The ‘Living Wage’ in Every State in 2021

pizza delivery mask working
Anna Tryhub / Shutterstock.com

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 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 working adult: $20.10 per hour
  • Two working adults: $14.83 per hour (per adult)
  • Two working adults and two children: $25.63 per hour (per adult)

50. Hawaii

Landscaping workers
Leigh Trail / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $15.82 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.14 per hour (per adult)

49. New York

Luna Vandoorne / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $15.56 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $21.88 per hour (per adult)

New York state’s minimum wage increased a bit at the start of 2021, from $11.80 to $12.50 per hour, as we reported in “The Minimum Wage in Every State in 2021.”

48. Massachusetts

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $15.46 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $19.57 per hour (per adult)

47. California

Vince360 / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $14.99 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $20.17 per hour (per adult)

46. Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
Hethers / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $14.56 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $18.36 per hour (per adult)

45. New Jersey

New Jersey sign
George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $14.03 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $18.94 per hour (per adult)

44. Virginia

refrina / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $14.00 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.62 per hour (per adult)

43. Oregon

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

Living wage for a one-person household: $13.49 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $18.37 per hour (per adult)

42. Washington

Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $13.47 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.45 per hour (per adult)

41. Colorado

Arina P Habich / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $13.43 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $18.01 per hour (per adult)

40. Connecticut

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $13.38 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $18.36 per hour (per adult)

39. Rhode Island

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

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.81 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.59 per hour (per adult)

38. Illinois

Sorbis / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.80

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.00 per hour (per adult)

37. Alaska

Andrii Kikot / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.75 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.91 per hour (per adult)

36. Vermont

James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.74 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.15 per hour (per adult)

35. Georgia

Conchi Martinez / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.66 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.60 per hour (per adult)

34. New Hampshire

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.61 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.81 per hour (per adult)

33. Delaware

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.60 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.55 per hour (per adult)

32. Maine

Portland, Maine
Jo Ann Snover / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.48 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.76 per hour (per adult)

31. Florida

Steven Hodel / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.39 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.14 per hour (per adult)

30. Minnesota

Steve Skjold / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.05 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.21 per hour (per adult)

29. Arizona

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

Living wage for a one-person household: $12.01 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $17.00 per hour (per adult)

28. North Carolina

Little Adventures / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.98 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.85 per hour (per adult)

27. South Carolina

John Wollwerth / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.76 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $14.78 per hour (per adult)

26. Texas

John Pesina / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.74 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.15 per hour (per adult)

25. Utah

Thomas Carlson / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.60 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.60 per hour (per adult)

24. Pennsylvania

LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.53 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.29 per hour (per adult)

23. Louisiana

Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.43 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.14 per hour (per adult)

22. Wisconsin

Steven Liveoak / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.40 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.49 per hour (per adult)

21. New Mexico

Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.38 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.08 per hour (per adult)

20. Michigan

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.35 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.96 per hour (per adult)

19. Nevada

BrandonKleinVideo / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.25 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.65 per hour (per adult)

18. Alabama

Mccallk69 / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.24 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.25 per hour (per adult)

17. Missouri

Jon Rehg / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.16 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $14.97 per hour (per adult)

16. Wyoming

B Brown
B Brown / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.05 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.54 per hour (per adult)

15. Idaho

B Brown / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.04 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.94 per hour (per adult)

14. Indiana

John Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.04 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.38 per hour (per adult)

13. North Dakota

BlueBarronPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.02 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.28 per hour (per adult)

12. Iowa

BePhumirat / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $11.00 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.30 per hour (per adult)

11. Kentucky

James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.98 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.81 per hour (per adult)

10. Montana

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.97 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $16.62 per hour (per adult)

9. Tennessee

Cara Siera / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.97 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $14.50 per hour (per adult)

8. Nebraska

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.96 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.76 per hour (per adult)

7. Oklahoma

Workers fixing a pipe leak
Svineyard / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.94 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.73 per hour (per adult)

6. Mississippi

fasthorses / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.89 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $13.39 per hour (per adult)

5. Ohio

Jason Sponseller / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.86 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $15.28 per hour (per adult)

4. Kansas

CLP Media / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.86 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $14.96 per hour (per adult)

3. West Virginia

Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.83 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $14.76 per hour (per adult)

2. Arkansas

Marie Kanger Born / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.67 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $14.64 per hour (per adult)

1. South Dakota

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Living wage for a one-person household: $10.60 per hour

Living wage for a household with two working adults and two children: $14.76 per hour (per adult)

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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