career

The 10 states where the minimum wage is highest

Get the bigger salary. Here's how.
By Jean Chatzky

Top 10 states for the minimum wage | Andersen Ross/Getty Images

Washington, DC | Don Mason/Getty Images

No. 1: Washington, DC

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. Of course, our government officials in Washington make far more than the minimum. The president is paid $400,000 annually. Supreme Court justices don't do badly either.

RATE SEARCH: Find a reputable auto lender now.


California | Hero Images/Getty Images

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. 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.


Massachusetts | Christopher Seufert Photography/Getty Images

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.

RATE SEARCH: Shop today for the best credit cards from our partners.


Alaska | Huntstock/Getty Images

No. 4: Alaska

Minimum wage: $9.75

In 2015, Alaska enacted its first minimum wage increase in 5 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 a record $2,072.

RATE SEARCH: Find a low-rate credit card today.


Connecticut | Adam Glanzman/NASCAR/Getty Images

No. 5: Connecticut (tie)

Minimum wage: $9.60

The lowest-paid workers in Connecticut got about a 5% 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.

RATE SEARCH: Invest in home improvement today with a home equity line of credit.


Rhode Island | Yiming Chen/Getty Images

No. 5: 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 says in a statement.

RATE SEARCH: Need a car with a low payment? Shop today for an auto loan.


Vermont | Photodisc/Getty Images

No. 5: Vermont (tie)

Minimum wage: $9.60

2016 was ushered in with the 2nd of 4 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," says Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, in a news release.

RATE SEARCH: Shop today for a mortgage refinance.


Washington | Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

No. 8: Washington

Minimum wage: $9.47

Washington state's minimum wage is tied to the consumer price index and is holding steady at just a few cents shy of $9.50 an hour. The state's largest city, 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.

RATE SEARCH: Find high-rate IRA money market accounts today.


Oregon | Westend61/Getty Images

No. 9: Oregon

Minimum wage: $9.25

Washington's southern neighbor recently passed historic legislation on its minimum wage. Gov. Kate Brown signed a new wage law in March that creates a 3-tiered system. By 2022, workers in the Portland area will earn $14.75, workers in midsize counties will earn $13.50 and those in rural areas will earn $12.50.

RATE SEARCH: Shop today for the best CD rates.


Minnesotta, Nebraska, New York | Image Source/Getty Images

No. 10: Minnesota, Nebraska, New York

Minimum wage: $9

Minnesota bumped its minimum wage for large employers last summer to $9 an hour, up from $8. Small employers may pay the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Another raise is planned for August 2016.

Nebraska has leaped up the list, thanks to a 2-step minimum wage increase that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2014.

New York started raising its minimum wage at the end of 2013; the latest increase took effect as 2015 drew to a close. The state's $15 minimum is scheduled to arrive at the end of 2018.

RATE SEARCH: Need to replace the A/C or the roof? Shop today for a home equity line of credit.

advertisement

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
  • Apply for a Private Student Loan to pay for your education
  • Find Rates
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

Connect with us