Minimum Wage Rates Across The Country

With all this talk about the new minimum wage we thought we’d take a look at the state minimum wage rates from across the country.

    ALABAMA none
    ALASKA $7.15
    ARIZONA $6.75
    ARKANSAS $6.25
    CALIFORNIA $7.50
    COLORADO $6.85
    DELAWARE $6.65
    FLORIDA $6.67
    GEORGIA $5.15
    HAWAII $7.25
    IDAHO $5.85
    ILLINOIS $7.50
    INDIANA $5.85
    IOWA $6.20
    KANSAS $2.65
    KENTUCKY $5.85
    LOUISIANA none
    MAINE $6.75
    MARYLAND $6.15
    MICHIGAN $7.15
    MINNESOTA $6.15
    MISSOURI $6.50
    MONTANA $6.15
    NEBRASKA $5.85
    NEVADA $6.33
    NEW JERSEY $7.15
    NEW MEXICO $5.15
    NEW YORK $7.15
    NORTH DAKOTA $5.85
    OHIO $6.85
    OKLAHOMA $5.85
    OREGON $7.80
    RHODE ISLAND $7.40
    SOUTH DAKOTA $5.85
    TENNESSEE none
    TEXAS $5.85
    UTAH $5.15
    VERMONT $7.53
    VIRGINIA $5.85
    WASHINGTON $7.93
    WISCONSIN $6.50
    WYOMING $5.15

The moral of this story is that if you’re going to work a McJob, do it in Washington where you’ll be paid $7.93. Say, what’s the cost of living like in Washington?

Department of Labor


Edit Your Comment

  1. damn…sucks to be Kansas right about now

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    This makes some states look appealing, but if the cost of living is low because there isn’t much there (like perhaps Alaska) then competition for the McJobs are higher (as there are less jobs like that).

    I noticed a huge shift in the demographic of who is handing me my food at drive thrus when I moved from North NJ (right outside NYC) to central/southern NJ (right by the beach). More “regular folk”, less kids and people who barely know English.

    The cost of living is lower down here, but the “regular folk” pull in less money, so it all balances out in the end.

  3. virtaaj says:

    I dont think so people will be singing Sweet Home Albama anymore… :D

  4. Seacub says:

    With the cost of living in WA, $7.93 won’t get you far at all.

  5. JuliusJefferson says:

    On states that are designated with a “none”, I assume this means that this state has the federal minimum wage (because I know for a fact that there is a minimum wage in Alabama). However, with a number of states it gives the value as $5.15, which is the federal minimum wage. Just an odd way of presenting the data.

  6. gibsonic says:

    cost of living on the west coast is probably 3 times that of Kansas(if not more) so in reality it balances out ok.

    A new 2000 sqft house on a 1/2 acre on the west coast will probably cost your $400k if you are lucky.

    In Kansas, that same house on a 1/2 acre would probably be about $140 or less.

  7. ancientsociety says:

    Queue the commentators talking about how minimum is the downfall of American capitalism

  8. Sucko-T says:

    I live in Washington right across the river from Portland Oregon. You can’t buy a house for under $130,000. When I went to Texas you could buy a brand new house for that much. Minimum wage might be higher, but the jobs above that don’t seem to pay more than any other locale.

  9. nequam says:

    Shouldn’t that be $6.25 for Kansas? Looks like you might have a typo.

  10. whysteriastar says:

    Yeah, it’s between 8-10 in San Francisco county right now, but that’s NOTHING compared to the cost of living. That’s how all of these work. $5.15 in Wyoming goes just as far as $7.50 in California.

  11. Thrust says:

    How do these wages compare to what is being paid to border-jumpers? Just curious :p

    Tennessee, no minimum. If I ever need to set up a factory in the US, I know where now.

  12. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    So…whats the point in pushing to increase the minimum wage if it is just going to raise the overall cost of everything in an area?

  13. jayhawk03 says:

    nope kansas is $2.65. the legislature was talking about matching the federal level but I don’t know what happened with it.

  14. JuliusJefferson says:


    No. That’s correct, the minimum wage in Kansas IS $2.65/hr. However, since the federal minimum wage is greater than this, it’s a moot law. Same goes for all states with either “none” or minimum wages below the federal amount.

  15. JuliusJefferson says:

    Woops. Appears that I was wrong with my last statement. Kansas DOES have a minimum wage less than the federal minimum. However, I was correct in stating that states with “none” are covered under the federal law.

