How much money do you need to live comfortably in Arkansas?
Arkansas is a fine state in several ways. Known for its amazing landscape and extreme weather, the state is also one of the most affordable states to live in the country. So, you might wonder, how much money do you need to live comfortably in Arkansas?
Arkansas is an affordable state, with the cost-of-living index being 21% below the national average. Due to this, a single person only needs an income of $32,344 to meet all their needs in the state. A household of 4 will require $89,708 before taxes. However, it has a minimum wage of $22,880 annually.
Even the average salary here is barely enough to meet the living wage of a single person and much lower than what a family of 4 will require to live comfortably in the Natural State. Here, we elaborate on how much you need to live comfortably in Arkansas.
What Does It Mean to Live Comfortably?
The living wage is the salary or income sufficient for a person to maintain a comfortable standard of living and meet their essential needs. The living wage is the best way to determine how much you need to live comfortably in a place. In an ideal society, the living wage should be the minimum wage. But this is rarely the case. Wages usually increase at a slower rate than the cost of living.
Living Wage in Arkansas
The MIT Living Wage Calculation determines how much a person or family needs to live in Arkansas. It shows how much an individual needs to make per hour on the assumption that they work full time for 2080 hours annually. For an individual, the living wage is $15.55. This amounts to $32,344 annually, the amount an individual in Arkansas needs to live comfortably.
For a family of 4, the household needs an income of $89,708 to live comfortably. This means that each of the two adults should make $21.56 per hour on their job. But if one of the adults is working, they need to make $34.81 per hour. In that case, the minimum household income to live a comfortable life in the state is $72,404.80. Generally, the more kids a family has, their living wage will increase.
Minimum Wage in Arkansas
The minimum wage in Arkansas is a flat rate of $11. It doesn’t consider whether the worker has dependents. This is significantly below the living wage for even an individual in Arkansas, talk less of family. The $11 is a significant increase from the $9.25/hour minimum wage in 2019. Since then, it has gradually increased and reached $11 in 2021. However, there’s no plan to increase the minimum wage in 2022.
The minimum wage applies to all employers that give up to 4 employees or more. If the Fair Labor Standards Act should cover an employee that Arkansas law covers, the employee will have to pay the highest wage.
However, the minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.63/hour. This applies if the tips they earn are enough to make their earnings up to minimum wage. If not, the employer has the duty of adding enough to make the earnings up to the minimum wage.
It’s not permissible to deduct from the minimum except for valid reasons such as breakage or spoilage, fines for misconduct, lateness, or quitting without notice. In addition, the employer has to pay for overtime outside of the 40-hour work week. Only public agencies can give compensatory time off instead of overtime. Some employers may also enjoy exemptions from overtime.
Is the Average Salary enough to live comfortably in Arkansas?
The low minimum wage in Arkansas is a precursor to the low wages common in the state. Although there are various sources for salary in that state, the most likely accurate is the US Census Data. It puts the per capita income for the state at $27,724 and the median household income at $49,475. Both are below the living wage a single person or a family of 4 in the state will need. Unsurprisingly, the state has a poverty rate of 15.2% in 2020.
According to Talent, the average salary in the state is $35,086 per annum, with entry-level jobs starting around $25,350 while experienced employees make around $76,846. At this rate, it’s possible to live comfortably on the average salary in the state.
Best Paying Jobs in Arkansas
If you want to relocate to Arkansas, you need to know the professions and fields with the best income. They include:
- Computer and Advanced mathematics
- Engineering and Architecture
- Business and Financial Operations
- Healthcare and Medicine
- Physical, Life, and Social Sciences
These jobs have average salaries close to or above $50k in the state. So, if you’re in these areas, moving to Arkansas might not be a bad idea if you get a job offer there.
Cost Of Living in Arkansas
The low wages in the state are mostly due to the poor economy and very low cost of living here. Arkansas is very affordable. The cost of living is 21% lower than the national average. Everything here costs less, especially the housing. The typical value of homes in Arkansas is around $200k or even less, depending on the area. This is substantially below the national average. The average rent here is $669 per month.
However, you should also check out the cost of living in the particular city you might find yourself in. The cost of living varies from one city to another, influencing how much you need to live in one area.
Arkansas is one of the most affordable places to live in the US. This means its living wage is quite low. But that doesn’t make it easy to earn. In fact, the average income here is below the living wage. In addition, due to its relatively weak economy, getting a high-paying job here is more challenging.