Just How Much Does It Really Cost to Live in Your City? This Tool Will Tell You

An online calculator compares wages with actual cost of living around the nation -- and the results may shock you

How much does it really cost to get by in America? In many places, it’s way more than minimum wage. (Just ask some folks employed by Walmart in Ohio, who apparently require donated food to scrape together a holiday meal.)

Want to know just how much more? The Living Wage Calculator can help you hone in on the precise figure, based on the region where you live. The tool uses typical expenses in your selected location as data to come up with the cost of living for a low-wage-earning individual or family. (Obviously it would cost even more to achieve a middle-class lifestyle).

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, for instance, it takes about $8.47 hourly to make ends meet, but the minimum wage is just $7.50, according to the calculator. And in notoriously expensive places like San Francisco, the discrepancy is even more pronounced: It would take a job paying close to $13 hourly to get by, but the minimum wage is only $8.

Try the calculator here, and see how your region -- and your wages -- compare to the rest of the country.

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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