How Much a Year is 15 Dollars an Hour? How to Easily Live on It?

In this post, you’ll learn how much a year is 15 dollars an hour and how you can live on this income.

In the United States, the minimum wage per hour is $7.25 and it hasn’t increased since 2009.

But in the year 2019, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that the minimum wage will increase slowly to $15 an hour by 2025. 

If you’re earning below $15 an hour, then the question is, “How is your life going to look like when you earn 15 per hour?.”

Taking that in mind you need to have an idea of yearly, monthly, biweekly, and weekly income. Also how much taxes you’re going to pay?

All of that and more amazing information is discussed in this post.

So let’s get started.

How much a year is 15 dollars an hour?

Because we are going to calculate this value for the US workers. That’s why to get the actual calculation done you need three variables:

  1. working hours per day
  2. working days per week
  3. wage rate per hour

In the US, traditional business hours are eight each day (9 AM to 5 PM) from Monday to Friday which is 40 hours per week.

Now there are 52 weeks in a year. 

Here is the actual calculation of how much a year is 15 dollars an hour:

Yearly income = $15 X 40 X 52 = $31,200/year

So you earn a total of $31,200 each year at $15 an hour each day for 8 hours. 

Many uncertain events and problems like illness and marriage ceremonies come throughout the year. Due to this, you may take unpaid leave during working days. 

Let’s say you take 2 weeks of unpaid leave each year. Now your working weeks decreased to 50 weeks a year. 

In this case here is how much you earn a year: 

Yearly income = $15 X 40 X 50 = $30,000

You make $30,000 before tax income per year working at $15 an hour for 40 hours per week for 50 weeks a year.

You’re now clear on how much a year is $15 dollars an hour.

Let’s jump to the next section.

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How much a year is 15 dollars an hour after taxes?

There are four different types of tax rates applied to your personal income:

  1. the federal income tax rate
  2. state income tax rate
  3. social security payroll tax 
  4. medicare payroll tax

Let’s see the brackets of each category one by one.

For calculating the after-tax income per year, you need to know in which tax bracket your yearly income is falling for a specific amount category. 

Here are the US federal tax brackets from IRS:

Tax RateSingleHead of HouseholdMarried Filing Jointly or Qualifying WidowMarried Filing Separately
10%$0 to $9,950$0 to $14,200$0 to $19,900$0 to $9,950
12%$9,951 to $40,525$14,201 to $54,200$19,901 to $81,050$9,951 to $40,525
22%$40,526 to $86,375$54,201 to $86,350$81,051 to $172,750$40,526 to $86,375
24%$86,376 to $164,925$86,351 to $164,900$172,751 to $329,850$86,376 to $164,925
32%$164,926 to $209,425$164,901 to $209,400$329,851 to $418,850$164,926 to $209,425
35%$209,426 to $523,600$209,401 to $523,600$418,851 to $628,300$209,426 to $314,150
37%$523,600 or more$523,600 or more$628,300 or more$314,151 or more

You can see the US state income tax brackets here at Tax Foundation. Out of these states, 7 have no income tax, 11 have a flat income tax rate, and 33 have a Graduated income tax rate.

If you’re an employee you pay 6.2% of your yearly income is a taxable maximum of upto $147,000 in 2022. The Medicare tax is 1.45% of your yearly income. The tax rate for social security and Medicare is for employees working for employers. If you’re self-employed then you pay 2.9%.

As an employee, you’re earning $31,200 a year. Your tax bracket is 12% while zero state tax, social security is 6.2%, and Medicare is 1.45%. The total tax becomes 19.65% a year.

After-tax income per year = $31,200 − 0.1965($31,200) = $25,069.2

You’re left with an after-tax income of $25,069 a year at $15 an hour. 

