The 10 states where the minimum wage is highest

Top 10 states for the minimum wage © Sean Pavone/

Washington, DC © OrhanCam/

No. 1: Washington, D.C.

Minimum wage: $11.50

The nation's capital is home not only to the highest court in the land -- the Supreme Court -- but also to the highest minimum wage for any U.S. state or territory, now at $11.50 per hour. Under a local law, annual increases will take the district's hourly minimum to $15 by 2020.

Government officials in Washington earn far more, of course. The president is paid $400,000 annually.

California © Sean Pavone/

No. 2: California (tie)

Minimum wage: $10

The nation's largest state by population bumped up its minimum to $10 an hour to start 2016. And, 2017 will be welcomed with an increase to $10.50. A number of California cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, have started phasing in minimum wage increases to $15 per hour and plan to reach that mark before the state does.

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Massachusetts © MarcioJose Bastos Silva/

No. 2: Massachusetts (tie)

Minimum wage: $10

Massachusetts has recently been increasing its minimum wage by $1 each year on the way to a minimum of $11 an hour by 2017. However, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor calculates that a full-time worker needs to earn at least $12.60 per hour to live in the Bay State.

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No. 4: Alaska (tie)

Minimum wage: $9.75

In 2015, Alaska enacted its first minimum wage increase in five years. The state's minimum rose by another $1 to $9.75 per hour for 2016. Most Alaska residents, including minimum-wage workers, also get some extra money from the state: an annual dividend from an oil-wealth fund. The most recent payments were for $1,022.

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Oregon © Josemaria Toscano/

No. 4: Oregon (tie)

Minimum wage: $9.75

Oregon has begun to enact annual, midyear increases in its minimum wage under legislation signed in March 2016 by Gov. Kate Brown. "Nonurban" counties in eastern and southern Oregon have a lower minimum wage, currently $9.50 an hour.

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Rhode Island © Sean Pavone/

No. 6: Connecticut (tie)

Minimum wage: $9.60

The lowest-paid workers in Connecticut got about a 5 percent raise to $9.60 at the start of 2016, under a law that's gradually raising Connecticut's minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. "Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it's also good for business," Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement.

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Vermont © Sean Pavone/

No. 6: Rhode Island (tie)

Minimum wage: $9.60

Like several of its New England neighbors, Rhode Island kicked off 2016 with a minimum wage increase, from $9 to $9.60 per hour.

The latest raise was sponsored by Democratic state Rep. David Bennett. "Putting more money in the pockets of those with the lowest wages helps them buy the basic goods and services their families need," Bennett said in a statement.

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Washington © ErikaJ Mitchell/

No. 6: Vermont (tie)

Minimum wage: $9.60

2016 was ushered in with the second of four annual increases in the Green Mountain State that will extend its minimum wage to $10.50 an hour by 2018. "Raising Vermont's minimum wage will give a boost to many hardworking Vermonters and will help drive increased economic activity and security that will benefit the economy as a whole," said Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin in a news release.

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Minnesota© Gang Liu/

No. 9: Minnesota

Minimum wage: $9.50

Many Minnesotans got a summer raise in 2016 on Aug. 1 when the state increased its minimum wage for large employers to $9.50 an hour, from $9. (Smaller employers may pay a minimum of $7.75 per hour.) Annual increases tied to inflation begin on Jan. 1, 2018.

Minnesotta, Nebraska, New York © RomanKhomlyak/

No. 10: Washington

Minimum wage: $9.47

Washington state's minimum wage has been holding steady at just a few cents shy of $9.50 an hour. But voters have approved a raise to $11 in 2017; further annual increases will take Washington's minimum to $13.50 by 2020. Seattle plans to go well above the state requirement and is in the process of boosting its minimum wage in phases toward an eventual $15 an hour.

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