I live in the Boise, ID area in the US. Over the past 3 years it's become almost impossible to buy so I won't be talking about buying, just renting. Even now the house I am in currently, which isn't mine, went from 149k brand new to resell of almost 500k. That's why I'm not going to talk about buying.
So I looked for just a one bedroom apartment. Cheapest one I found that actually is almost never available because how “cheap” it is would be 995 a month 700 sqft. You would have to pay utilities. Normally cheapest I've been able to find over the last year range from 1100 to 1300 for same size. Let's go with the 995 one though.
Minimum wage being 7.25 you would bring home about 1160 before tax. Based off when I was single and no kids and did my w4 how it was recommended I was taxed 200 per check. Don't know if it's normal or not but I'm going to go with that. So let's take the 400 out and you are left with 760. Only 760 to try and live for a month. Can't afford even the cheapest 1 bedroom apartment with that.
Let's look at 15 an hour. Same apartment and everything. If you work 8 hours every work day you bring home 2400 before tax, using the same tax as above we will take 400 out with tax leaving 2000. Let's take rent out of 995. 1005 left. Utilities I will count power, gas, and internet because it's pretty much a necessity now so let's say sparingly 200 a month for utilities which it's on the low side but we will go with it. 805 left. Water is paid for by landlord.
Let's just get some basic stuff now. Car insurance I'll say 100 because that's what I got my rate at first starting out. We will do 80 for gas for the car and thats just for work. Cellphone bill of 75. We are at 550 left. Now food. With current food prices I'd say 300 a month for food for a single person. 150 for 2 weeks seems pretty reasonable. Of course could live off Ramen if you wanted but I'm thinking a ok meal for every meal.
Now we are at 250 left. That's not counting streaming stuff and the odd and end stuff let alone health insurance but it's enough to get by. Now that 1 bedroom apartment has gone up by 100 a month every year. Last year it was 895. So if prices keep inflating like they are currently, this single person would be able to live at this place for at max 2 years with rent, food, utilities, and gas cost going up.
My point? 15 an hour would be only be sustainable for a year, maybe 2. If we are going to fight to change minimum wage, we need to look at the actual long term. Minimum wage is supposed to be liveable and to me, a single person trying to live in a one bedroom apartment that is in no way shape or form fancy or upgraded or in a prime spot to live should be the staple of liveable. Not good but liveable.