Financial Self-Sufficiency
Living Wage Rate, 2017


Living Wage Rate, 2017

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 performing?

In Berks County in 2017, a family of four with two earners would each need to earn $15.70 an hour, for a total of $65,300 a year, to make a living wage. A family of four with one earner would need $24.10 per hour, or $50,100 a year. A single parent with two children would need to make $28.36 an hour, or about $59,000. Living in Berks was slightly less costly than the state as a whole

Among neighboring counties, the living wage in Lancaster was similar to Berks for all household types. Living wages were lower than Berks in Lebanon and Schuylkill, and higher in Chester, Montgomery and Lehigh.

Notes about the data

Figures are in 2016 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 http://livingwage.mit.edu/pages/about.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Living Wage Rate, 2017
1 earning adult, 2 children2 adults (1 earning), 2 children2 earning adults2 earning adults, 2 children
Pennsylvania$29.37$24.90$9.33$16.25
Berks County$28.97$24.61$9.04$16.03
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County$30.71$26.36$10.00$16.91
Lancaster County$28.90$24.54$9.13$16.00
Lebanon County$27.77$23.42$8.68$15.44
Lehigh County$29.54$25.18$9.36$16.32
Montgomery County$30.71$26.36$10.00$16.91
Schuylkill County$27.54$23.19$8.65$15.32

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Notes: Figures in 2016 dollars.




Annual Income, 2017
1 earning adult, 2 children2 adults (1 earning), 2 children2 earning adults2 earning adults, 2 children
Pennsylvania$61,092$51,799$38,806$67,588
Berks County$60,253$51,196$37,601$66,684
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County$63,866$54,832$41,602$70,341
Lancaster County$60,102$51,046$37,989$66,555
Lebanon County$57,757$48,723$36,096$64,232
Lehigh County$61,436$52,380$38,935$67,889
Montgomery County$63,866$54,832$41,602$70,341
Schuylkill County$57,284$48,228$35,967$63,716

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Notes: Figures in 2016 dollars and assume working 40 hours each week.




INDICATORS TREND | BERKS COUNTY