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Thu May 10, 2012, 07:43 AM

What minimum wage buys, then and now [View all]

The federal minimum wage was first set in 1938, at 25 cents an hour. Here's a decade-by-decade look, starting in 1950, at the buying power of minimum wage

1950

Often looked to as a model era, the 1950s may have been nearly as picture-perfect as "Leave it to Beaver" seemed to suggest -- minimum wage workers could pay rent for a month for less than a week and a half of full-time work -- or catch Disney's "Cinderella" for just over a half-hour of labor.

•Minimum wage: $0.75 per hour
•Gas: $0.27 or 22 minutes
•Movie ticket: $0.48 or 38 minutes
•Rent: $42 or 56 hours

1980

The beginning of the Reagan era marked the end of even the semi-feasibility of paying the median rent on a single minimum-wage income. A minimum-wage worker could still pay rent with just under two weeks of work (double the recommended ratio). Of course, if you lived in a more-affordable area, you'd be in better shape. In Mississippi, for example, you'd have to put in only 58 hours of work to pay the median rent.

•Minimum wage: $3.10 per hour
•Gas: $1.25 or 24 minutes
•Movie ticket: $2.60 or 50 minutes
•Rent: $243 or 78 hours

2010

Though the housing crash actually made rent more affordable, minimum-wage workers still had to put in 109 hours of work (or more than 60% of monthly income) in 2010. Of course, in cities like New York, the numbers are much higher. In 2010, the New York City-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area had a median gross rent of $1,125, which equals 155 hours of work. Basically, if you worked full-time, didn't eat, commute or pay utilities, and you gave nearly every penny to your landlord, you could just make it in the Big Apple.

•Minimum wage: $7.25 per hour
•Gas: $2.78 or 23 minutes
•Movie ticket: $7.95 or 1 hour, 6 minutes
•Rent: $789 or 109 hours


http://finances.msn.com/saving-money-advice/6952105

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liberal N proud May 2012 OP
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Sherman A1 May 2012 #2
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oldhippydude May 2012 #9
rdking647 May 2012 #12
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Heywood J May 2012 #21