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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

What It's Like to Live on Minimum Wage

As of late, minimum wage has been a topic of controversy in L.A. ATVN's Marc Sallinger spent some time with a minimum wage worker to show us what it's like to live on minimum wage. 

It is no secret that the cost of living in Los Angeles is expensive. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Vice President Joe Biden met in downtown L.A. today for a roundtable discussion about raising the minimum wage. The current minimum wage rate in Los Angeles is $9.00 an hour. 

Biden has been a strong supporter for raising the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from the current rate of $7.25, according to CNS. 

Biden believes raising the minimum wage will add $19 billion to the U.S. economy. 

“They [the United States] should raise the minimum wage because it doesn’t seem like a good way of living,” said USC student Alanna Melo.

The average single person making minimum wage in L.A. makes about $1,306 a month. With that money, he or she must pay for housing, food, transportation, medical and other miscellaneous items. The average person making $1,306 has to pay $285 a month for transportation in L.A., $943 a month for housing, $242 for food and $142 for other things.

By January 2016, the state minimum wage is set to rise to $10.  Under an ordinance conditionally approved by City Council last week, the minimum wage in Los Angeles for workers in large hotels would rise  to $15.37 an hour on July 1, 2016. 

“It is disgusting and terrible, that people can live on $1,306. It's not okay especially in LA.” said USC student Jean Frazier.

In a Neon Tommy interview, Jessica Oliveira interviewed Matt Simms, an unemployed student, who stressed that increasing the minimum wage could potentially cause “a huge spark in costs and everything will go up."

Simms also stressed that finding a job after the potential increase of minimum wage could cause difficulties since employers may not be able to afford new employees at a higher rate. 


I believe Mr. Paul Sood of 23rd Street cafe owner is talking common sense .Like I said before. There needs to be some kind of price control all thru the state on rent, food, clothes etc..etc. as that would defeat the purpose of any minimum wage increase.

I think it is common sense that we need to have some kind of price control before we decide to implement minimum wage increases. As it seems, minimum wages go up ,prices on rent,food,utilities,clothing etc. go up,and that would defeat the purpose of minimum wage increases,but then that is my opinion.

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