No, not Coca Cola. COLA, as in Cost Of Living Adjustment. It’s a way of understanding how expensive it is to live where you are, and what that means relative to the national average salary of a Youth Pastor. As a refresher, the 2018 national average number is $46,581 for a full-time Youth Pastor across all levels of education and experience.
By multiplying that average salary by a state’s COLA percentage, you can get a rough idea of the type of adjustment a state’s living costs have indicated the market value is of a Youth Pastor with average compensation.
Your State’s Salary Adjustment = (1 + COLA%) x $46,581
In the survey, we used California’s lofty 19.76% COLA adjustment in the formula. So, (1+.1976)*$46,581 = $55,785 as the weighted adjusted salary for a Youth Pastor with average compensation in California. This actually aligns quite a bit with California law, as the salary exempt minimum for a YP in 2018 is $43,680, calculated from an $10.50/hr minimum wage for companies of 25 or less employees needing to then be doubled over a forty-hour work week, annually. So for California Youth Pastors specifically, the actual law-dictated minimum base salary for entry level in 2018 was $43,680 and the average salary is calculated based on COLA as $55,785. Now, in 2019 with a $12 minimum wage for companies with 25 or more employees, the salary exempt minimum is $49,920 ($12 x 2 x 40hrs x 52wks).
Find your state in the graphic below, organized by alphabetical order to see your state’s average Youth Pastor Salary with the percentage COLA calculated. We included the number of respondents so you could get an idea of the sample size. This chart only includes states with at least 15 respondents who reported having a housing allowance.
Now, see where your state ranks, and how it compares to others when the data is organized by COLA adjustment.
Also, you can check out the Cost of Living Calculator by city over at Nerdwallet if you want to compare cities to each other.