  16. LionMan says:

    Basically, with KS at least, the state min wage applies only if the business makes under a certain amount each year (don’t know the amount off-hand), and does not require using a phone or anything that would make the job covered under the federal wage. Also, farm jobs are not covered under either the state or federal minimum wage.

  17. Mom2Talavera says:

    We were going to move to Westport,CT (from MI) for my husband’s job but they didn’t give him enough of a raise for it to be worth it since the cost of living is WAY more in CT than MI. In Westport,CT $200,00 may get you a nice doghouse…lol

    /I’m disappointed because I hate it here!

    // grew up in CT and want to move back

    ///too “poor” to move back…lol

  18. frogpelt says:


    I’m still singing it. Capitalism will dictate what people should make. If you require companies to pay people too much for jobs that require less than one day of training (i.e., burger flippers) the negative results will be passed to the consumer and it still won’t guarantee that everyone will have jobs.

    What are we going to do next? Require everyone to have a job making at least minimum wage.

  19. badlydrawnjeff says:

    @AlteredBeast: Warm fuzzies.

  20. nequam says:

    Thanks for clarifying everybody! Damn that’s stingy.

  21. Tristan Smith says:

    Sadly I live in Orange County, California and most houses run around 500,000 to 1.5 million. Rentals range from about 750 to 3000 a month. Minimum wage wouldn’t cut it for me.

  22. dbeahn says:

    How come we don’t have a “WOW! I’m SO glad I live in Canada, we have a minimum wage of $100,000 US dollars a year here!” post yet?

    Come on Canadians, tell us why it’s better in the frozen north…

  23. Thorimm says:

    And what’s left out of this little debate? Tipped workers. By law, they can be paid significantly less. If the difference is not made up in tips, the employer is on the hook.
    Of course, many tipped employees paid under this system are ripped off, because when they do non-tipped jobs for the same employer, i.e. the waitress who helps restock supplies after closing, they are supposed to be paid at least the non-tipped minimum.

  24. Toof_75_75 says:


    ROCNRULE must not be reading right now…he’s the Canadian fall back…You can always be sure he’ll say something like, “See, if that were Canada, with our Socialized Medicine…blah blah blah” HAHA

    ROCNRULE, you reading this yet? :-p

  25. cnc1019 says:

    @Thorimm: You’re right. No one has reported on how this will change the 2.13 minimum wage for waitstaff in Texas (or if it will change at all)

  26. Art Vandelay says:

    @cnc1019: I don’t think it will change, since the argument is that with tips, you make well over minimum. A co-worker and former waiter like myself with a bit more knowledge on the economy says it will bump up, but he’s not sure by how much. Has anyone seen any articles or legislation about this?

  27. j-o-h-n says:

    FYI, Iowa minimum wage will go to $7.25 at the end of the year.

  28. chrisfromnl says:

    Up here in Canada the minimum is $7.50 currently, rising to $8.00 January 1st 2008…at least in my province. Good news for us students.

  29. Starfury says:

    I live on the west coast…a house in my area, 45 yrs old, 1300 sq ft, 3b 2ba: $600,000. Prices have fallen, they topped out around $650,000. Other areas (Palo Alto) $800,000 will get you a 2b 1ba house that’s 1000 sq ft.

    I’ve considered selling, paying off my mortgage and buying a new place for cash in Kansas…but finding a job that pays as well would be hard.

  30. balthisar says:

    @JuliusJefferson: Keep in mind that the federal minimum wage only applies to businesses classified as being involved in interstate trade or presence. If you have your own place and don’t buy your merchandise from out of state nor otherwise have out of state ties, then the state minimum wage applies. The reach of the federal government is only on the national level.

  31. Pipes says:

    Pennsylvania recently went up to $7.15 on July 1st. Which, again, sucks for servers like myself, since I’m still making $2.83/hour, but I can tell you that people aren’t tipping any more, and I’m being taxed more.

  32. StickVapor says:

    $2.75 an hour in Kansas!! $6.50 in Missouri?!!!
    That would be great if things were actually cheaper in Kansas. Work in Missery and live in Cans-As.

  33. StickVapor says:


    Universal Health Care and Canadian Bacon?

  34. bbbici says:


    i don’t think anyone earning minimum wage is buying a home, be it $140k or $400k!

    hell, i can’t even buy ANY home (other than a trailer) in my city with an $80k/year income.

    btw, in canada we don’t have a national minimum wage. here in alberta, it’s the national low at $7.85, but due to negative unemployment the real minimum is about $11.

