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Can you live on minimum wage in your state?

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    1/ Austin Kirk // Flickr

    Can you live on minimum wage in your state?

    In 2018, state-specific minimum wages have risen in 18 different states, which is good news for those trying to get by without much, but also not necessarily indicative of the whole picture. While the pay required of employers continues to rise, so too do the costs of necessities sought out by employees being paid at or slightly above their state’s minimum hourly salary.

    Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that more than 2 in every 5 Americans struggle to make ends meet, it goes without saying that the poorest of that 40% must face immense difficulty in providing for themselves and their families. This is truest in the states in which minimum cost of living exceeds the state-mandated minimum wage by the greatest margin.

    To help understand which states’ residents experience the greatest difficulty living off their respective minimum wage, Stacker consulted the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s living wage calculator to compare minimum wage and living wage in every state. MIT calculates each state’s living wage according to annual individual expenses such as food, child care, medical expenses, housing, transportation, and other necessities. This calculation also functions under the assumption that the worker is their household’s primary provider and works full-time and year-roundequivalent to 2,080 hours annually.

    Read on to discover where each state ranks in terms of livability.

    RELATED: Click here to see how minimum wage compares across every state in America

  • Wars // Wikimedia Commons
    2/ Wars // Wikimedia Commons

    #51. Arizona

    Living wage: $11.22
    Minimum wage: $10.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $0.72

    Arizona raised its minimum wage from $10 to $10.50 on Jan. 1. The state won’t stop there though; the state minimum wage is set to hit $12 by 2020.

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    #50. Washington

    Living wage: $12.28
    Minimum wage: $11.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $0.78

    Washington workers saw their minimum wage rates go up by 50 cents to reach $11.50 on Jan. 1. On the same day Seattle’s minimum wage went up to $15 per hour for employers that offer medical benefits; those that don’t now pay $15.45. The rate is lower for smaller Seattle companies: $11.50 an hour with medical benefits or $14 an hour without.

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    #49. South Dakota

    Living wage: $10.03
    Minimum wage: $8.85
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.18

    South Dakota’s minimum wage is adjusted annually to reflect changes in the cost of living, which went up by 20 cents at the beginning of this year to hit $8.85 an hour. But because unemployment rates in the state are low, most employers are expected to pay above that rate.

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    #48. Nebraska

    Living wage: $10.60
    Minimum wage: $9.00
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.60

    Since January 2016 Nebraska’s minimum wage has been $9 an hour. That’s thanks to a successful 2014 ballot initiative that first raised the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 in 2015, then increased it by another dollar the following year.

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    #47. Maine

    Living wage: $11.60
    Minimum wage: $10.00
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.60

    Maine’s minimum wage went up to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, giving a raise to about 59,000 Mainers. The higher rate is part of a minimum wage law enacted in 2016 that will raise the minimum wage a dollar per year until it hits $12 in 2020.

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    #46. Michigan

    Living wage: $10.87
    Minimum wage: $9.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.62

    Michigan minimum wage workers saw their wages reach $9.25 an hour with the start of 2018. That’s up 35 cents from the previous rate of $8.90 per hour. Efforts to raise the state minimum wage even higher are underway, however, with one group calling for $12 an hour by 2022.

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    #45. Vermont

    Living wage: $12.32
    Minimum wage: $10.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.82

    Vermont’s minimum wage went up 50 cents with the new year to reach $10.50 an hour. Starting in 2019 the state’s minimum wage is set to increase by either 5% or the percentage increase of the consumer price index.

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    #44. Minnesota

    Living wage: $11.53
    Minimum wage: $9.65
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.88

    Minnesota is another state that adjusts its minimum wage rates annually for inflation. At the beginning of 2018, the state’s rate went up 15 cents from $9.50 to $9.65 an hour. However businesses with an annual gross revenue of less than $500,000 saw their minimum wage rates go up a more modest amount from $7.75 to $7.87.

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    #43. Arkansas

    Living wage: $10.38
    Minimum wage: $8.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.88

    Arkansas raised its minimum wage rate by a dollar in January 2017 to its current rate of $8.50. Soon after some lawmakers tried to pass a bill to prevent cities and counties from setting their own higher minimum wage rates, but the effort failed.

