Key Findings

The living wage for a single adult is $18.47 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 $36.52 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 New York graduate with $25,537 in student loans,79 and the average credit card holder in the state has an outstanding debt of $4,952.80 Additionally, nearly 10 percent of mortgages in the state are underwater.81

The minimum wage in New York does not allow working families to make ends meet. The state’s 2013 minimum wage provided just over one-third of a living wage for a single adult and only 20 percent 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.

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NY-Mandi-Sheraden

Mandi Sheraden – Poughkeepsie, NY

‘I don’t have health care and am still paying off medical bills. I just paid off an $800 hospital bill and I am currently paying $300 for a doctor’s note that I needed to return to work.’

Personal Testimony: Mandi Sheraden

It’s been a journey — my mom and I were homeless for a year in 2007. It took 11 months of looking almost every day to find a job. During that time my mom and I both became seriously depressed and she found out that she has Lupus. My mom has her ups and downs. She needs my help every day — help with showering and help with other daily chores.

Through all the ups and downs, I graduated from Dutchess Community College with a degree in Community Mental Health. Today, I am working two part-time jobs.

I work part-time at Taconic Resource Center for Independence. I am the independent living specialist — I help anyone with disabilities live a more independent life, for example, helping people move out of a nursing home into the community. I get $12 an hour and work 20 hours a week.
I have a second job — I work on campus at the Office of Accommodative Services. They pay me $14 an hour for 20 hours a week. At Taconic, I get sick days, holidays and vacation, but no health care. The college doesn’t offer me any benefits.

Even working two jobs, it’s hard for me to make ends meet. To work, I need a car and have to make payments. I don’t have health care and am still paying off medical bills. I just paid off an $800 hospital bill and I am currently paying $300 for a doctor’s note that I needed to return to work.
I do good work — I enjoy making a contribution. I just hope that I can earn enough to live independently and pay my own bills. Those jobs, even for someone with an A.A. degree, aren’t out there. I know, I’ve been looking.

INFOGRAPH_STATES_VERTICAL2_NY

New York State Report

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National Report

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