- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

BURLEY, Idaho (AP) - Single people in Idaho earn half of what is considered a livable wage, while households with children tend to face even more economical challenges, according to a new study.

Living wages pays for housing, food, utilities and other expenses such as tucking money away for savings.

The Times-News (https://bit.ly/1r4cP9C) reports that livable wages for a single person come out to $14.57 an hour, or more than double that of Idaho’s $7.25 hourly minimum wage.

The living wage for a single adult with two children is $25.12 an hour.

Idaho Community Action Network director Terri Sterling said almost 70 percent of Idaho jobs don’t pay a living wage, according to a Job Gap study.

“The importance of this study is that it highlights why families struggle to provide basic needs,” Sterling said. “And when families take out payday loans, the struggle is even greater.”

Miriam and Alvaro Campos and their 8-year-old son live on one paycheck of $10 per hour.

After paying for rent and utilities, the family has little left for other expenses.

“Sometimes there’s not enough money for food,” Miriam Campos said, as she waited for a large washing machine at PC’s Laundromat in Burley. “I’m saving every nickel and dime so I can come and do the wash. You need clean clothes.”

Campos said she spends about $50 a month at the laundromat.

“So far we haven’t had any emergencies,” Campos said. “But if we do have one, it will be hard because we don’t have any money saved up.”

Sterling added that the study suggested reducing the cost of college tuition, restricting payday lending and giving banks incentives to reset underwater mortgages as some ways to improve conditions for families and singles struggling to make it in Idaho and provide them with a safety net.

However, Sterling said she didn’t know if any those ideas will be approved by state lawmakers anytime soon.

National and regional pushes have been made to raise Idaho’s and federal minimum wage but so far attempts have failed.

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com


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