Likewise, why would the appropriate minimum wage be the same in, say, Birmingham, Alabama, as in Manhattan, where the overall cost of living is 2.5 times higher in comparison? A minimum wage of $10.10 per hour that is “right” nationally for the average cost of living would be way too low in Manhattan and way too high in Birmingham. The map below shows how a national minimum wage of $10.10 per hour would have to be adjusted to match the specific cost of living in various cities nationwide (and here is a more detailed map of a national minimum wage and a living wage, adjusted for the cost of housing in each U.S. county).
In New York City, the minimum wage should be $22.26 with this adjustment, while in Birmingham it would be $8.86. Therefore, the AEI and Lewis conclude that $10.10 is too high for low cost areas of the country. (And too low for places like New York City.) They propose that localities and states, not the federal government, should make these decisions.