Happy New Year! The holidays are over, and a new year has shuffled in. Those working for minimum wage in 21 states just got a raise. Below is a map showing the minimum wage rate in each state.
Washington state has the highest minimum wage of the 50 states, at $9.47 an hour, unless you include the District of Columbia, whose minimum wage is $9.50 an hour. 13 states have a minimum wage equal to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. 29 states have a minimum wage higher than the federal wage.
Georgia and Wyoming have the lowest minimum wage, at $5.15 an hour. The remaining 6 states, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Tennessee, don’t have a state minimum wage. In most cases, the higher wage prevails, so most minimum wagers in Georgia and Wyoming are probably making at least $7.25 (federal) an hour and not $5.15 (state) an hour, but there are businesses not subject to the federal minimum wage. For example, really small businesses that don’t do business across state lines and have gross sales less than $500,000, don’t have to pay the federal rate. So that means that waitress (or waiter) at your favorite dive bar on that hidden dirt road can barely pay for the gas to drive to work that day.
On the east coast, Connecticut and Vermont have the highest minimum wage, at $9.15 an hour. I am surprised by Vermont, but not Connecticut. Georgia is the lowest, as previously mentioned, at $5.15 an hour.
In the mid-west, South Dakota has the highest minimum wage, at $8.50 an hour, probably because no one wants to live there. Sorry, South Dakota. Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin, all tie for the lowest minimum wage in the mid-west, at $7.25 an hour, the federal rate.
Continue heading west, and you reach Washington, with the highest minimum wage, at $9.47 an hour. Again, as previously mentioned, Wyoming has the lowest minimum wage, at $5.15 an hour. I’m guessing that the Wyoming’s rate is so low because most people probably work on farms and/or are Native Americans, which generally have their own special rules and regulations for anything and everything.
As always, there are many exceptions. There are some industries and businesses not subject to the federal minimum wage for one reason or another. That means that there are people making as little as $2.00 an hour (Oklahoma, not including tips, commissions, etc.), if there is a state minimum at all. In addition, some states will be increasing its minimum wage next month (Alaska), June (Delaware), July (Maryland), and beyond.
After looking at the map of minimum wage rates by state, I found the poverty thresholds for 2014 at the U.S. Dept. Of Health and Human Services website.
The federal government decided that individuals living in the contingent 48 states and making less than $11,670, in 2014, are living in poverty (thresholds for families are higher). Alaska’s threshold is $14,580, and Hawaii is $13,420. $11,670 equates to $5.61 an hour, assuming 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. Alaska is $7.01 an hour, and Hawaii is $6.45 an hour. So all individuals earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, and supporting only themselves, are technically not living in poverty.
Oh, did I mention pigs can fly?