Thursday, December 5, 2013

American Schoolchildren in Poverty

Here's a rather sobering and not too much fun map about the distribution of poverty among American schoolchildren, and how it's changed between 2000 and 2011. Summaries have been posted on several websites; I went back and found the original PDF report for those interested in the complete picture. Link below the map.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ohio? I Swear!

Which states swear the most? Which are most polite? My state of Maryland makes the naughty list on swearing but the nice list on politeness.

Here's the map, followed by the link to read all about it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Map Challenge #2 — American Cities

This is a surprisingly tough one: an interactive geography quiz from Lizard Point that tests your knowledge of where American cities are located. I only got 77%.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Dialect Map of American English

The dialect map below lists the major (and a few minor) geographic dialects and subdialects of English spoken in the United States. Many of these may be further subdivided into local subdialects that are not shown here. Obviously, the borders between dialect regions are not well defined lines as a map like this would imply, but a gradual transition extending on both sides of the line.

General Northern

This is sometimes also refered to as General American and is used in almost two-thirds of the country. It breaks down into the dialect regions below.

Northern New England
Many of the Northern dialects can trace their roots to this dialect, which was spread westward by the New England settlers as they migrated west. It carries a high prestige due to Boston's early economic and cultural importance and the presence of Harvard University. A famous speaker is Katherine Hepburn. They sometimes call doughnuts cymbals, simballs, and boil cakes.

Eastern New England (1) 
This is one of the most distinctive of all the American dialects. R's are often dropped, but an extra R is added to words that end with a vowel. A is pronounced AH so that we get "Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd" and "Pepperidge Fahm remembuhs."

Boston Urban (2) 
Like many big cities, Boston has its own dialects that are governed more by social factors like class and ethnicity than by geographic location. Greater Boston Area is the most widely spoken and is very similar to Eastern New England. Brahmin is spoken by the upper aristocratic class like Mr. Howell on Gilligan's Island.

Central City Area This is what most of us think of as being the "Boston Accent." In the last few years, Saturday Night Live has featured this dialect among a group of rowdy teenagers who like to videotape themselves. Also think of Cliff on Cheers, the only character on this Boston-based show to actually speak a Boston dialect.

Western New England (3) 
Less distinctive than Eastern, but more influential on the other Northern dialects.

Hudson Valley (4) 
New York was originally a Dutch colony, and that language influenced this dialect's development. Some original Hudson Valley words are stoop (small porch) and teeter-totter. They call doughnuts (which were invented by the Dutch) crullers and olycooks.

New York City (5) 
Unlike Boston and other urban dialects, New York City stands by itself and bears little resemblence to the other dialects in this region. It is also the most disliked and parodied of any American dialect (even among New Yorkers), possibly because many Americans tend dislike large cities. When an R comes after a vowel, it is often dropped. IR becomes OI, but OI becomes IR, and TH becomes D as in "Dey sell tirlets on doity-doid street" and fugedaboudit (forget about it).

This pronounciation is particularly associated with Brooklyn but exists to some extent throughout the city. The thickness of a speaker's dialect is directly related to their social class, but these features have been fading within all classes over recent decades. Famous speakers are Rosie Perez, Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinnie, Archie Bunker, Bugs Bunny, and (if you're old enough to remember) the Bowery Boys.

Bonac (6) 
Named for Accabonac Creek in eastern Long Island, this dialect is rapidly dying out due to the influx of people from other areas. Back when New York City belonged to the Dutch, this area was part of New England, and Bonac shows elements of both dialects.

Inland Northern (7) 
Combines elements of Western New England and Upper Midwestern. Marry, merry, and Mary are pronounced the same. They call doughnuts friedcakes.

San Francisco Urban (8) 
Unlike the rest of California, which in the early twentieth century saw an influx of people from the South and other parts of the West, San Francisco continued to be settled by people from the Northeast and Northern Midwest, and elements of their dialects (North Midland, Upper Midwestern, Inland Northern) can be found. The Mission dialect, spoken by Irish Catholics in a specific part of the city, is very much like the New York City dialect.

Upper Midwestern (9) 
Originally settled by people from New England and New York State who brought those dialects, this area was also influenced by Southerners coming up the Mississippi River as well as the speech patterns of the German and Scandinavian immigrants and the Canadian English dialects from over the border. It's sometimes referred to as a "Midwestern twang." They call jelly doughnuts bismarks.

