10 States With the Most Minimum Wage Workers

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Federal and State minimum wages are common topics of discussion these days. We hear questions come up like: Is the minimum wage enough? Can people survive off such low wages? Or even: Is the minimum wage too much? If you ask people how they feel about the minimum wage issue, you’ll probably get a different answer, depending on who you ask.

Some discuss the minimum wage as a political issue — liberals think about it one way and conservatives see it another way. But, is this really a political issue? Or, is it a socioeconomic issue? Maybe a human rights issue?

A person who earns the Federal minimum wage earns $7.25 per hour. This means that a minimum wage worker earns $290 per week before taxes. This translates into around $1,257 per month, or $15,080 per year. This means, their total income would not cover the average rent in the U.S. — they would be around $100 short of the current rent index.

So who’s in this position?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 3.3 million workers, or 4.3% of the hourly workforce are earning $7.25 per hour or lower. That is, roughly 1 in 23 hourly workers are earning minimum wage or less. And yes, many of them are below the age of 25.

Among employed teens ages 16 to 19, 20% earn at this level, compared to only 3% of workers over 25 who earn minimum wage or less. But, this still ends up being around 1.64 million workers over the age of 25. And that’s a lot of adult minimum wage workers in the U.S.

Some locations also tend to have a high incidence of minimum wage earners. Using data from the BLS, we created a list of the states that have the highest percentages of these low earners. Does your state have a high number of minimum wage earners?

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

10. South Carolina

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 5.8%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 65,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly the Federal minimum wage: 40,000
  • State’s percentage distribution: 2% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in South Carolina

Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Michael Cohen/Getty Images

9. Mississippi

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 6.1%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 39,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 20,000
  • Percentage distribution: 1.2% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Mississippi

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

8. Indiana

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 6.2%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 108,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 61,000
  • Percentage distribution: 3.3% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Indiana

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

7. Virginia

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 6.2%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 112,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 58,000
  • Percentage distribution: 3.4% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Virginia

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

6. Oklahoma

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 6.3%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 60,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 29,000
  • Percentage distribution: 1.8% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Oklahoma

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

5. Texas

  • Percentage of the state’s of hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 6.4%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 400,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 223,000
  • Percentage distribution: An astonishing 12.1% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Texas

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

4. Alabama

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 6.8%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 77,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 44,000
  • Percentage distribution: 2.3% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Alabama

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Arkansas

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 6.8%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 44,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 30,000
  • Percentage distribution: 1.3% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Arkansas
  • Arkansas has raised the state minimum wage to $7.50

source: Facebook

source: Facebook

2. Idaho

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 7.1%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 29,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 21,000
  • Percentage distribution: 0.9% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Idaho

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Tennessee

  • Percentage of the state’s hourly workers who earn at or below minimum wage: 7.4%
  • Number of hourly workers in this state who earn at or below minimum wage: 117,000
  • Number of hourly workers in the state who are paid exactly minimum wage: 51,000
  • Percentage distribution: 3.5% of U.S. workers earning minimum wage or less live in Tennessee


Didn’t see your state on the list? Here’s a state-by-state breakdown, portraying a bit of info on the minimum wage situation across America (as of 2013). We are seeing states increasing their minimum wage, and we’ll see if that continues. What do you think about the Federal minimum wage of $7.25?

minimum wage by state 2013 final

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