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    #42. West Virginia

    Living wage: $10.68
    Minimum wage: $8.75
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $1.93

    West Virginia raised its minimum wage by 75 cents to $8.75 an hour back in January 2016, boosting the annual pay of a full-time minimum wage worker to $18,200. The increase was part of a two-year plan starting with an increase from $7.25 to $8 per hour in January 2015.

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    #41. Rhode Island

    Living wage: $12.10
    Minimum wage: $10.10
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.00

    Rhode Island bumped up its minimum wage rate by 50 cents on Jan. 1, raising it from $9.60 to $10.10. The raise is part of a two-year plan that will end in January 2019, when the rate will be raised again to reach $10.50.

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    #40. Ohio

    Living wage: $10.47
    Minimum wage: $8.30
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.17

    About 146,000 Ohio minimum wage workers saw their hourly wages go up by 15 cents and hit $8.30 on Jan. 1. Tipped employees also got a pay boost with their hourly rates going up from $4.08 to $4.15.

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    #39. Oregon

    Living wage: $12.48
    Minimum wage: $10.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.23

    Oregon actually has three different minimum wages—$10.25 an hour is considered the standard rate, but the rate goes up to $11.25 an hour in the Portland metro area and down to $10 an hour in non-urban counties. The state’s standard minimum wage rate will go up to $13.50 by July 2022 thanks to a 2016 bill that established a series of annual increases.

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    #38. Colorado

    Living wage: $12.47
    Minimum wage: $10.20
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.27

    Colorado’s minimum wage was raised to $10.20 an hour on Jan. 1, up from $9.30. The raise came as part of Colorado’s plan to increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. That plan isn’t without controversy; some business owners—especially restaurateurs—argue that the wage hike is causing layoffs.

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    #37. Massachusetts

    Living wage: $13.39
    Minimum wage: $11
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.39

    Since 2017 Massachusetts’ minimum wage has been $11 an hour. An effort to bump that rate up to $15 an hour has support in the state legislature, but is still pending.

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    #36. Alaska

    Living wage: $12.48
    Minimum wage: $9.84
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.64

    2018 brought a tiny increase to the paychecks of minimum wage workers in Alaska whose hourly rates were boosted by 4 cents on Jan. 1. The small raise—which brings the rate to $9.84 an hour—was the state’s annual adjustment to the wage rate to account for inflation.

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    #35. Montana

    Living wage: $10.95
    Minimum wage: $8.30
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.65

    Despite less than 1% of the state’s workers earning minimum wage, Montana was one of the 18 states that celebrated new higher minimum wage rates on Jan. 1. At $8.30 an hour, the new minimum wage is a 15-cent increase over previous years.

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    #34. Nevada

    Living wage: $10.94
    Minimum wage: $8.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.69

    Minimum wage workers in Nevada make $8.25 an hour, although employers who offer their workers health plans can opt to pay workers the federal rate of $7.25. Nevada’s minimum wage rate is tied to the cost of living and is thus re-evaluated on an annual basis.

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    #33. Connecticut

    Living wage: $12.88
    Minimum wage: $10.10
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.78

    Connecticut raised its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in January 2017 as the final step in its three-year plan to increase its minimum wage. The state was the first to pass a $10.10 minimum wage law; some workers in Connecticut have been calling for a $15 an hour rate.

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    #32. Missouri

    Living wage: $10.76
    Minimum wage: $7.85
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $2.91

    Missouri’s minimum wage surpassed the federal rate in 2008 when the state raised the hourly pay from $6.65 to $7.85. Last August Kansas City voters tried to raise the city minimum wage to $10 an hour, but were derailed by a state law that overrides city laws.

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    #31. California

    Living wage: $14.01
    Minimum wage: $11
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.01

    On Jan. 1 California raised its minimum wage by 50 cents to $11 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees, and $10.50 an hour for smaller businesses. That increase is part of California’s plan to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023. At least 20 California cities already have minimum wage rates higher than $11 an hour, with Emeryville boasting the highest rate of $15.20 an hour.

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    #30. Tennessee

    Living wage: $10.44
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.19

    As one of six states with no state minimum wage law on the books, Tennessee pays its minimum wage workers the $7.25 an hour federal rate. Tennessee also boasts the highest proportion of minimum wage workers in the country: about 7.4% of Tennessee’s hourly workers make $7.25 an hour or less, compared to 4.3% of the national workforce.