If you’ve taken an unpaid leave of 2 weeks in a year then after-tax income will be:

After-tax income per year = $30,000 − 30,000 X 0.1965 = $24,105

You have taken the idea of how much a year is 15 dollars an hour after taxes. Now the same tax rate is applied in the below sections to calculate after-tax semiannually, quarterly, monthly, biweekly, weekly, and daily income.

How much is $15 an hour semiannually?

Half-year consists of six months and 26 weeks. 

For getting the semiannual figures divide yearly income by 2. 

Here is the actual calculation: 

Before-tax income = $31,200/2 = $15,600

Income after tax = $25,069/ 2 = $12,534.5

If you pass one week of unpaid leave in between 6 months then: 

Before-tax income = $30,000/2 = $15,000

After-tax income = $24,105/ 2 = $12,052.5

You make $15,600 semiannually which remains a $12,535 after-tax deduction.

How much is $15 an hour quarterly?

For calculating quarterly income divide the semiannual income by 2 because two quarters make half a year. Or you can divide the yearly income by 4. 

Here are the actual figures: 

Before-tax income = $15,600/2 = $7,800

Income after tax = $12,534/ 2 = $6,267

You make $7,800 in before-tax income while working $5,020 hours in 3 months period. And after-tax deduction remains at $6,267.

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How much is $15 an hour per month?

The month consists of four weeks with 20 working days. 

With 8 hours of work, a day the total working hours for a month becomes 160.

Multiplying this with $15 an hour you get the following results: 

Monthly before tax income = $15 X 160 hours = $2,400 per month

While considering the tax on this income you’ll remain with:

Monthly after-tax income= $2,400 − $2,400(0.1965) = ~ $1,928

You earn $2,400 before tax income while after paying tax your remaining income will be $1,928 per month at 15 dollars an hour. 

How much is $15 an hour biweekly?

In two weeks you work for 80 hours and multiplying 80 by 15 dollars an hour gives you a before-tax income of $1,200 and an after-tax income of $964.

How much is $15 an hour weekly?

A week consists of 40 hours and multiplying them by $15 an hour gives you $600 before-tax income and $482 in after-tax income.

How much is $15 an hour per day?

Considering no extra working hours or overtime you work for 8 straight hours from 9 AM to 5 PM. Multiplying 8 hours with a $15 an-hour rate gives earns you $120 a day income. 

After deducting tax you’ll remain with $96.42. 

Here is the calculation from the above data:

After-tax daily income = $120 − $120X0.1965 = $96.42

Now you’re clear that if you earn $15 an hour then you’ll make $120 a day. After deducting taxes you’ll remain with $96.42. 

What does the average US worker earn per hour?

The average hourly earnings of US workers vary depending on the industry and service they’re providing. But it is more than the minimum hourly wage of $7.25. 

Here is the latest table from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics that lists hourly wages for February, March, and April 2022:

Table For the Year 2022 Average Earning Per HourAverage Weekly Earnings
Type of Industry Feb 2022Mar 2022Apr 2022Feb 2022Mar 2022April 2022
Total private31.6031.75$31.85$1,096.52$1,098.55$1,102.01
Mining and logging35.7735.7836.181,616.801,635.151,617.25
Durable goods31.9932.2132.391,311.591,320.611,324.75
Nondurable goods28.0128.0028.191,126.001,122.801,124.78
Private service-providing31.5231.6931.761,059.071,064.781,067.14
Trade, transportation, and utilities27.2327.4227.41928.54929.54931.94
Wholesale trade34.634.6934.81,356.321,366.791,367.64
Retail trade22.6622.8122.71688.86684.3683.57
Transportation and warehousing27.6327.7527.881,049.941,051.731,065.02
Financial activities40.7341.0741.231,531.451,548.341,550.25
Professional and business services38.0138.3038.511,398.771,405.611,413.32
Education and health services31.2731.2531.311,047.551,046.881,045.75
Leisure and hospitality19.4319.6419.75503.24508.68513.5
Other services28.2828.1228.03916.27908.28905.37

What is the minimum wage in US states?

