Top 10 States in America With the Highest Average Wages
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|Top 10 States in the US With Highest Wage|
In recent years, a growing number of local jurisdictions, including cities and counties, have set their own minimum wage rates, which supersede those of the federal and state governments.
If both the state and federal government have minimum wage requirements for a given state, then the state minimum wage will apply. In Illinois, for instance, the minimum wage will increase to $12 per hour on January 1, 2022, from the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
The minimum wage is not mandated in all jurisdictions. There is no statewide minimum wage requirement in the states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, or Tennessee. They've opted to follow the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour instead. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a division of the U.S. Department of Labor) reports that in 2020, four of these states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia) had the highest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the minimum wage.
Low-wage workers were hit particularly hard by the decline in employment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, in 2020, there were fewer people working for less than the federal minimum wage.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, about 247,000 hourly workers earned the federal minimum wage of $7.25, while about 865,00 workers earned less than the federal minimum wage.
Average Income by State
There is a wide range of average household incomes in the United States. The state of the job market, the profitability of businesses, and the overall economy all play a role in determining the national median household income. The average income in a state is heavily influenced by the level of education its residents have attained. The average household income rises when more people have advanced degrees like master's and doctorate degrees.
District of Columbia ($88,702) and Massachusetts ($81,123) have the highest per capita incomes in the country and also have the highest levels of educational attainment. Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and New York have the highest levels of educational attainment and are also among the top ten states in terms of average income.
Salary levels are also affected by factors such as the state's cost of living and the industries that thrive there. Salary levels tend to be higher in states where living expenses are higher. State governments, rather than the federal government, set policies regarding minimum wage and salaried positions.
States that pay less than the federal minimum wage
There is no statewide minimum wage in either Georgia or Wyoming. There is a $5.15 minimum wage in both states.
But how can a person make so little money that they are forced to live in poverty?
There are some exceptions for employers who do not fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), but in general, wage workers in Wyoming and Georgia do earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Most workers in these two states make at least $7.25 an hour, however, because most medium and large businesses are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The top five U.S. cities with the highest minimum wage according to Investopedia are:
- Emeryville, California—$17.30
- Sunnyvale, California—$16.30
- Mountain View, California—$16.30
- San Francisco—$16.07
Top 10 States With the Highest Wage Today
As of August 7, 2022, Florida's Average Jobs category had an annual average salary of $53,905. That comes out to about $25.92 an hour, in case you need a quick salary calculator. This is the same as $1,036 per week or $4,492 per month.
The wide variation in the average pay range for an average job (up to $21, 163) suggests that there may be numerous opportunities for pay increases and advancement based on experience, location, and skill level.
As of the fourth quarter of 2018, Texas' average annual wage was $57,382, ranking 12th among the states and just above the national average of $56,945 per year.
However, there was a wide range of pay levels in the state.
With an average annual wage of $66,086 in Texas, the Gulf Coast would be ranked fifth in the nation if it were a state. The average annual wages in the Capital, Metroplex, and West Texas regions were also higher than the national average.
The annual wages in other Texas regions were less than the average on a national level. At $38,168, South Texas came in last place.
Arizona’s minimum wage had a slight bump from $12.15 to $12.80 per hour in January 2022. Workers exempt from receiving the $12.15 minimum wage in Arizona include those who are employed by a parent or a sibling, casual babysitters, people employed by the Arizona state or federal government and those employed by a small business with less than $500,000 in annual revenue.
4. North Carolina
|Photo: The News & Observer|
The average annual salary for North Carolina's Average Jobs category as of August 7, 2022, is $55,106. That comes out to roughly $26.49 an hour, in case you need a quick salary calculator. This is equal to $4,592 per month or $1,059 per week.
There may be numerous opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience given the wide variation in the average pay range for an Average job (up to $19,912), which suggests there may be.
5. South Carolina
The median household income in South Carolina was 60,097 dollars in 2020. This is less than the previous year, when the state's median household income was 62,028 U.S. dollars.
The average annual salary for South Carolina's Average jobs category as of August 7th, 2022 is $65,377. In case you need a quick salary estimator, that comes out to about $31.43 per hour. This amounts to $5,448 per month or $1,257 per week.
For a long time, Washington has been a state to watch when it comes to having high minimum wages. Seattle passed a law in 2014 raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by the year 2021. The minimum wage in the city has now risen to $17.27 as of January 2022. However, it's not the only city in Washington with a minimum wage above $16. The minimum wage for employers in the hospitality and transportation sectors is currently $17.54 in SeaTac, which serves as the home base for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
7. New York
New York’s minimum wage fluctuates depending on where you work. In New York City, Westchester County, and Long Island, the minimum wage is $15. The rest of the state abides by a minimum wage of $13.20, though it is expected to increase yearly until it eventually reaches $15.
Workers in California at small businesses with 25 or fewer employees currently earn $14 per hour; for workers at businesses with 26 or more employees, the minimum wage is $15 per hour. All workers in California, regardless of the size of their employer, will earn $15 by 2023.
In Illinois, the average yearly wage for an employee is around 111,000 USD. From 28,000 USD (lowest average) to 494,000 USD (highest average; actual maximum salary is higher), these are the ranges for salaries.
This represents the typical annual salary after housing, transportation, and other benefits. The salaries for various professions vary greatly. See the salaries for particular job titles below if you're curious about the pay for a particular position.
Massachusetts's minimum wage must be at least $0.50 higher than the federal minimum wage, and the state has gone well above $7.25, according to state police. Massachusetts raised the minimum wage from $13.50 to $14.25 in 2022 as part of a strategy to eventually reach the $15 threshold in 2023.
5 states where salaries have risen the most over the past decade
The BLS reports that between 2010 and 2020, the average salary for all Americans increased by 27%, from $44,410 to $56,310. Four states—Washington, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon—have salaries that are rising at a faster rate than this national average.
The biggest pay increase, at around 58%, was in Washington. As of 2020, Washington's average annual wage of $76,791 is the fourth highest in the nation, up from tenth place in 2010 among all the states. The average annual wage in California saw the second-highest increase, at about 49%. The percent difference in both states is significantly higher than the national average for salary growth.
Over the past ten years, wages in other states have performed worse: Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alaska all experienced modest increases in their states' average wages.
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