Minnewegian (Minnesota / Norwegian), a subdialect spoken in the northernmost part of this region was spoofed in the movies Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Chicago Urban (10) 
Influenced by the Midland and Southern dialects. Often spoken by the late John Belushi (Chicago's Second City comedy theater supplied many Saturday Night Live actors). SNL used to spoof it in the "Da Bears, Da Bulls" sketches. They call any sweet roll doughnuts.

North Midland (11) 
Created as the people in Pennsylvania migrated westward and influenced by Scotch-Irish, German, and English Quaker settlers. This and the South Midland dialect can actually be considered a separate Midland Dialect region that serves as a transition zone between the north and south. They call doughnuts belly sinkers, doorknobs, dunkers, and fatcakes.

Pennsylvania German-English (12) 
This was strongly influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch, a dialect of German spoken by people in this area (in this context, "Dutch" is actually a mispronunciation of the German word, "Deutsch," which means "German"). Its grammar allows sentences like "Smear your sister with jam on a slice of bread" and "Throw your father out the window his hat." They call doughnuts fasnacht, and they also invented dunking - from the German "dunken" (to dip).


Compared with the Eastern United States, the Western regions were settled too recently for very distinctive dialects to have time to develop or to be studied in detail. Many words originally came from Spanish, cowboy jargon, and even some from the languages of the Native Americans: adobe, beer bust, belly up, boneyard, bronco, buckaroo, bunkhouse, cahoots, corral, greenhorn, hightail, hoosegow, lasso, mustang, maverick, roundup, wingding.

Rocky Mountain (13) 
Originally developed from the North Midland and Northern dialects, but was then influenced by the Mormon settlers in Utah and English coal miners who settled in Wyoming. Some words that came from this dialect are kick off (to die), cache (hiding place), and bushed (tired). They also call jelly doughnuts bismarks.

Pacific Northwest (14) 
Influenced by settlers from the Midwest and New England as well as immigrants from England, Germany, Scandinavia, and Canada. Much earlier, a pidgin called Chinook Jargon was developed between the languages of the Native American tribes of this area. It would later also be used and influenced by the European settlers who wished to communicate with them. A few words from Chinook Jargon like high muckamuck (important person) are still used in this dialect today. (Note that, in this case, the word "jargon" has a different meaning from the one discussed above)

Alaska (not shown) 
Developed out of the Northern, Midland, and Western dialects. Also influenced by the native languages of the Alutes, Innuit, and Chinook Jargon. Some words that originated here are: bush (remote area), cabin fever, mush (to travel by dog sled), parka, stateside.

Pacific Southwest (15) 
The first English speakers arrived here from New York, Ohio, Missouri, New England, and other parts of the Northeast and Midwest in the 1840s, bringing the Northern and North Midland dialects with them. Words originally used by the gold miners of this period are still used today: pay dirt (valuable discovery), pan out (to succeed), and goner (doomed person).

The early twentieth century saw an influx of people from the South and other parts of the West. The people here are particularly fond of creating new slang and expressions, and, since Hollywood is located here, these quickly get spread to the rest of the country and the world.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, an extreme exaggeration of this dialect that came to be known as "Valley Girl" or "Surfer Dude" was popular among teenagers and much parodied in the media with phrases like "gag me with a spoon" and "barf me back to the stone age." Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Whoopie Goldberg in her one-woman show are two famous examples.

Southwestern (16) 
By the time this area became part of the United States, there had already been as many as ten generations of Spanish speaking people living here, so the Mexican dialect of Spanish had an important influence on this area that became a melting pot for dialects from all over the USA. Some local words are: caballero, cantina, frijoles, madre, mesa, nana, padre, patio, plaza, ramada, tortilla.

Hawaii (not shown) 
The original language of the Native Hawaiians is part of the Polynesian family. English speakers arrived in 1778, but many other settlers also came from China, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Spain, and the Philippines to influence the modern dialect. Hawaiian Creole developed from a pidgin English spoken on the sugar plantations with workers from Hawaii and many other countries. Some words are: look-see, no can, number one (the best), plenty (very). It isn't widely spoken anymore.

