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What Really is the Minimum Wage in DuPage County?

November 1, 2007

$7.75 an hour doesn’t go far

The truth of the matter is that a person with a family can’t survive on minimum wage. In Illinois, the minimum wage was just bumped up to $7.75 an hour. At that rate, someone would have to work 20 hours a day, five days a week to be able to barely afford the basic needs in DuPage County for a family of four. We pretty much know that working that much is impossible.

Living below the poverty line in DuPage

Last year in Naperville alone, there were 4,292 people living in poverty. The poverty line is defined as a family of four making $20,000 or less. Though not officially poor, families with low incomes ($40,000 a year or less) often still find it difficult to meet their basic needs.

Hard Choices

Low–income residents in DuPage County are forced to choose between paying their rent or going to the doctor, living in a safe home or having child care, keeping the phone on or having enough food. An estimated 45,000 to 63,000 people in DuPage have no health insurance. Last year, between the months of January and March, an average of 8,424 DuPage County households needed to go to food pantries each month.

Think about transportation alone. Living in the suburbs, a car becomes a necessity. Owning a car can be very expensive. Workers making $12 an hour spend about 20 percent of their income on transportation; in contrast minimum wage earners spend about 45 percent.

Going Beyond Minimum Wage

One way Bridge Communities helps the clients they serve is to take time out to train or educate the person for a specific job so they can begin to earn a higher hourly rate or salary. They must be able to earn more than minimum wage to survive in DuPage County.

Bridge Communities wants to thank you for making a difference. By sleeping out on November 3rd and finding sponsors, you are telling everyone that you acknowledge this to be a problem and you are doing something toward solving it.

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