Minimum wages are rising, but typical employees still need to make more to get by in any U.S. state

February 21, 2023: Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C., raised their minimum salaries in January. Four more places are poised to do so. Depending on location, new salaries range from $9.95 every hour in Montana to $16.10 per hour in D.C.

While the federal minimum salary has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009, many places have continually increased theirs.

“States started instituting their own, higher minimum wages during periods of federal inaction,” stated Ben Zipperer, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “So, the longer the gap amid federal minimum salaries increases, the more likely some states will raise their state-level minimum.”

Still, most single people performing full-time and making a local minimum wage need to earn more.

It compared the state minimum salary with the average living salary for one adult with no dependents, according to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator. It found that no state offers a minimum wage that aligns with the living wage.

We then spoke those to income brackets for nonfamily households from the Census Bureau to experience how many individuals make near or below the living wage in each state.

In Kansas, where the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and the living wage is $15.69, about 48% of nonfamily households fall within or below the income bracket that includes that living wage. They account for approximately 17% of the state’s residents.

These comparisons aren’t perfect, but they show how multiple single people could work to make ends meet.

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Minimum wages are rising, but typical employees still need to make more to get by in any U.S. state