In most of the US states the minimum wage per hour is what the federation has set which is $7.25 per hour. But in Georgia and Wyoming, it’s below that threshold that’s 5.15 per hour.

While in other states wage per hour is more than $7.25 and goes upto $15.20 per hour in Washington in 2022. The rates are increasing from 2020 and 2021.

Here is the table of the latest data from Paycor for the years 2020, 2021, and 2022 for minimum hourly wage in different US states:

Minimum Hourly Wage in the US States
Washington D.C.$15.00$15.20$15.20
New Hampshire$7.25)$7.25$7.25
New Jersey$11.00$12.00$13.00
New Mexico$9.00$10.50$11.50
New York$11.80$12.50$13.20
North Carolina$7.25$7.25$7.25
North Dakota$7.25$7.25$7.25
Rhode Island$10.50$11.50$12.25
South Carolina$7.25$7.25$7.25
South Dakota$9.30$9.45$9.95
West Virginia$8.75$8.75$8.75

How does your yearly pay compare with other US states?

The average income per year in the US is $65,750. In comparison to that average, you’re earning $31,200 which is 47.45% of the national average.

If you’re earning $15 an hour which accounts for $31,200 per year then how much you’re earning in comparison to other US states? To do this your income is compared with the average individual income in other states. 

Here is the list of average personal income per year comparison of states with $15 per hour annual income:  

StateAverage Income Per YearPercentage (comp)
District of Columbia$134,879.5423.13%
New Hampshire$111,787.9427.91%
New Jersey$119,883.9726.03%
New Mexico$72,198.1443.21%
New York$101,402.7630.77%
North Carolina$83,726.9837.26%
North Dakota$87,614.5035.61%
Rhode Island$100,468.7431.05%
South Carolina$83,231.9737.49%
South Dakota$90,680.4434.41%
West Virginia$75,856.3541.13%

At $15 an hour, the yearly income of $31,200 is less than 50% of the state’s average personal income per year.

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Can I live on 15 dollars an hour?

According to Nerdwallet, the average cost of living data for one, two, three, four, and five peoples family is here: 

  • for only one person the cost is $3,189 per month which is $38,266 per year
  • if you’re a couple or two persons it is $5,572 per month while $66,861per year
  • for three people family the cost rise to $6,178 per month or $74,134 per year
  • for four people family, it is $7,095 per month and $81,361 per year
  • while the family of five has $6,780 per month or $81,361 a year

A family of five has lower expenses than a family of four people because of statistical analysis methods. 

But here the point to be noted is that if you analyze the data, then the cost of living for one person is $3,189 or $38,266 a year. That means at $15 an hour you can’t afford the expenses as a single person. 

But that is just an estimated statistical analysis based on a survey. This doesn’t mean that you actually need that money to live as a single person. 

Your capability to cover necessary expenses also depends on different other factors. For example, the state you’re living in and how you spend that money.

Here is the Fool table for how Americans divide their monthly disposable income into the following expenses with different percentages. 

Type of ExpenseAmount Per MonthPercentageAmount Per Year
Personal insurance and pensions$60411.80%$7,246
Restaurants and other meals away from home$1983.90%$2,375
Cash contributions$1903.70%$2,283
Apparel and services$1202.30%$1,434
Personal care$541.10%$646
Alcoholic beverages$400.80%$478
Tobacco/smoking products$260.50%$315
Total Spendings$5,111$61,334

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How to live on 15 dollars an hour?

In the above question we discussed that can you live on a $15/hour wage. Continuing that answer here I will give you some tips and tricks on how to live on this wage as a single person. 

The tips are related to being frugal on the spending side. This doesn’t mean that you need to stay a cheap and stingy lifestyle but wisely manage your money in a careful way. 