Nonstandard Hawaiian English developed from Hawaiian Creole and is spoken mostly by teenagers. Standard Hawaiian English is part of the Western dialect family but shows less influence from the early New England dialect than any other American dialect. It has many words borowed from the original Hawaiian as well as some from the other Asian languages mentioned above: aloha, hula, kahuna, lei, luau, muumuu, poi, ukulele.

General Southern

This dialect region matches the borders of the Confederate states that seceded during the "Confederate War" and is still a culturally distinct region of the United States. Since it was largely an agricultural area, people tended to move around less than they did in the north, and as a result, the subdialects are much less uniform than those of the General Northern regions and have much more clearly defined boundaries. Other languages that had an important influence on it are French (since the western region was originally French territory) and the African languages spoken by the people brought over as slaves.

People tend to speak slower here than in the north creating the famous southern "drawl." I is pronounced AH, and OO is pronounced YOO, as in "Ah'm dyoo home at fahv o'clock." An OW in words like loud is pronounced with a slided double sound AOO (combining the vowel sounds in "hat" and "boot"). Some local words are: boogerman, funky (bad smelling), jump the broomstick (get married), kinfolks, mammy, muleheaded, overseer, tote, y'all.

South Midland (17) 
This area, dominated by the Appalachian Mountains and the Ozark Mountains, was originally settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch moving south from the North Midland areas and the Scotch-Irish moving west from Virginia. A TH at the end of words or syllables is sometimes pronounced F, and the word ARE is often left out of sentences as they are in Black English. An A is usually placed at the beginning of verb that ends with ING, and the G is dropped; an O at the end of a word becomes ER. ("They a-celebratin' his birfday by a-goin' to see 'Old Yeller' in the theatah").

A T is frequently added to words that end with an S sound. Some words are: bodacious, heap, right smart (large amount), set a spell, and smidgin. American English has retained more elements of the Elizabethan English spoken in the time of Shakespeare than modern British English has, and this region has retained the most. Some Elizabethan words that are extinct in England are: bub, cross-purposes, fall (autumn), flapjack, greenhorn, guess (suppose), homely, homespun, jeans, loophole, molasses, peek, ragamuffin, reckon, sorry (inferior), trash, well (healthy).

Ozark (18) 
Made famous by the Beverly Hillbillies, this isolated area was settled by people from the southern Appalachian region and developed a particularly colorful manner of speaking.

Southern Appalachian (19) 
It is a popular myth that there are a few remote regions here that still speak an unchanged form of Elizabethan English, but they aren't true. Linguists are still studying the specific differences with South Midland.


As the northern dialects were originally dominated by Boston, the southern dialects were heavily influenced by Charleston, Richmond, and Savannah. They tend to drop Rs the way New Englanders do, but they don't add extra Rs. Some words are: big daddy (grandfather), big mamma (grandmother), Confederate War (Civil War), cooter (turtle), fixing to (going to), goober (peanut), hey (hello), mouth harp (harmonica), on account of (because).

Virginia Piedmont (20) 
When an R comes after a vowel, it becomes UH, and AW becomes the slided sound, AH-AW. Thus, four dogs becomes fo-uh dahawgs. Some local words are: hoppergrass (grasshopper), old-field colt (illegitimate child), school breaks up (school lets out), weskit (vest).

Coastal Southern (21) 
Very closely resembles Virginia Piedmont but has preserved more elements from the colonial era dialect than any other region of the United States outside Eastern New England. Some local words are: catty-corner (diagonal), dope (soda, Coca-Cola), fussbox (fussy person), kernal (pit), savannah (grassland), Sunday child (illegitimate child). They call doughnuts cookies.

Gullah (22) 
Sometimes called Geechee, this creole language is spoken by some African Americans on the coastal areas and coastal islands of Georgia and South Carolina and was featured in the novel on which the musical, Porgy and Bess, was based. It combines English with several West African languages: Mende, Yoruba, Wolof, Kongo, Twi, Vai, Temne, Ibo, Ewe, Fula, Umbundu, Hausa, Bambara, Fante, and more. The name comes either from the Gola tribe in Liberia or the Ngola tribe in Angola. The grammar and pronunciation are too complicated to go into here, but some words are: bad mouth (curse), guba (peanut - from which we get the English word goober), gumbo (okra), juju (magic), juke (disorderly, wicked), peruse (to walk leisurely), samba (to dance), yam (sweet potato).

