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Could You Survive on Minimum Wage?

A look at minimum wages across the country
Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder.com writer

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When someone -- radio talk-show hosts, political pundits, your angry relative waving a dinner roll at you on Thanksgiving -- discusses state and federal rights, it's usually about something rather controversial. The topics are usually left out of polite conversation for fear of enraging the opposing side.

Lost in the shuffle of touchy subjects is the issue of minimum wage. Plenty of dust has been raised over the issue, but most people just accept the fact that there is a federal minimum wage and a state one (or at least the option for a state one). Regardless of whether you think all employers in all states should be held to the same wage or you believe it's a case-by-case choice, you'd be surprised to see how much wages vary across the country.

As food for thought, we decided to look at how much the state-defined minimum wage is in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Then we calculated how much you would earn if you earned that hourly rate and worked 40 hours per week for 52 weeks. Could you, in your current situation, survive on that income? Keep in mind that at the federal minimum wage of $6.55, a worker would earn $13,624 per year. This will give you an idea of how your compensation stacks up against the minimum wage in your state.

Note: Each state has its own guidelines for compensation. In some places, you're guaranteed an increased income if you work a certain amount of consecutive days or if you work overtime. Some states don't require overtime compensation if your monthly income is above a certain threshold. You can be exempt from minimum wage depending on your occupation, also. A waitress might have a base pay of $3.50 per hour but could earn enough tips to compensate for the difference. Basically, no two states are alike, so you should investigate what policies are in place where you live.


Alabama
Minimum wage: No state minimum wage/$6.55*
Annual income: $13,624

Alaska
Minimum wage: $7.15
Annual income: $14,872

Arkansas
Minimum wage: $6.25
Annual income: $13,000

Arizona
Minimum wage: $7.25
Annual income: $15,080

California
Minimum wage: $8.00
Annual income: $16,640

Colorado
Minimum wage: $7.28
Annual income: $15,142

Connecticut
Minimum wage: $8.00
Annual income: $16,640

Delaware
Minimum wage: $7.15
Annual income: $14,872

Washington, D.C.
Minimum wage: $7.55
Annual income: $15,704

Florida
Minimum wage: $7.21
Annual income: $14,997

Georgia
Minimum wage: $5.15
Annual income: $10,712

Hawaii
Minimum wage: $7.25
Annual income: $15,080

Idaho
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Illinois
Minimum wage: $7.75
Annual income: $16,120

Indiana
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Iowa
Minimum wage: $7.25
Annual income: $15,080

Kansas
Minimum wage: $2.65
Annual income: $5,512

Kentucky
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Louisiana
Minimum wage: No state minimum wage/$6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Maine
Minimum wage: $7.25
Annual income: $15,080

Maryland
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Massachusetts
Minimum wage: $8.00
Annual income: $16,640

Michigan
Minimum wage: $7.40
Annual income: $15,392

Minnesota
Minimum wage: $6.15
Annual income: $12,792

Mississippi
Minimum wage: No state minimum wage/$6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Missouri
Minimum wage: $7.05
Annual income: $14,664

Montana
Minimum wage: $6.90
Annual income: $14,352

Nebraska
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Nevada
Minimum wage: $6.85
Annual income: $14,248

New Hampshire
Minimum wage: $7.25
Annual income: $15,080

New Jersey
Minimum wage: $7.15
Annual income: $14,872

New Mexico
Minimum wage: $7.50
Annual income: $15,600

New York
Minimum wage: $7.15
Annual income: $14,872

North Carolina
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

North Dakota
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Ohio
Minimum wage: $7.30
Annual income: $15,184

Oklahoma
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Oregon
Minimum wage: $8.40
Annual income: $17,472

Pennsylvania
Minimum wage: $7.15
Annual income: $14,872

Rhode Island
Minimum wage: $7.40
Annual income: $15,392

South Carolina
Minimum wage: No state minimum wage/$6.55
Annual income: $13,624

South Dakota
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Tennessee
Minimum wage: No state minimum wage/$6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Texas
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Utah
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Vermont
Minimum wage: $8.06
Annual income: $16,765

Virginia
Minimum wage: $6.55
Annual income: $13,624

Washington
Minimum wage: $8.55
Annual income: $17,784

West Virginia
Minimum wage: $7.25
Annual income: $15,080

Wisconsin
Minimum wage: $6.50
Annual income: $13,520

Wyoming
Minimum wage: $5.15
Annual income: $10,712

*In states where there is no defined minimum wage, the federal wage becomes the default.

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 06/04/2009 - 4:20 PM


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