, but they are on the rise. Homeless people still have the stereotype that they are just lazy, or they like being homeless. Some are like that, yes, but most are just having a hard time. So yes minimum wage is just enough to live on, but not many people who need it are working.
Corporations like Walmart prevent you from working enough hours to qualify as a full time job, so they do not have to pay health insurance or anything like that. Families that live on minimum wage are very hard off, especially if there is only one parent, or source of income.