The living wage for a single adult is $16.18 per hour. This reflects what is needed to meet basic needs and maintain some ability to deal with emergencies and plan ahead. The living wage for a single adult with two children is $32.49 per hour.
For workers saddled with debt, the wage to pay off that debt would be even greater than the calculated living wage. Students in Colorado graduate with $24,540 in student loans,58 and the average credit card holder in the state has an outstanding debt of $5,625.59 Additionally, nearly 20 percent of mortgages in the state are underwater.60
The minimum wage in Colorado does not allow working families to make ends meet. The state’s 2013 minimum wage provided less than half of a living wage for a single adult and only a quarter of the living wage for a single adult with two children. Even the 2014 minimum wage of $8.00 falls well short of allowing workers to move beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck.