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We Deserve a Living Wage is the rallying cry for proponents of the new Living Wage standard for minimum income levels for Americans. “Living wage” differs from “minimum wage” in that a living wage is seen as the minimum income an individual needs to earn to support themselves or their family in order to meet basic needs, and bring them above the poverty level. A minimum wage is typically less than a living wage. Living wage laws have been passed in several cities, but they do not apply to the population as a whole – only to companies that have government contracts or that receive certain forms of financial assistance from the government.
Minimum wage laws differ from state to state but they apply to the whole population. There are many studies being conducted as to what constitutes a living wage, most notably those being published by MIT. The National Employment Law Project states there are over a dozen legislative or ballot proposals expected to be made in 2016 pushing for living wage increases.