A Single Mom Still Won’t Be Able To Make It On A McDonald’s Salary

Single mother Delores Leonard has worked at McDonald's for seven years — REUTERS/JIM YOUNG
Apr 02, 2015 at 1:39 PM ET

Even with McDonald’s new minimum wage boost, single moms working there will still struggle to make ends meet. The fast-food giant is increasing the hourly pay of about 90,000 workers throughout the country by $1 more than the local minimum wage per hour. But in all 50 states, the local minimum plus $1 falls short of the respective state’s living wage for one adult plus a dependent. Living wage is the income needed to meet a family’s basic needs based on the cost of living, local taxes and typical expenses.

The gap is the largest in Hawaii. With a $7.75 minimum wage and a living wage for a single parent of $25.09 an hour, McDonald’s in the island state would need to pay its workers $16.34 more an hour to close the gap (when you factor in the $1 boost).

Even people without dependents will have a tough time getting by on the new wage. In more than half of states, single adults without kids won’t make a living wage with McDonald’s pay hike. In just 21 states, the fast food chain’s new wage would push workers over the hump. South Dakota would have the greatest margin, where the hourly wage of one adult at McDonald’s would outstrip the state’s living wage by $2.06 an hour.

McDonald’s wage increase, which will take effect July 1, won’t impact workers at franchise locations — just the 1,500 corporate-owned McDonald’s restaurants, which account for about 10 percent of all the McDonald’s in the U.S.

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