What Life on Minimum Wage Looks Like in Kansas City
Written by GKCCEH
Published June 29, 2021

There’s a major disconnect between what people can earn in Kansas City and what they can afford. At a time when the minimum wage is a hotly debated topic, we decided to look into what minimum wage looks like in Kansas City. 

Because GKCCEH works in both Wyandotte and Jackson counties, we’re breaking down the data in Kansas and Missouri. 

Minimum wage rates and average rent cost in Kansas City

Kansas Minimum Wage: $7.25 per hour
Pre-tax Annual Income (40 hours): $15,080 
Average KC, Kansas rent (1 bedroom): $850 per month
Most affordable neighborhoods: $475-$695

Annual Income after rent: $4,880 – $9,380 

Missouri Minimum Wage: $10.40 per hour
Pre-tax Annual Income (40 hours): $21,424
Average KC, Missouri rent (1 bedroom): $1,092 per month
Most affordable neighborhoods: $620 – $739 per month

Annual Income after rent: $8,320 – $13,984

Additional Monthly Costs for a Single Person

Health Insurance: Minimum $230
Utilities:
$154+
Internet: $60.65
Food budget: Minimum $150
Phone bill: $70 single user
Total Annual Cost: $7,975.80

Remaining Annual Income (Kansas City, Kansas): Between -$3,095.80 and $1,404.20
Remaining Annual Income (Kansas City, Missouri): Between $344.20 and $6,008.20

Yes, you read that correctly. Before budgeting for taxes, clothing, gas or transportation, childcare, additional insurances, medical bills, or other necessary items to take care of a home, a Kansas City resident earning minimum wage at a full-time job in Kansas City could easily find themselves more than $3,000 in the hole at the end of the year. 

Earning a livable wage and sustaining a household can be extremely difficult, especially when other resources are limited. This is part of what makes housing and homelessness a complicated issue. Moving someone from extremely limited resources to a thriving life takes time, an extreme amount of effort, and money. 

This is not a political argument over whether or not the minimum wage should be raised or what additional resources should be available to people below a certain income level. This is simply a very basic and simplified example to show what minimum wage actually looks like in our local area.

If you are living in the Kansas City area and need assistance finding a job, housing, or resources, please reach out. We will listen to your individual story and connect you with organizations that can help.