About Living Wage

Living Wage Rates for 2017

  • $12.34 in all towns in Western Massachusetts except Northampton and Amherst which have higher housing costs

  • $13.36 in Northampton

  • The rate for Amherst is in the process of being calculated


How the Living Wage is Calculated

The living wage rates are based on a basic needs budget for a single person without children which includes:

  • Housing, including utilities

  • Health Care

  • Food

  • Transportation

  • Taxes and payroll deductions

  • Other Monthly Expenses

The Living Wage is Updated Annually 

In order to insure that the living wage keeps pace with the cost of living, living wage rates are changed every year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Northampton Western Massachusetts Change in CPI
2017 $13.36 $12.34
2016* $13.18 $12.17 +1.3%
2015 $13.18 $12.17 +0.1%
2014 $12.97 $11.98 +1.6%
2013 $12.78 Not calculated +1.5%


*Due to large drops in energy costs, the CPI increase in 2015 was close to zero and only added one cent to the living wage rates. LWWM did not increase the living wage rates in 2016, but included the one cent increase in the increases for 2017.


Why pay a Living Wage?

It pays to pay a Living Wage:

  • Retain experienced workers and cut turnover costs

  • Attract more qualified workers

  • Boost worker morale and effort

  • Help workers and their families to make ends meet

  • Help improve the health of workers and their families

  • Workers with more money to spend boost local economy

  • People who care about a Living Wage will be likely to use your business, including members of LWWM


Why is certification important?

Certified employers get publicity:

  • Living Wage decal or certificate to display

  • Listed on LWWM website with a link to your website

  • Northampton certified employers are recognized by the

Northampton City Council


Find out How to Become a Certified Employer.