21-Plus States That Are Raising Their Minimum Wage in 2019

Author: Selena Maranjian | January 16, 2019

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States are taking things into their own hands

The federal minimum wage hasn't changed very much or very often in recent years. Nearly a decade ago, in July of 2009, it rose from $6.55 per hour for all covered, non-exempt workers, to $7.25, where it is today -- despite many calls for increases. That level of pay translates to a pre-tax income of just $290 per week for those working 40 hours -- $15,080 for the year. (Note that for 2018, the federal poverty level was $12,140 for individuals and $16,460 for a family of two.)

It's a different story at the state level, as many states have been increasing their minimum wages far above $7.25 per hour. In 2019, 21 states and Washington, D. C., are hiking their hourly minimums, and for many that's on top of increases last year or in previous years. Interestingly, while opponents of wage increases argue that it will make it hard on businesses and jobs will suffer, there's evidence that that isn't necessarily the case. In Seattle, for example, the hourly minimum was hiked to $15 ($15.45 for large employers), and jobs have been soaring.

Here's a closer look at each locality raising its minimum hourly wage in 2019.

ALSO READ: Will a National $15 Minimum Wage Really Benefit Workers?

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Welcome to Alaska road sign.

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1. Alaska

Alaska's minimum wage rose by just $0.05 this year. The new minimum of $9.89 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $395.60 per week and $20,571 per year. The increase directly affects 3.8% of workers, or a total of 11,500, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Alaska:

Alaska minimum wage

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Alaska is $308,100, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 135.9, making it 35.9% higher than the national average.


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Arizona desert with cactuses and sunset.

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2. Arizona

Arizona's minimum wage rose by $0.50 this year. The new minimum of $11 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $440 per week and $22,880 per year. The increase directly affects 15.5% of the state's workforce, or a total of 443,400 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Arizona:

Arizona minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Arizona is $239,500, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 112.4, making it 12.4% higher than the national average.

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3. Arkansas

Arkansas's minimum wage rose by $0.75 this year. The new minimum of $9.25 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $370 per week and $19,240 per year. The increase directly affects 6.7% of workers, or a total of 81,000 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Arkansas:

Arkansas minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Arkansas is $120,600, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 84.4, making it roughly 16%% lower than the national average. Meanwhile, a retailer based in Arkansas that you might have heard of -- Walmart (NYSE: WMT) -- has increased its own minimum wage to $12.

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Row of houses in San Francisco.

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4. California

California's minimum wage rose by $1 this year, to $12.00 per hour. That translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $480 per week and $24,960 per year. The increase directly affects 15.9% of workers, or a total of 2.6 million people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in California:

California minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in California is $548,100, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 168.6, making it a whopping 68.6% higher than the national average. Keep in mind, though, that it's a huge state, with plenty of areas featuring low costs of living and other areas, such as the greater San Francisco area, with sky-high costs of living.

ALSO READ: How to Save For Retirement on a Minimum Wage

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A Colorado skyline.

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5. Colorado

Colorado's minimum hourly wage rose by $0.90 this year. The new minimum of $11.10 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $444 per week and $23,088 per year. The increase directly affects 10% of workers, or a total of 254,600 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Colorado:

Colorado minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Colorado is $359,300, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 131.5, making it 31.5% higher than the national average.

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Welcome to Delaware road sign.

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6. Delaware

Delaware's minimum wage rose by $0.50 this year. The new minimum of $8.75 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $350 per week and $18,200 per year. The increase directly affects 3.5% of workers, or a total of 14,900 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Delaware:

Delaware minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Delaware is $224,800, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 110.2, making it 10.2% higher than the national average. It's worth noting, too, that Delaware's largest employer, Christiana Care Health System, is upping its own minimum wage to $15 per hour.

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The White House.

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7. District of Columbia

Washington, D.C.'s minimum wage rose by $0.75 this year. The new minimum of $14.00 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $560 per week and $29,120 per year. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in the District of Columbia:

DC minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Washington, D.C., is $566,800, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 173.9, making it 73.9% higher than the national average. That high cost of living can make life hard even with a $14-per-hour wage, which is why some local companies exceed it. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), for example, recently hiked its own minimum wage to $18 per hour for its Washington, D.C., workers.

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Tampa skyline with water in foreground.

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8. Florida

Florida's minimum wage rose by just $0.21 this year. The new minimum of $8.46 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $338.40 per week and $17,597 per year. The increase directly affects only 1.8% of workers, or a total of 159,200 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Florida:

Florida minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Florida is $222,00, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 110.9, making it 10.9% higher than the national average.

Minimum wages can be even higher for those who toil at certain companies. Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), for example, has upped its own minimum wage at its Florida theme parks, aiming to hit $15 per hour by 2021.

ALSO READ: 20 Chains That Pay More Than Minimum Wage

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Portland Maine with water in the foreground.

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9. Maine

Maine's minimum wage rose by $1 this year. The new minimum of $11 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $440 per week and $22,880 per year. The increase directly affects 15.2% of workers, or a total of 87,200 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Maine:

Maine minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Maine is $219,900, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 104.7, making it 4.7% higher than the national average.

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Outline of Massachusetts state on a chalkboard.

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10. Massachusetts

Massachusetts' minimum wage rose by $1 this year. The new minimum of $12 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $480 per week and $24,960 per year. The increase directly affects 11.5% of workers, or a total of 372,300 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Massachusetts:

Massachusetts minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Massachusetts is $392,600, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 139, making it 39% higher than the national average.