  35. juri squared says:

    Illinois’ raise in minimum wage just kicked in within the past week or two. I think it’s a pretty good time to be living outside the Chicago area; the cost of living is lower but the state minimum wage is still high.

  36. Caswell says:

    @Art Vandelay:

    Let’s not forget that tipped employees have the easiest tax evasion scheme around by underreporting tips.

    I worked as a server in college, and everyone simply reported the minimum amount that would not trigger the restaurant having to kick them up to minimum wage. Made $150 on tips on one night? Report it as $40.

  37. Art Vandelay says:

    @Caswell: I think we’ve discussed this before, but your anecdotes are most likely outdated. My restaurant taxed me on 15% of sales, cash and credit, so there wasn’t much evasion to be done. It’s my understanding that a lot of restaurants/clubs operate the same way.

  38. Threnody says:

    @chrisfromnl: And in Ontario it’s going up $0.75/year until it hits $10.25 in 2010.

  39. ? graffiksguru says:

    I live in Washington, COL depends on what part, but the further up past Tacoma you go, the more expensive it gets. Gas is around $3 (unless your at Arco), cigarettes are friggin $6 a pack. Bellevue and Seattle are ridiculous. Olympia area is tolerable though, but you don’t get all the cool stuff that goes on in Seattle. Oh yeah, I-5/405 traffic sucks.

  40. ChaosMotor says:

    “damn…sucks to be Kansas right about now”

    Yes, but for entirely unrelated reasons. Kansas is required by law to abide by the Federal minimums. So while the individual states can have higher or lower minimum wages, there is only an impact when those wages are set higher than the Federal minimum.

    So yes, it does suck to be Kansas, but for entirely different reasons.

  41. j-o-h-n says:

    Best student job I ever had was busboy/room-service at swanky hotel/restaurant — since I wasn’t a server I got paid a little over minimum wage, but the wait staff invariably would tip me about 15% of their tips (and there would usually be 6 of them), so I usually made out better than they did (and they did well).

    The major bonanza would be when some businessman would want a bar setup in his suite — you’d wheel up $600 worth of booze, mixers, ice and whatnot and you’d get an automatic 15% tip on the bill and almost invariably they’d want to look impressive in front of everyone else and they’d tip you an extra $20-$50 in cash too.

  42. banned says:

    Believe it or not, I have no comment. My opinions were expressed in the last relevant post. Why would I care about the minimum wage rates!? The only opinion I would raise is that increasing the minimum wage anywhere does not hurt our economies in the end, at least when minimally raised.

  43. forgeten says:

    How many jobs actually get min wage though? When I was in hs/college every job I had paid a few dollars more than the 5.30 or whatever it was in the late 90’s – early 00’s. Granted most my jobs were in Cary NC which is somewhat of a fantasy land.

  44. gtr225 says:

    I think minimum wage should be determined by the average cost of living in the area. Because I’m sure upstate New York has a lower cost of living than New York City. In my opinion you’ll need to make $10+ per hour to get by in NYC.

  45. drjayphd says:

    @Mom2Talavera: Well, that’s because it’s Westport. I’m kind of looking at places around New Haven or Hartford and although it’s still out of my price range (what is this “living wage” you speak of?) it’s more reasonable than, well, down there. ;) Dare I ask where in CT you grew up?

  46. Des says:

    When I worked as a server in CA I was paid minimum wage + my tips. And if I wasn’t serving that night I was paid about $.50 more per hour. And not claiming all my tips was pretty easy. The computer would automatically make me claim all the tips I entered on credit cards, but anything in cash was up to me to fess up to. Most servers just claimed their CC tips and left it at that, even if they made $50 more in cash.

    As for living in Washington- As an Army wife I’m granted BAH which pays me a certain amount of money per month depending on where I live. Nearly everywhere in Washington is the same, which is higher than nearly anywhere in California… yet it’s barely enough.

  47. tandonmiir says:

    As a college student in Washington, I’d say cost of living depends wildly on where you live.

    As long as you don’t live anywhere close to Microsoft, a minimum wage job isn’t too bad; Washington has some steep taxes on some things, but lighter things on others (such as the $30+some fees car license tabs.)

    Of course, in NO state in the Union can you survive with kids on one minimum wage job doing 40/week, but that’s beside the point.

