The ‘Living Wage’ in Every State in 2021

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Can you afford to live where you are? The answer depends on two factors — your earnings and the cost of living in your area.

The federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. Some states and cities set their minimum wages higher — including many states that have increased their minimum wages this year, as we detail in “The Minimum Wage in Every State in 2021.”

The cost of living varies a great deal across the country. Even in lower-cost areas, a minimum-wage job may not be enough to support a family.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning calculates a “living wage” for each state and the District of Columbia that takes into account the costs in each area. We used MIT’s newly updated Living Wage Calculator for a state-by-state look at what it takes in 2021 to earn enough to enjoy a basic standard of living.

This ranking starts where the living wage is highest. See if you make a living wage for your state.

51. District of Columbia

Tim Mainiero / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $20.12 per hour
  • Two working adults: $14.88 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $25.90 per hour (per adult)

50. Hawaii

Landscaping workers
Leigh Trail / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $19.43 per hour
  • Two working adults: $15.06 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $25.42 per hour (per adult)

49. California

Vince360 / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $18.66 per hour
  • Two working adults: $15.13 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $27.08 per hour (per adult)

48. New York

Luna Vandoorne / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $18.62 per hour
  • Two working adults: $13.73 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $24.66 per hour (per adult)

47. Massachusetts

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $17.74 per hour
  • Two working adults: $13.12 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $25.61 per hour (per adult)

46. Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
Hethers / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $17.25 per hour
  • Two working adults: $13.33 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $23.40 per hour (per adult)

45. Oregon

Brewer at work in Oregon
BJoshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $16.85 per hour
  • Two working adults: $13.26 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $22.37 per hour (per adult)

44. Virginia

refrina / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $16.61 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.57 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $22.33 per hour (per adult)

43. Colorado

Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $16.35 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.91 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $23.57 per hour (per adult)

42. Washington

Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $16.34 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.33 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $21.67 per hour (per adult)

41. New Jersey

New Jersey sign
George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $16.20 per hour
  • Two working adults: $13.19 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $25.11 per hour (per adult)

40. Connecticut

Woman riding a bicycle
Micha Weber / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $15.98 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.75 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $22.55 per hour (per adult)

39. Illinois

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $15.37 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.29 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $21.34 per hour (per adult)

38. Georgia

Conchi Martinez / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $15.36 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.06 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.97 per hour (per adult)

37. Delaware

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $15.32 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.33 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $21.75 per hour (per adult)

36. Alaska

Andrii Kikot / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $15.06 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.69 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.40 per hour (per adult)

35. Arizona

Construction workers building a house
Deep Desert Photography / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.94 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.15 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.51 per hour (per adult)

34. Vermont

Man riding a tractor in Wilmington, Vermont
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.93 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.18 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $22.20 per hour (per adult)

33. Maine

Portland, Maine
Jo Ann Snover / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.92 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.94 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $21.14 per hour (per adult)

32. Minnesota

Steve Skjold / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.90 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.32 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $21.68 per hour (per adult)

31. Florida

Steven Hodel / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.82 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.99 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.79 per hour (per adult)

30. Rhode Island

Castle Hill lighthouse, Newport, RI
Howard Sun / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.79 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.70 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $21.21 per hour (per adult)

29. North Carolina

Little Adventures / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.72 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.66 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.90 per hour (per adult)

28. South Carolina

John Wollwerth / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.58 per hour
  • Two working adults: $12.07 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.76 per hour (per adult)

27. Utah

Thomas Carlson / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.52 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.99 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.31 per hour (per adult)

26. New Hampshire

Nashua, New Hampshire
Jon Bilou / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.47 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.45 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.68 per hour (per adult)

25. Louisiana

Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.06 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.64 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.99 per hour (per adult)

24. Wisconsin

Steven Liveoak / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.02 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.49 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $21.24 per hour (per adult)

23. Texas

John Pesina / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $14.01 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.32 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.31 per hour (per adult)

22. New Mexico

Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.97 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.66 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.62 per hour (per adult)

21. Idaho

Potato sorters in Idaho
B Brown / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.95 per hour
    Two working adults: $11.67 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.27 per hour (per adult)

20. Montana

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.94 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.53 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.79 per hour (per adult)

19. Alabama

Mccallk69 / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.77 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.15 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $18.42 per hour (per adult)

18. Missouri

Jon Rehg / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.72 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.48 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.41 per hour (per adult)

17. Nevada

BrandonKleinVideo / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.67 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.48 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.16 per hour (per adult)

16. Michigan

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.63 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.10 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $22.71 per hour (per adult)

15. Iowa

BePhumirat / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.62 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.57 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.48 per hour (per adult)

14. Nebraska

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.57 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.65 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.19 per hour (per adult)

13. Oklahoma

Workers fixing a pipe leak
Svineyard / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.53 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.25 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.33 per hour (per adult)

12. Kansas

CLP Media / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.51 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.27 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.48 per hour (per adult)

11. Kentucky

James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.48 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.09 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.60 per hour (per adult)

10. Indiana

John Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.44 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.08 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $18.49 per hour (per adult)

9. Mississippi

fasthorses / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.43 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.28 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $18.07 per hour (per adult)

8. Pennsylvania

LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.39 per hour
  • Two working adults: $10.77 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.12 per hour (per adult)

7. West Virginia

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.38 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.17 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.87 per hour (per adult)

6. Arkansas

Marie Kanger Born / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.29 per hour
  • Two working adults: $11.25 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.35 per hour (per adult)

5. Tennessee

Cara Siera / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.25 per hour
  • Two working adults: $10.72 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $17.82 per hour (per adult)

4. Wyoming

B Brown
B Brown / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.19 per hour
  • Two working adults: $10.83 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.14 per hour (per adult)

3. Ohio

Jason Sponseller / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.16 per hour
  • Two working adults: $10.94 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $20.28 per hour (per adult)

2. North Dakota

BlueBarronPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $13.08 per hour
  • Two working adults: $10.86 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $19.20 per hour (per adult)

1. South Dakota

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a household with:

  • One adult: $12.61 per hour
  • Two working adults: $10.65 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $18.54 per hour (per adult)

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