6 States Where Nearly Everyone Makes More Than Minimum Wage

Want to boost your hourly pay? Move to one of these six states.

Minimum wage
Minimum wage has garnered a lot of discussion this year -- and there are six states where less than 2.6% of the residents find themselves in jobs where they're paid the hourly minimum wage or less. This compares to the 4.3% seen in the United States.  

The difference between 2.6% and 4.3% doesn't sound all that big. However, if the United States stood at 2.6%, that means nearly 1.5 million more people would make more than the minimum wage. And while the 4.3% rate is below the 4.7% rate seen in 2012, we still remain well above the 2.3% seen in 2007. 

Six states in particular come out on top -- and they will surprise you.

5. Nevada (tie)

Hourly Workers Making Minimum Wage


Source: Flickr / Bert Kaufmann.

Nevada ties for fifth when it comes to the number of workers who get paid the minimum wage. Yet while this is undoubtedly encouraging, it's also critical to know Nevada still ranks remarkably high with its 8.5% unemployment rate, placing it behind only Rhode Island among the 50 states.

5. Connecticut (tie)

Hourly Workers Making Minimum Wage


Like Nevada, Connecticut also has a surprisingly high unemployment ranking, checking in at 39th on the latest release. However, it has the fifth lowest percentage of workers receiving minimum wage and trails only Massachusetts and New York when it comes to average annual wages, almost hitting $55,000.

4. Montana

Hourly Workers Making Minimum Wage


Source: Flickr / querman.

Many people don't know that Montana and some of its nearby states actually present great employment prospects. North Dakota, Idaho, and Oregon each ranked among the top 5 in personal income growth last year. Yet Montana reigns supreme when it comes to hourly pay, as only 6,000 people receive the minimum wage. Add in its 5.1% unemployment rate, placing it 15th among the states, and the employment prospects look bright.

3. Washington

Hourly Workers Making Minimum Wage


Speaking of neighbors to Montana, next on the list is Washington. Like Connecticut, it too boasts a high average annual wage -- ranking eighth at $52,000. However, it does trail the others when it comes to unemployment, coming in at 6.3%. This places it in a tie for 28th, and just ahead of the 6.7% seen in the entire United States.

2. California

Hourly Workers Making Minimum Wage


Not only does California rank low when it comes to the percent of its workers who earn minimum wage, just a few months ago it also signed into law an aggressive plan to raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour over the next three years. Much has been made of the boost of the minimum wage, and by 2016, California will be 99% of the way there.

1. Oregon

Hourly Workers Making Minimum Wage


Source: Oregon Department of Transportation.

And last, but certainly not least is Oregon. One of the biggest reasons for Oregon topping the list is that the minimum wage here is $9.10, trailing only the previously mentioned Washington, with its $9.32 minimum wage. As a result it comes out on top. 

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Patrick Morris

After a few stints in banking and corporate finance, Patrick joined the Motley Fool as a writer covering the financial sector. He's scaled back his everyday writing a bit, but he's always happy to opine on the latest headline news surrounding Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and all things personal finance.

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