  48. Caswell says:

    @Art Vandelay:

    Makes more sense to do it that way… my experience was back in ’97, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it was outdated.

    That said, I would’ve died if I got taxed on 15% of my sales. I worked at a casual dining restaurant in Orlando in a tourist district, and people on vacation are either ignorant of tipping customs or just plain cheap. 15% of sales was a good night. Lots of memories of tables that left me in the red after tipping out to the bar/busser/expo.

    There’s a reason I only did that job for one summer. Good motivation to get a real internship.

  49. daub815 says:

    The correct minimum wage in PA is now $7.15 an hour. However, small businesses are still the same as the post’s data. I usually say that small increments of money won’t change my tax bracket, but I think this time it might. Here’s to bottom of the bucket pay!

  50. Tallanvor says:

    People forget that Washington goes on east of the Cascades. $7.93 is worth more in Eastern Washington where housing costs are lower.

    Even still, no matter where you are, $7.93 isn’t great.

  51. TechnoDestructo says:


    The cost of living is high in Alaska. In southeast Alaska and Anchorage, housing prices are high (in Anchorage, because there are a lot of people, in southeast because there is little useable land, and what land there is has to be BLASTED level to build on it). In the places where land and housing is cheap, everything else is expensive. Expect to pay (last I checked) about 1 1/2 times as much for produce as most places in the lower 48, including a lot of expensive ones. A gallon of milk has been in the 4 dollar range or higher since the mid-late 90s.

    And that’s only for places on the road network. You go out in the boonies, and I hope you like hunting and fishing, because if you don’t you’re going to be spending a goddamn lot of money on food.

    I don’t know about prices for EVERYTHING in Washington, but housing is maybe slightly better than the popular parts of California, and food is a damn sight cheaper than Alaska.

  52. maximeyocks says:

    It’s funny all this about Alaska and Washington. I lived in Fairbanks, AK for four years and the wage will barely cover food. We get to shop on post and a gallon of milk is $4.83. I have no idea how people could afford to buy food if they couldn’t shop on post (ie: in the Army) because a freaking bell pepper was $2.80 at Safeway!!! The houses are all crappy. The rentals are all crappy. About $1000 for a 2 bed 2 bath. Now, we have moved to Washington in the last month. The wage here is barely sustaining us. It’s nice because we don’t HAVE to buy our food on post because the prices are comparable to those on the outside (like Albertson’s) but our condo costs as much as a mansion in Tennessee.

  53. jetfxr27 says:

    $40 per hour to be exact,
    “Mayor George Darden won’t be facing state civil or criminal charges for hiring illegal aliens to work on an urban revitalization project in his village, but Department of Labor officials informed him yesterday that the $10 an hour he paid 10 men doesn’t comply with the state’s prevailing wage law and taxpayers will have to pay the illegals the difference of about $30 an hour.”
    Full story

  54. Havok154 says:

    Damn, I need to become an illegal alien.

  55. Mom2Talavera says:

    @drjayphd: Weston and Woodbury.

    I love New Haven more than Hartford.

  56. bombaxstar says:

    @jurijuri: You’re right; I live in Southern Illinois.

    So. IL ftw!

  57. MariSama44 says:

    Thats weird. I live in Alabama and there’s definenly a minimum wage…Atleast the laws for it have always been posted all over the break room at all three of my previous jobs.

  58. Michael says:

    @jetfxr27: I love the smell of propaganda in the morning.

  59. Musician78 says:

    It is pretty sad that they have to tell employers how little they can legally pay someone. I would be embarassed to pay people so little.

  60. markwm says:

    I would be embarrassed to not have skills or knowledge that made me worth more.

  61. virtaaj says:

    @frogpelt: Yeah, even I am singing it. Its a wonderful song. I think everyones’ rights should be protected, employers as well as employees.

    There are some employers who make people work and in the end dont pay at all and there are employees who just intend to form unions for their own benefits.

    I mean to say that there should be proper laws for both the parties and proper implementation too!

  62. Musician78 says:

    @ MARKWM: I agree with that as well.

  63. snowferret says:

    Dude our minimum wage here in Ontario is 8 or something and due to rise to 10. Come get a McJob HERE.

  64. synergy says:

    @snowferret: And the taxes would be…?

  65. Trackback says:

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  66. RoccoEspionate says:

    The list should be updated because there have been some changes. For
    example, Washington’s minimum wage is $8.03 not $7.93.