From what I've seen, the people crowing about minimum wage not being a "living wage" are the ones with little to no marketable skills and who have made poor life decisions.
It is certainly possible to live on a minimum wage income if you (a) get a roommate and (b) don't have children (you can't afford them). Tens of thousands of college students do it every year. In my area the people demanding a "living wage" aren't willing to get roommates or make other sacrifices and then complain that their cost of living is too high. They think they are entitled to a place all to themselves, can have as many kids as they want and should be able to have the same things that people making two or three times what they make are able to afford.
I checked the neighborhood paper yesterday and you can get a two-bedroom on the near-south side of Chicago for $1,200 per month. Chicago's minimum wage is $10.50 for private workers, so that's $21,000 a year gross income if you work 40 hours a week (with 2 weeks vacation). That puts you in the 15% Federal tax bracket with state taxes running 3.5%. So you've got about $1,400 a month to spend on rent, food, health insurance, transportation and clothing. $600 rent, $200 food, $300 insurance (individual market), $100 transportation (monthly pass) and say $100 for clothing. It's not going to be a fun lifestyle, but it's totally workable. It's how I lived when I first got out of school in the late 90's and I had a background in computer science with 5 years of experience doing programming and sysadmin/DBA work for a web startup.
There's a quotation from the movie "Monster" that's very apropos, "when the beach party is over, you don't get to say, "you know what? Now I think I'd like to have what everybody else has worked their entire life for.' It doesn't work that way."