Gulf Southern (23) 
This area was settled by English speakers moving west from Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas, as well as French speaking settlers spreading out from Louisiana, especially the Acadians (see "Cajuns" below). Some words are: armoire (wardrobe), bayou (small stream), bisque (rich soup), civit cat (skunk), flitters (pancakes), gallery (porch), hydrant (faucet), neutral ground (median strip), pecan patty (praline).

Louisiana (24) 
There's a lot going on down here. Many people in southern Louisiana will speak two or three of the dialects below.

Cajun French (the Cajuns were originally French settlers in Acadia, Canada - now called Nova Scotia - who were kicked out when the British took over; in 1765, they arrived in New Orleans which was still French territory) carries the highest prestige of the French dialects here and has preserved a number of elements from the older French of the 1600s. It has also borrowed some words from the Spanish who once controlled this area. There are many local variations of it, but they would all be mutually understandable with each other as well as - with some effort - the standard French in France.

Cajun English borrows vocabulary and grammar from French and gives us the famous pronunciations "un-YON" (onion) and "I ga-RON-tee" as well as the phrase "Let de good times role!", but movies about cajuns usually get the rest wrong. A famous authentic speaker is humorist Justin Wilson, who had a cooking show on PBS, with his catch phrase, "How y'all are? I'm glad for you to see me." New Orleans is pronounced with one syllable: "Nawlns."

There is another dialect of English spoken in New Orleans that is informally, and some would say pejoratively, called Yat (from the greeting, "Where y'at"), that resembles the New York City (particularly Brooklyn) dialect (more info). Provincial French was the upper class dialect of the pre-Cajun French settlers and closely resembles Standard French but isn't widely spoken anymore since this group no longer exists as a separate social class.

Louisiana French Creole blends French with the languages of the West Africans who were brought here as slaves. It is quite different from both the Louisiana and standard dialects of French but is very similar to the other creoles that developed between African and French on various Caribbean Islands. Married couples may speak Creole to each other, Cajun French with other people, and English to their children.

For more, visit: Dialect Map of American English is © Robert Delaney, C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University.

Map Challenge #1 — Europe!

This interactive quiz from Lizard Point tests your knowledge of the geography of European countries.  I got 124 of 141, for 87%. How did you do?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Europe Mislabeled by Americans!

After seeing America mislabeled by Australians and Europeans, let's see whether Americans can do any better labeling a map of Europe. Thanks again to BuzzFeed.

For the full set, see:

I didn't know Middle Earth was a country in Europe, but at least this person knows what matters about Scandinavia.

If we don't know what all the countries are, at least we know why they're important: pot, pierogies, ravioli, fjords, Mr. Darcy, and Dracula.

Europe would be easy to label, if it weren't for all those fake countries.

Four Polands, but at least this person knows where Benedict Cumberbatch lives.

This person obviously played Risk, but still doesn't know where Kamchatka is.

A college education doesn't seem to help.
But at least we know where Borat is from.

Mislabeled America!

Earlier, I posted a map of the United States with the states labeled by an Australian who'd never been here. BuzzFeed asked some British people to do the same thing, and here are some of the funniest examples.

For the full set, check here:

I like the state of "Middleshire." We definitely need one of those.

Three Utahs, and who knew Dorothy came from Detroit?

The Wild West states of Alaska, Wisconsin, Ohio, and "Arkinsaw"

It's good to know the British watch Breaking Bad.

This person's actually been to New York and can't find it on a map! Notable for the fact that Every. Single. State. h e labels is wrong.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Does Poverty Make My Ass Look Fat?

The correlation between poverty and obesity is more complicated than it first appears. "Poorer women are the most likely to be obese among all ethnicities. But there are a few counter-intuitive surprises here. The richest men were, overall, more likely to be obese than the poorest groups. The groups with the lowest rates of obesity were rich white women and poor black men. Obesity rises with income for black and Hispanic men, but it falls with income for black and Hispanic women. The relationship is clearly more complicated than 'a disease for poor people in a rich country.'"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

American Nations

Colin Woodard's excellent book American Nations explores the idea that the various waves of American immigration constitute individual "nations," with distinct cultures, mores, and values. We live not in a single "United" states but in a collection, and much of the conflict and issues we face today result from this. He wrote an excellent article about it in the Tufts University alumni magazine, and I'm copying part of what he wrote below: 

