Could You Survive on Fast-Food Wages? Try Our Calculator

Find out if you and your family could get by on a McDonald's paycheck.

| Thu Aug. 1, 2013 5:00 AM EDT

Chief among the demands made by the hundreds of fast-food workers who walked out of their jobs this week: A raise to a "livable" wage of $15 an hour. Currently, the median hourly wage for the cooks, cashiers, and crew who deliver your value meals is $8.94, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project. That's hardly enough to get by in most cities.

And while $15 might sound like a big jump, it's still not enough to meet living wage standards in many areas. Many fast-food workers are parents raising children, which significantly boosts their day-to-day expenses. And many are part-timers; on average they work about 24.5 hours per week.

How would you and your family fare on a typical fast-food paycheck? How much does it really take to make ends meet in your city or state? Use this calculator to get a better sense of what fast-food workers are up against.

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Sources: The National Employment Law Project, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Economic Policy Institute's Family Budget Calculator. The annual costs of living for adults without children use state-wide averages from MIT's Living Wage Calculator. Front page image: Jim West/ZUMA Press.

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