Here are some amazing tips: 

  • create a budget each month to take control of your spending
  • avoid debt of any type if you don’t have any important need
  • save money on groceries by following shopping tips
  • pay off your existing debt to lower interest expense
  • stop your instant gratifications and impulse purchasing
  • get a house for reasonable rent 
  • cut down on online renewable subscriptions
  • stop using cable if you don’t need it
  • follow saving money tips and apply them practically
  • increase your income by working extra time or doing a side hustle

If you follow these tips then I’m sure you can easily live on a $ 15-an-hour wage and cover monthly expenses by saving some money.

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What are the jobs that pay 15 dollars an hour?

There are dozens and dozens of jobs available online and offline that promise to pay $15 an hour. I won’t list all of them here but below is the table listing some amazing jobs:

JobsRate per hour
Mail handler$15.30
Medical assistant$15.60
Administrative assistant$16.70
Medical transcriber$15.50
Veterinary technician$16.10
Delivery driver$16.27
Construction worker$16.20
Laboratory assistant$15.70
Bus driver$16.50
Medical billing specialist$16.50
Fitness instructor$24
Dental assistant$17.92

For finding more jobs visit this article:

Can you buy a house with 15 dollars an hour income?

Totally depends on $15 an hour you can’t buy a house. It is impossible in my opinion because you can’t afford mortgage payments per month. 

The average mortgage payment soars 36% higher in the US at $1,275 per month. Which is not affordable for an employee earning $15/hour.

While housing prices are not affordable as well. Here is the latest data for housing prices in different areas in different states: 

You can afford a small house in a cheap state if you have a lot of savings or property already. By utilizing that you can buy a house by making a down payment to lower monthly mortgage payments. 

Don’t go for buying a house if you’re a lower income. The reason is that it puts your financial future in trouble. 

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How to increase your income from 15 dollars an hour?

As an employee, you can raise your hourly wage and make more money per month. 

Here are some simple tips if you want to implement them: 

  • ask for a raise from your boss
  • take on an extra job after working hours
  • start online freelancing and a blog
  • open a youtube channel for a specific topic
  • start a side business in your city

Following these tips and tricks, you can increase your per-hour pay to $20, $25, and even $30 easily. 

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How to budget 15 dollars an hour income?

For budgeting $15 an hour you can use any of the four methods. The first three are based on percentages and the third is based on the situation.

Here are the three methods: 

  • 50/30/20 budget method 
  • 60/30/10 budget method
  • 70/20/10 budget method
  • barebone budget method

In the first method, you spend 50% of after-tax income on needs, 30% on wants, and 20% on saving and paying off debt. 

The second method proposes that you set aside 60% of income for savings, investing, and paying debt, spend 30% on needs, and 10% on wants. You can use it when your important expenses are lower due to the cheap living area.

The third method of budgeting says that you spend 70% of your income on your needs and everyday spending, 20% on savings and investment purposes, and 10% on debt payments or donations. 

The fourth method called barebone budgeting is used when your financial goals have priority and your income is low. In this method, you avoid wants and just spend to fulfill your important needs. For example, you avoid vacations, dining out, and doing parties. If your financial situation is worse you can use barebones budgeting. 

These are the four best methods for budgeting $15 an hour of pay.


Now you have a clear understanding of how much a year is 15 dollars an hour.

It’s $31,200 before-tax income and depending on the taxes applied the after-tax income can vary.

If you budget your income each month at this hourly rate and cut down extra expenses then you can easily afford your expenses as a single person.

But if you’re wishing to buy a house with a mortgage then you need to increase your monthly income. Because as I early said that mortgage payment on average is $1275 per month and housing prices are also higher these days.

As a teenager with no job, it’s the best option to take on a $15 per hour. It will help you get motivated towards finding other great opportunities and earning more. And if you’re a student then that kind of income can cover a lot of your educational expenses and helps you lower students loan.

My final opinion about the $15 per hour rate jobs is in favor of teenagers, students, single people with few expenses, and those living in low-cost US states.

But I don’t say that it’s enough for a family consisting of two or more people and those who want to live a life of financial freedom.

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Ahmad Ali