YANKEEDOM. Founded on the shores of Massachusetts Bay by radical Calvinists as a new Zion, Yankeedom has, since the outset, put great emphasis on perfecting earthly civilization through social engineering, denial of self for the common good, and assimilation of outsiders. It has prized education, intellectual achievement, communal empowerment, and broad citizen participation in politics and government, the latter seen as the public’s shield against the machinations of grasping aristocrats and other would-be tyrants. Since the early Puritans, it has been more comfortable with government regulation and public-sector social projects than many of the other nations, who regard the Yankee utopian streak with trepidation.

NEW NETHERLAND. Established by the Dutch at a time when the Netherlands was the most sophisticated society in the Western world, New Netherland has always been a global commercial culture—materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience. Like seventeenth-century Amsterdam, it emerged as a center of publishing, trade, and finance, a magnet for immigrants, and a refuge for those persecuted by other regional cultures, from Sephardim in the seventeenth century to gays, feminists, and bohemians in the early twentieth. Unconcerned with great moral questions, it nonetheless has found itself in alliance with Yankeedom to defend public institutions and reject evangelical prescriptions for individual behavior.

THE MIDLANDS. America’s great swing region was founded by English Quakers, who believed in humans’ inherent goodness and welcomed people of many nations and creeds to their utopian colonies like Pennsylvania on the shores of Delaware Bay. Pluralistic and organized around the middle class, the Midlands spawned the culture of Middle America and the Heartland, where ethnic and ideological purity have never been a priority, government has been seen as an unwelcome intrusion, and political opinion has been moderate. An ethnic mosaic from the start—it had a German, rather than British, majority at the time of the Revolution—it shares the Yankee belief that society should be organized to benefit ordinary people, though it rejects top-down government intervention.

TIDEWATER. Built by the younger sons of southern English gentry in the Chesapeake country and neighboring sections of Delaware and North Carolina, Tidewater was meant to reproduce the semifeudal society of the countryside they’d left behind. Standing in for the peasantry were indentured servants and, later, slaves. Tidewater places a high value on respect for authority and tradition, and very little on equality or public participation in politics. It was the most powerful of the American nations in the eighteenth century, but today it is in decline, partly because it was cut off from westward expansion by its boisterous Appalachian neighbors and, more recently, because it has been eaten away by the expanding federal halos around D.C. and Norfolk.

GREATER APPALACHIA. Founded in the early eighteenth century by wave upon wave of settlers from the war-ravaged borderlands of Northern Ireland, northern England, and the Scottish lowlands, Appalachia has been lampooned by writers and screenwriters as the home of hillbillies and rednecks. It transplanted a culture formed in a state of near constant danger and upheaval, characterized by a warrior ethic and a commitment to personal sovereignty and individual liberty. Intensely suspicious of lowland aristocrats and Yankee social engineers alike, Greater Appalachia has shifted alliances depending on who appeared to be the greatest threat to their freedom. It was with the Union in the Civil War. Since Reconstruction, and especially since the upheavals of the 1960s, it has joined with Deep South to counter federal overrides of local preference.

DEEP SOUTH. Established by English slave lords from Barbados, Deep South was meant as a West Indies–style slave society. This nation offered a version of classical Republicanism modeled on the slave states of the ancient world, where democracy was the privilege of the few and enslavement the natural lot of the many. Its caste systems smashed by outside intervention, it continues to fight against expanded federal powers, taxes on capital and the wealthy, and environmental, labor, and consumer regulations.

EL NORTE. The oldest of the American nations, El Norte consists of the borderlands of the Spanish American empire, which were so far from the seats of power in Mexico City and Madrid that they evolved their own characteristics. Most Americans are aware of El Norte as a place apart, where Hispanic language, culture, and societal norms dominate. But few realize that among Mexicans, norteños have a reputation for being exceptionally independent, self-sufficient, adaptable, and focused on work. Long a hotbed of democratic reform and revolutionary settlement, the region encompasses parts of Mexico that have tried to secede in order to form independent buffer states between their mother country and the United States.