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11. Michigan

Michigan's minimum wage rose by just $0.20 this year. The new minimum of $9.45 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $378 per week and $19,656 per year. The increase directly affects only 3.2% of workers, or a total of 136,100 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Michigan:

Michigan minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Michigan is $142,100, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 96.7, making it about 3% lower than the national average.

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Welcome to Minnesota road sign.

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12. Minnesota

Minnesota's minimum wage rose by only $0.21 this year. The new minimum of $9.86 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $394.40 per week and about $20,500 per year. The increase directly affects just 3.4% of workers, or a total of 92,600 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Minnesota:

Minnesota minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Minnesota is $223,700, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 106.3, making it 6.3% higher than the national average. Retailing giant Target (NYSE: TGT) is based in Minnesota, and has upped its own minimum wage, to $12, with a goal of hitting $15 by 2020.

ALSO READ: Why a McDonald's $15 Minimum Wage Wouldn't Be as Big as Amazon's

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13. Missouri

Missouri's minimum wage rose by $0.75 this year. The new minimum of $8.60 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $344 per week and $17,888 per year. The increase directly affects 4.1% of workers, or a total of 107,100 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Missouri:

Missouri minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Missouri is $150,500, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 92.5, making it 7.5% lower than the national average.

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14. Montana

Montana's minimum wage rose by just $0.20 this year. The new minimum of $8.50 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $340 per week and $17,680 per year. The increase directly affects only 1.2% of workers, or a total of 5,000 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Montana:

Montana minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Montana is $230,500, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 102.8, making it 2.8% higher than the national average.

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Welcome to New Jersey road sign.

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15. New Jersey

New Jersey's minimum wage rose by $0.25 this year. The new minimum of $8.85 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $354 per week and $18,408 per year. The increase directly affects just 1.7% of workers, or a total of 67,300 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in New Jersey:

New Jersey minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in New Jersey is $314,000, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 132.6, making it 32.6% higher than the national average.

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The flatiron building in NYC.

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16. New York

New York's minimum wage rose by $0.70 this year. The new minimum of $11.10 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $444 per week and $23,088 per year. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in New York:

New York minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in New York is $282,000, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 129.4, making it 29.4% higher than the national average. Remember that these are state-wide averages, and the cost of living in New York City will be far higher than in, say, Albany, or in any of myriad small towns upstate. In fact, the cost of living is so high in New York City that it has its own minimum wage. In 2019, that rises to $15.00 per hour for employers of 11 or more people and $13.50 for employers with 10 or fewer employees.

ALSO READ: Which Companies Have Committed to a $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage?

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17. Ohio

Ohio's minimum wage rose by $0.25 this year. The new minimum of $8.55 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $342 per week and $17,784 per year. The increase directly affects just 1.3% of workers, or a total of 67,300 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Ohio:

Ohio minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Ohio is $130,900, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 87.7, making it about 12% lower than the national average.

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Welcome to Oregon road sign.

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18. Oregon

Oregon's minimum wage rose by $0.50 this year. The new minimum of $11.25 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $450 per week and $23,400 per year. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Oregon:

Oregon minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Oregon is $331,400, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 124.4, making it 24.4% higher than the national average. While most of the states in America that are raising their minimum wages are doing so as of Jan. 1, Oregon's increase takes effect on July 1.

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19. Rhode Island

Rhode Island's minimum wage rose by $0.40 this year. The new minimum of $10.50 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $420 per week and $21,840 per year. The increase directly affects 4.1% of workers, or a total of 19,800 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Rhode Island:

Rhode Island minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Rhode Island is $269,000, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 119.4, making it 19.4% higher than the national average. Rhode Island has its own notable company hiking a minimum wage: CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is upping its minimum hourly wage to $11. 

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20. South Dakota

South Dakota's minimum wage rose by $0.45 this year. The new minimum of $9.10 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $364 per week and $18,928 per year. The increase directly affects just 1.6% of workers, or a total of 6,000 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in South Dakota:

South Dakota minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in South Dakota is $184,700, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 95, making it 5% lower than the national average.

ALSO READ: What Living on an $11 Minimum Wage Looks Like

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Town in Vermont with lots of trees and brick buildings.

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21. Vermont

Vermont's minimum wage rose by $0.28 this year. The new minimum of $10.78 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $431.10 per week and about $22,422 per year. The increase directly affects 3.6% of workers, or a total of 10,300 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Vermont:

Vermont minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Vermont is $195,700, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 101, making it 1% higher than the national average.

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View of Seattle with space needle and mountains in background.

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22. Washington

Washington's minimum wage rose by $0.50 this year. The new minimum of $12 per hour translates, for a 40-hour-per-week worker, to $480 per week and $24,960 per year. The increase directly affects 10.7% of workers, or a total of 337,100 people, per the Economic Policy Institute. Here's a table detailing some minimum wage history in Washington:

Washington state minimum wage.

For a little more context, know that the recent median home value in Washington is $370,000, per Sperling's Best Places, and the overall cost of living index in the state is 131.1, making it 31.1% higher than the national average. Some places in Washington have very high costs of living, and Seattle is the prime example. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), based there, has instituted its own minimum wage increase, to $15 per hour. Costco (Nasdaq: COST), also based in Washington, is hiking its minimum to $14.


John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Selena Maranjian owns shares of Amazon, Costco Wholesale, JPMorgan Chase, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale and CVS Health. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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