Key Findings

The living wage for a single adult is $14.57 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 $25.12 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 Idaho graduate with $26,751 in student loans,68 and the average credit card holder in the state has an outstanding debt of $4,549.69 Because the state has not expanded Medicaid, 55,000 lower-income workers remain uninsured.70 Additionally, over 20 percent of mortgages in the state are underwater.71

The minimum wage in Idaho does not allow working families to make ends meet. The state’s 2013 minimum wage provided only half of a living wage for a single adult and less than one-third of the living wage for a single adult with two children.

ID-Table*per working adult

 

ID-TeeJay-3

Teejay Henry – Lewiston ID

‘I take home about $1,600 a month. Our total budget comes to $1,568, and that doesn’t leave any room for emergencies or savings.’

Personal Testimony: Deejay Henry

I am 21 years old and married, and my wife and I have a beautiful 1-year-old daughter.

I have worked for several years now as a heavy truck tire tech at a local tire store. I have had two raises since I began working here, and now I make $12 an hour. I work long hours and my days off are Thursday and Sunday, so I rarely get two days off together.

My employer pays for a portion of my health insurance, but I must also contribute about $70 per month. On top of that the company requires us to wear uniforms and they charge us for having them cleaned each week. After all the other regular deductions, I take home about $1,600 a month. I continue to look for a better job, but, really, around here, I am lucky to have a job that pays more than minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour.

We’ve been getting by, but with my growing daughter the expenses also continue to grow.
Our total budget comes to $1,568, and that doesn’t leave any room for emergencies or savings.
My wife just started working last month. She is working 20 hours a week as a laundry aide in a retirement facility. She makes $8.50 an hour, but will have to pay around $280 a month for childcare, so she will bring home less than $300 a month.

Her income will certainly help us with things like medical and dental co-pays. My wife needs about $5,000 for dental work after insurance pays their portion and, right now, she has to suffer because we can’t afford that much.

We try to save for emergencies, but every month something comes up and that extra $10 was always spent on something important like having our dog spayed at the low-cost clinic. We were devastated when she got really sick following surgery and died because we couldn’t afford thousands of dollars for emergency care. The reality that we can’t even afford a pet is really depressing considering we were both raised surrounded by pets.

Our reality is that we can’t even afford to live in our own house because rent is out of our budget on what the two of us earn. We are fortunate to live in a nice house as roommates, but, as a young family, we can’t wait for the day we can move into our own place, and maybe have a little dog for our daughter to grow up with.

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Idaho State Report

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