THE LEFT COAST. A Chile-shaped nation wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade and Coast mountains, the Left Coast was originally colonized by two groups: New Englanders (merchants, missionaries, and woodsmen who arrived by sea and dominated the towns) and Appalachian midwesterners (farmers, prospectors, and fur traders who generally arrived by wagon and controlled the countryside). Yankee missionaries tried to make it a “New England on the Pacific,” but were only partially successful. Left Coast culture is a hybrid of Yankee utopianism and Appalachian self-expression and exploration—traits recognizable in its cultural production, from the Summer of Love to the iPad. The staunchest ally of Yankeedom, it clashes with Far Western sections in the interior of its home states.

THE FAR WEST. The other “second-generation” nation, the Far West occupies the one part of the continent shaped more by environmental factors than ethnographic ones. High, dry, and remote, the Far West stopped migrating easterners in their tracks, and most of it could be made habitable only with the deployment of vast industrial resources: railroads, heavy mining equipment, ore smelters, dams, and irrigation systems. As a result, settlement was largely directed by corporations headquartered in distant New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco, or by the federal government, which controlled much of the land. The Far West’s people are often resentful of their dependent status, feeling that they have been exploited as an internal colony for the benefit of the seaboard nations. Their senators led the fight against trusts in the mid-twentieth century. Of late, Far Westerners have focused their anger on the federal government, rather than their corporate masters.

NEW FRANCE. Occupying the New Orleans area and southeastern Canada, New France blends the folkways of ancien régime northern French peasantry with the traditions and values of the aboriginal people they encountered in northwestern North America. After a long history of imperial oppression, its people have emerged as down-to-earth, egalitarian, and consensus driven, among the most liberal on the continent, with unusually tolerant attitudes toward gays and people of all races and a ready acceptance of government involvement in the economy. The New French influence is manifest in Canada, where multiculturalism and negotiated consensus are treasured.

FIRST NATION. First Nation is populated by native American groups that generally never gave up their land by treaty and have largely retained cultural practices and knowledge that allow them to survive in this hostile region on their own terms. The nation is now reclaiming its sovereignty, having won considerable autonomy in Alaska and Nunavut and a self-governing nation state in Greenland that stands on the threshold of full independence. Its territory is huge—far larger than the continental United States—but its population is less than 300,000, most of whom live in Canada.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why Maps Are So Much Fun!

Here's somebody who's just as enthusiastic about maps as I am: a nice overall profile of why we have More Fun With Maps!

By the Vlogbrothers.

What's Your Real Capital City?

People were asked: On the level of North America as a whole, what major city do you feel has the most cultural and economic influence on your area overall?


Rapid Transit! — Traveling in the US in 1800

How long would it take to get from New York City to New Orleans in 1800? Four weeks! (Discovered on Pinterest,

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Living Wage Calculator — What Does It Cost to Live in Your City and State?

This interactive tool developed by MIT lets you pick any state and city in the US to find (a) the living wage needed to meet a minimum standard of living, the poverty wage, and the legal minimum wage, along with a lot of supporting data for where the figures come from.

From the website (

Introduction to the Living Wage Calculator

In many American communities, families working in low-wage jobs make insufficient income to live locally given the local cost of living. Recently, in a number of high-cost communities, community organizers and citizens have successfully argued that the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living. Therefore we have developed a living wage calculator to estimate the cost of living in your community or region. The calculator lists typical expenses, the living wage and typical wages for the selected location.

The original calculator was modeled after the Economic Policy Institute's metropolitan living wage tool. Users should know there are many researchers contributing tools and resources to the movement to achieve living wages. Diana Pearce at the University of Washington, Seattle is an important contributor to the living wage movement. Her work provides an alternative calculator.
Our tool is designed to provide a minimum estimate of the cost of living for low wage families. The estimates do not reflect a middle class standard of living. The realism of the estimates depend on the type of community under study. Metropolitan counties are typically locations of high cost. In such cases, the calculator is likely to underestimate costs such as housing and child care. Consider the results a minimum cost threshold that serves as a benchmark, but only that. Users can substitute local data when available to generate more nuanced estimates. Adjustments to account for local conditions will provide greater realism and potentially increase the accuracy of the tool. As developed, the tool is meant to provide one perspective on the cost of living in America.

Click here to visit the Living Wage Calculator.

Thanx and a tip o' the Hatlo Hat to Michael McCulley, aka @DrWeb2 on Twitter.