The States With the Highest and Lowest Minimum Wages

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Workers in many states and cities have seen the minimum wage rise over the past few years, but there are still critics who question whether bumping up the pay floor is the right move.

Washington tops the list of states with the highest minimum wage while 15 states tie for last in terms of the lowest -- $7.25, which is the federal minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The 10 states with the highest minimum wage are:

  • Washington—$13.69
  • Massachusetts—$13.50
  • Connecticut—$13.00
  • California—$13.00
  • Oregon—$12.75
  • New York—$12.50
  • Colorado—$12.32
  • Maine—$12.15
  • Arizona—$12.15
  • New Jersey—$12.00

The top five U.S. cities with the highest minimum wage according to Investopedia are:

  • Emeryville, California—$17.30
  • Seattle—$16.69
  • Sunnyvale, California—$16.30
  • Mountain View, California—$16.30
  • San Francisco—$16.07

The 15 states with the lowest  minimum wage equalling the federal level of $7.25 are: 

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin 
  • Wyoming

Cities around the nation have engaged in debate over whether to hike the minimum wage. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mayor Alan Webber and members of city council propose to raise the minimum wage for city employees from $12.32 to $15 per hour.

According to Santa Fe officials, this change will help ensure city employees can live and work in Santa Fe and show their employees that they value their contributions to their community. Webber said raising wages has broad implications not just for Santa Fe but statewide and nationally.

“We’re part of a national conversation about what has to happen for working men and women in this country to make ends meet,” said Webber in a statement. “By taking a leadership role, we’re trying to set the standard for our community and the state of New Mexico.”

However, there are critics opposed to raising the minimum wage as well. According to a survey conducted by CNBC|SurveyMonkey earlier this year, one-third of small-business owners say a $15 minimum wage would result in layoffs.

The report states that 20% of small-business owners surveyed said they would be forced to lay off workers if the minimum wage increases to $15 an hour, while another 13% said they’d likely raise wages for some workers while laying others off.

On April 27, President Biden signed a document that proposed regulations to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors. The order seeks to raise the hourly minimum wage paid by those contracts to $15 an hour, beginning Jan. 30, 2022, according to the Federal Register.  

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