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This is how much single adults in Kentucky need to earn to live comfortably in 2024, according to analysis

Financial stability may be more difficult to achieve as US consumer goods prices continue to rise

After all, how much do you have to earn to be able to live comfortably as a single person in 2024? That question was the broad subject of a recent analysis from the financial technology company SmartAsset, which studied the basic cost of living for single working adults in every state.

SmartAsset fueled its analysis by using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator and applying the 50/30/20 rule, which recommends spending roughly 50% of one’s income on basic needs like food and shelter , while 30% is spent on “needs” and wants and the rest is used to pay off debt and grow savings accounts. The resulting analysis provided estimates of hourly wages and annual salaries that would allow single adults and families with two parents and two children to live comfortably in the U.S., plus rankings for all 50 states.

Here’s what you need to know about the study’s findings for Kentucky, the Lexington region and beyond.

How expensive is it to live comfortably in Kentucky?

Across the Bluegrass State, a working adult must earn at least $80,704 per year – or $38.80 per hour – to meet basic needs, finance common desires and properly maintain savings, according to the report. SmartAsset. That figure ties Kentucky with Ohio, both of which rank fifth among the cheapest states in the country, between South Dakota ($81,453 per year) and North Dakota ($80,538).

SmartAsset’s analysis shows that the average family with two working adults raising a few children needs to earn at least $190,112 a year to live comfortably in Kentucky. Overall, that also gives the Commonwealth the fifth-cheapest figure, between South Dakota ($192,608 per year) and Louisiana ($189,613).

Locally, single working adults without children must earn at least $19.23 per hour to support themselves on a living wage in Fayette County, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator. Two adults supporting two children in the area would need to earn at least $23.57 an hour to support the family on a living wage, the online tool suggests.

In general, most necessities in the US have become more expensive in the past year.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, the cost of all measured consumer goods and services rose 3.5% in those twelve months. Overall food prices rose about 2.2% over the year, while shelter (5.7%) and gasoline (1.3%) also rose. Transport services saw the largest price increase of all categories measured in that period, with an increase of approximately 10.7% in the past twelve months.

Buying homes in Central Kentucky is becoming even more difficult as prices hit a new all-time high, according to the report

How does the rest of the country compare?

According to SmartAsset’s analysis, no state has a higher estimated cost of living than Massachusetts, where a single adult must earn at least $116,022 per year (or $55.78 per hour) to live comfortably. Hawaii ($113,693 per year) and California ($113,651 per year) follow closely as the second and third most expensive states for single working adults without children.

West Virginia requires a salary of $78,790 to enable one working adult to meet all basic needs, wants and needs and is estimated to be the cheapest state in the country. Arkansas ($79,456) and Oklahoma ($80,413) round out the cheapest states in that regard, SmartAsset suggests.

Mississippi is estimated as the cheapest state for a family with two parents and two children to live comfortably ($177,798), while Massachusetts ($301,184) again claimed the most expensive state in this category.

Read SmartAsset’s full study at smartasset.com/data-studies/state-salary-living-comfortably-2024. You can visit livingwage.mit.edu to view living wage statistics for states, counties and metropolitan areas across the country.

Do you have a question about employment in Kentucky for our service journalism team? We’d love to hear from you. Complete our Know Your Kentucky form or email [email protected].