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How Many Big Macs Can You Afford On Minimum Wage?

Economy Memo Pad

How Many Big Macs Can You Afford On Minimum Wage?


How many hours of work does it take to buy a Big Mac? Well, it depends on where you live — and with Seattle’s recent increase in minimum wage, the gap between various minimum wages across the country continues to rise. While most states continue to hold on to a $7.25 per hour minimum wage, seven others have passed legislation to raise their minimum wages. When the dust settles and these new laws have come into effect, the disparity between states’ minimum wages will likely be even larger.

Is this a nationwide trend? It’s starting to look that way, and the movement is being spearheaded by President Obama, who said in a recent speech that he supports everyone who’s “working to give America a raise.” The Labor Department echoed that sentiment on June 12, when it proposed a rule to raise the minimum wage for federal workers to $10.10 per hour.

To illustrate the current state of minimum wage, Digital Third Coast created an infographic to depict how many Big Macs a minimum-wage employee could afford using the pay from one hour of work. The answer ranges from 1.82 Big Macs to just over two and a half. Some of the more progressive West Coast cities have the highest Big Macs-to-hours-worked ratio, with Seattle leading the way at 3.76 Big Macs per one hour of work once their newly minted minimum wage of $15 per hour takes effect in 2017.

Looking at this chart and reading between the lines of recent minimum-wage controversies, one thing is for sure: If President Obama, the Labor Department, and congressional Democrats have their way, minimum wages are about to get supersized.

How Many Big Macs Can A Minimum Wage Employee Afford In One Hour Of Work

Kristen Geil is a digital content writer/blogger at Digital Third Coast, a digital content marketing agency based in Chicago. Connect with Kristen on LinkedIn and Google+. Connect with Digital Third Coast on Google+.

Photo: JKCarl via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. DhannaReaderaci June 17, 2014

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  2. Deepak Into June 18, 2014

    Despite the claims of those promoting despotism in democracy’s name, we must realize that only a combination of knowledge, advertisement, and fortitude will be enough to preserve morality, liberty, and prosperity.

  3. RobertCHastings June 19, 2014

    When my wife and I were married, 34 years ago, after we both left bad marriages, we were middle class wage earners, and could pay our mortgage, pay all our bills, and afford to take our kids out for dinner several times a month. We are retired now and the folks we know who are middle-class wage earners with a family CANNOT do what we could 34 years ago. A minimum wage of at least $15/hr. COULD move millions out of poverty and boost the standard of living for the 99%, creating jobs and building a spiral of prosperity that ALL Americans could participate in, including the top 1%. I might add that when we married, the president, Ronald Reagan, although he lowered taxes on the wealthiest (as did Bush), he had the sense to RAISE them (8 times) when he realized the economy could not sustain his cuts. It should also be remembered that when Clinton left office, he had annual surpluses in the neighborhood of $160B, which his successor(who was that?) immediately turned into tax cuts for the wealthy.


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