YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The minimum wage in Ohio just went up, but is it enough to live off of with inflation levels rising?

“The problem is, minimum wage has never kept up with where we are currently, at all,” said Chris Mediate, president of Mediate Financial Services Inc.

Is minimum wage enough?

Ohio’s minimum wage rose from $9.30 per hour to $10.10 for non-tipped employees. That’s an $0.80 cent increase.

For a 40-hour work week, this equates to $404 a week and $21,008 a year, before taxes. But is that enough to live off of?

Mediate says although the minimum wage has gone up, inflation levels are rising more rapidly.

“When we say, historically high minimum wage, I mean, it is. But what’s sad is, it’s still not enough, so it’s not keeping pace with inflation, at least at this point,” he said.

Below is a breakdown of the average monthly costs for a single person in Ohio:

Average monthly costs in Ohio

The average monthly cost comes out to $1,808 a month, but minimum wage would only bring in about $1,616 before taxes.

This means that a person making minimum wage will not be able to afford these basic needs each month.

In fact, a single person must make at least $14.50 an hour in order to bring home enough money after taxes to afford the basic needs listed above, not counting any benefits such as medical insurance, 401k, dental, etc.

Who can get assistance?

If the minimum wage is not enough for someone to live off of, there may not be many options for assistance since the federal poverty guideline for a single person is $13,590. 

Despite inflation rising over 7% in the past year, the federal poverty guideline has only risen 5.5% in the past year. This means it’s harder for people who need assistance to get it. 

In Ohio, a single person cannot make more than $17,676 a year in order to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Mediate says this means that a person making minimum wage will not make enough for all of the necessities but also will not qualify for SNAP benefits.

Inflation, minimum wage and poverty levels

In the past 10 years, the minimum wage has risen 31% but inflation has risen more than 300%. At the same time, the federal poverty guideline has only risen 21%.

“Inflation has to come down considerably, there’s no question about it. The average person is certainly feeling it,” Mediate said.

Mediate also said government assistance programs are outdated and that there needs to be some changes.

The graphs below show how the minimum wage in Ohio compares to inflation rates and the federal poverty levels over the past 10 years.

United States Annual Inflation Rate
Ohio Minimum Wage from 2012 to 2022
Source: FRED Economic Data | St. Louis Fed
Federal Poverty guideline for a single person from 2012 to 2022
Source: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services