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    #29. Kentucky

    Living wage: $10.49
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.24

    Kentucky’s minimum wage has stood at the federal rate of $7.25 since 2009. The city of Louisville raised its own minimum wage to $8.25 in July 2016 and planned to raise it to $9 by July 2017, but its higher rates were declared “invalid and unenforceable” by the Kentucky Supreme Court early last year.

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    #28. Oklahoma

    Living wage: $10.52
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.27

    Oklahoma’s minimum wage is also tied to the federal rate of $7.25—for now. One Oklahoma state representative has filed legislation for the 2018 session to raise that rate to $11 an hour.

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    #27. Iowa

    Living wage: $10.53
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.28

    A handful of Iowa counties either raised their minimum wages or passed legislation to raise them in recent years with new hourly rates ranging from $8.20 to $10.10 an hour. However those new rates were brought back in line with the $7.25 federal rate when Iowa’s governor last year signed a law banning local governments from raising the minimum wage.

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    #26. Wyoming

    Living wage: $10.63
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.38

    Wyoming shares with Georgia the dubious distinction of having the lowest state minimum wage at $5.15 an hour, although by law minimum wage workers in Wyoming usually take home the comparatively higher federal rate of $7.25 an hour. State representatives tried last January to raise the state rate to meet the federal rate, but ultimately did not succeed.

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    #25. Idaho

    Living wage: $10.64
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.39

    Idaho pays its minimum wage workers the federal rate of $7.25 an hour. Repeated efforts to raise the state minimum wage rate in recent years have not proven successful.

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    #24. Kansas

    Living wage: $10.69
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.44

    Kansas’ state minimum wage is now set by the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25, but that wasn’t the case in years past. Until 2010 Kansas’ state minimum wage was $2.65, the lowest in the nation at the time.

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    #23. Indiana

    Living wage: $10.70
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.45

    Indiana’s state minimum wage is set at the federal rate of $7.25. Some state lawmakers want to change that rate to $15 an hour, though they said their efforts are a long shot.

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    #22. New Mexico

    Living wage: $10.98
    Minimum wage: $7.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.48

    New Mexico’s minimum wage workers make $7.50 an hour—a quarter higher than the federal rate. Last year the state’s governor vetoed bills to raise the state minimum wage to $9 an hour or more. However a handful of urban areas in New Mexico—Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque—already pay their workers higher rates.

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    #21. Florida

    Living wage: $11.75
    Minimum wage: $8.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.50

    Florida’s minimum wage went up 15 cents with the new year to reach $8.25 an hour. However Democratic gubernatorial candidates have championed raising the minimum wage.

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    #20. Mississippi

    Living wage: $10.86
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.61

    Mississippi also has no state minimum wage law, so workers are subject to the $7.25 an hour federal standard. At that pay rate full-time workers can expect to take home $15,080 a year.

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    #19. North Dakota

    Living wage: $10.89
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.64

    North Dakota adheres to the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage rate. A legislative effort to raise the rate to $9.25 last year failed in a state House committee.

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    #18. Louisiana

    Living wage: $10.91
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.66

    Louisiana has also stuck with the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour. A state Senate bill to raise the wage to $8 an hour in 2018 and $8.50 an hour in 2019 failed in committee last year.

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    #17. Wisconsin

    Living wage: $11.03
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.78

    Wisconsin’s state minimum wage currently matches the federal rate, though that may change in 2018. Late last year two state legislators introduced a bill to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years.

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    #16. Texas

    Living wage: $11.03
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.78

    Texas also sets its state minimum wage by the federal rate. While there are no concrete plans to raise that rate, Texas’ largest private employer Walmart announced plans to raise its starting hourly pay rate to $11 an hour beginning in February 2018.

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    #15. Pennsylvania

    Living wage: $11.11
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.86

    Pennsylvania’s current state minimum wage matches the federal rate of $7.25. However a bill to more than double that rate by raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 is expected to be considered by state lawmakers this year.

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    #14. Alabama

    Living wage: $11.14
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.89

    With no state minimum wage, Alabama is subject to the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour. In addition cities and towns in Alabama aren’t allowed to set their own higher minimum wages thanks to a 2016 state bill created to bar Birmingham from raising its minimum wage to $10.10.

