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.

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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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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