Living Wage Report

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Beginning in 2016, The University of Scranton and The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development set out to understand better what constitutes a living wage in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA). The 2016 Living Wage report found that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 proved inadequate to enable families in the region to reach a living wage threshold where they can meet their “essential basic needs and live a modest but dignified life.”

The 2019 update to the Living Wage Report sheds light on how conditions have changed, as families in NEPA continue to confront severe economic challenges and poverty. While there are many families that fall below the standard measure of poverty – the federal poverty line – there are also many that work full-time but earn less than a living wage. Individuals and families lack economic security in both cases; but the latter find themselves in an ambiguous situation, which this report seeks to expand upon.

In order for families to meet basic needs, living wage data accounts for the estimated costs of several categories of household spending in NEPA today: food, childcare, medical care, housing, transportation, taxes, and other expenses. This 2019 report catalogues challenges posed by various cost increases and details how the living wage threshold has increased; it includes policy recommendations rooted in Catholic Social Teaching and updated to reflect changes over the past three years.

The 2019 Living Wage Report is a collaboration of The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development and The University of Scranton (Office of Community and Government Relations, the Ellacuría Initiative and the Department of Political Science).

Page Contents for 2019 Report:

Report Executive Summary
University Press Release
Video: Remarks by Scott Pilarz, S.J. and special interviews with individuals who have experienced economic insecurity 
Additional Resources
In The News

 View the living wage report online:

Video: Remarks by Scott Pilarz, S.J. and special interviews with individuals who have experienced economic insecurity

Special thanks to Heather, Billie and Fawn and to collaborating organizations, OUTREACH and SLHDA.