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    #13. South Carolina

    Living wage: $11.17
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.92

    A bill to raise the South Carolina minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 died in a state Senate subcommittee in 2016. As a result the minimum wage in the state sits at $7.25.

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    #12. Utah

    Living wage: $11.22
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $3.97

    At $7.25 an hour Utah’s minimum wage is the same as the federal rate. A pair of bills introduced in the state’s House this month seeks to raise the state minimum wage to $12 by 2022. Similar bills however, have failed as recently as last year.

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    #11. New York

    Living wage: $14.42
    Minimum wage: $10.40
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $4.02

    Unlike many states that raised their minimum wage rates with the new year, the state of New York decided to raise its rates on Dec. 31, bringing the figure up to $10.40 an hour. The rates are higher in some key areas: Long Island and Westchester boast a $11 an hour rate while New York City guarantees a $12 an hour rate for jobs with businesses with 10 or fewer employees, and $13 an hour for workers within bigger businesses. Rates are scheduled to go up annually until all areas reach a $15 an hour rate.

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    #10. North Carolina

    Living wage: $11.36
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $4.11

    North Carolina has stuck with the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 an hour for the last nine years. About 38,000 workers in North Carolina make the federal minimum wage, not including tipped workers.

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    #9. Delaware

    Living wage: $12.44
    Minimum wage: $8.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $4.19

    Delaware’s minimum wage reached its current rate of $8.25 per hour in 2015. Efforts to further increase the rate have proven unsuccessful so far.

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    #8. Illinois

    Living wage: $12.50
    Minimum wage: $8.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $4.25

    Illinois pays its minimum wage workers $8.25 an hour, a full dollar above the federal rate. Those who work in Chicago make even more. The minimum wage in the Windy City is currently $11 per hour; in 2019 that rate will rise to $13 per hour.

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    #7. District of Columbia

    Living wage: $17.11
    Minimum wage: $12.50
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $4.61

    In July 2017 Washington D.C. raised its minimum wage by $2, from $10.50 to $12.50, making it higher than that of any state. That increase was the first in a series of four that will raise the district’s minimum wage to $15 by 2020, after which the rate will be tied to inflation.

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    #6. Georgia

    Living wage: $11.93
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $4.68

    Along with Wyoming Georgia has the lowest state minimum wage at $5.15 an hour, which means that the higher federal rate of $7.25 applies to most minimum wage workers in the state. Last year Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that the minimum wage for workers in his city would go up to $13 an hour in July 2018, then $15 an hour a year later.

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    #5. New Hampshire

    Living wage: $12.01
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $4.76

    New Hampshire has the distinction of being the only New England state with a minimum wage rate of less than $10 an hour—defaulting to the federal $7.25 per hour, but officially "none." State lawmakers have made multiple attempts to raise the minimum wage rate in the last few years; the latest efforts failed in March 2017.

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    #4. New Jersey

    Living wage: $13.72
    Minimum wage: $8.60
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $5.12

    New Jersey ties its state minimum wage to the consumer price index, adjusting the rate annually to account for inflation. The state minimum wage, which affects about 300,000 workers, went up 16 cents on Jan. 1, reaching $8.60 an hour.

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    #3. Hawaii

    Living wage: $15.39
    Minimum wage: $10.10
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $5.29

    Hawaii is yet another state that raised its minimum wage on New Year’s Day. Minimum wage workers there saw their hourly wages go up by 85 cents to hit $10.10. The jump is the final boost from a 2014 law that set annual minimum wage rate increases. New bills to continue hiking up the rate have already been introduced in the state legislature.

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    #2. Maryland

    Living wage: $14.62
    Minimum wage: $9.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $5.37

    Maryland’s minimum wage has been $9.25 an hour since July 2017, but come July 2018 that rate will go up to $10.10 an hour. Workers in Prince George’s County make an even higher rate of $11.50.

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    #1. Virginia

    Living wage: $13.86
    Minimum wage: $7.25
    Difference between living and minimum wage: $6.61

    Some Virginia lawmakers are working to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. At the moment Virginia’s state minimum wage rate is set at the federal rate.

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