The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

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If you currently work a minimum wage job, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.7 million Americans were working for wages at or below the federal minimum, making up 2.1% of all hourly-paid workers in the country.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, and even though many states have raised their own minimum wage beyond the federal amount, life on a minimum wage salary can be challenging.

Related: The average social security payment in every state

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Methodology

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

Move.org analyzed the top 75 most popular cities in the U.S., and then broke down livability by each city’s specific minimum wage and monthly rent to live in a one-bedroom apartment.

Everyday expenses like food, insurance, utilities, entertainment and transportation were not applied in these rankings. Crime statistics, unemployment rates, access to government services or other factors pertaining to quality of life were also not integrated into the rankings.

The minimum wages were focused on larger business sizes, and in most cases, they generated the largest minimum wage for that specific city. 

These five cities were not included in the rankings because of missing rent data:

  • Atlanta
  • Honolulu
  • Irvine, California
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • Durham, North Carolina

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The top 10 best cities to live in as a minimum wage worker

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

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10. Cincinnati, Ohio

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $8.70
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $654
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 17

The apartment rates in Cincinnati sit right in with the lowest on this list. To make it even more affordable, the city’s minimum wage is over a dollar above the federal rate. 

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9. Phoenix, Arizona

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $12.00
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $885
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 17

Ranked as one of the fastest-growing citities in America, Phoenix has a $12 minimum wage and justifiable living rates. With the bang for your buck, the desert heat might not feel so hot. 

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8. Lincoln, Nebraska

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $9.00
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $660
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 17

Nebraska’s capital gives $9.00/hr to their minimum-waged employees, has reasonably cheap rent and with three different colleges in the area, it’s a great place for young people to get on their feet. 

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

7. Cleveland, Ohio

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $8.70
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $627
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 17

For just a 17 hour work week, living in one of the epicenters of sports and music culture could seem very appealing. Cleveland’s minimum wage is over a dollar from the federal wage and also carries decently cheap rent prices.

Image Credit: iStock/Sean Pavone.

6. Detroit, Michigan

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $9.65
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $692
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 17

With their bustling music scene and automobile industry ties, it’s no wonder they’re called the “Motor City.” With a higher-than-mandated minimum wage and reasonable rent charges, living in Detroit isn’t too bad for minimum wage workers.

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5. Minneapolis, Minnesota

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $13.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $911
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 16

At a whopping $13.25/hr, Minneapolis holds the highest minimum wage in this list. As a result of their minimum wage, even at a $911 rent price, you still only need to work a part-time schedule to afford it. 

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

4. Toledo, Ohio

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $8.70
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $596
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 16

At $596 a month, Toledo has the lowest rent on this list, and it still has a minimum wage above the national mandate to make living here very reasonable. 

Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

3. Fresno, California

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $13.00
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $847
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 15

If you want a taste of the city and the country, Fresno is a great place to consider. With a minimum wage set significantly higher than the mandated rate, the rent on a minimum wage salary is very manageable. It’s also only a 2 1/2 hour drive away from Yosemite National park if you want to do some sightseeing. 

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2. Tucson, Arizona

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $12.00
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $720
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 14

With a $12/hr minimum wage and the University of Arizona, Tuscon is a hotspot for college students. With only a 14 hour minimum-wage work week needed to afford the average rent payment, minimum wage workers can live fairly reasonably in this city. 

Image Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock.

1. Bakersfield, California

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $13.00
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $738
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 13

At only a 13 hour minimum-wage work week needed to afford rent, Bakersfield takes the cake as the most livable city on this list. Being over $5 the national minimum wage mandate at still reasonable rent prices, this is a great option for budgeters. 

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The top 10 worst cities to live in as a minimum wage worker

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $978
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 31

There’s no question Philadelphia holds a lot of American history and pop culture references, but with the mandated minimum wage and fairly high rent prices,  affordability in this city can be difficult on minimum wage. 

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9. San Jose, California

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $15.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,105
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 32

San Jose, dubbed “The Capital of Silicon Valley” and home to the headquarters of eBay and Samsung, has a lot to offer in terms of innovation and history. 

However, as a minimum wage worker, you’d have to work almost full-time to afford just the monthly rent, let alone other living costs. 

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

8. Raleigh, North Carolina

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,007
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 32

Glassdoor claims that this North Carolina capital is the best city in America for jobs, even at the mandated minimum wage for the country. However, Raleigh’s median base salary is still $55,252.3.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

7. New York, New York

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $15.00
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,115
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 33

At the most populated city in America, New York City is a hotspot for tourists, culture, food, fashion and residents alike. Unfortunately, for minimum-wage workers who make the concrete jungle home, things are quite difficult financially — especially with an average rent price of $2,115 a month.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

6. Arlington, Texas

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,024
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 33

Arlington leaves no gap between their own minimum wage and that of the federal mandate, making a 33 hour work needed on minimum wage in order to afford the average one bedroom rent payment in the city. The good news is, Arlington lies between two of Texas’ largest cities, Fort Worth and Dallas, offering many job opportunities.

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5. Jersey City, New Jersey

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,587
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 33

Just out of reach of the big apple, Jersey City, New Jersey, has its own variety of celebrity icons, history, culture and art. However, with a 33 hour minimum wage work week needed just to afford rent, it can’t be considered a highly-livable situation. 

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4. San Francisco, California

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $16.07
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,416
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 35

San Francisco has a slew of industry, tourism and culture — in addition to having a larger-than-mandated minimum wage at over $16/hr. Even with this fact, the monthly rent is high enough where you’d still need to work 35 hours a week to afford just rent, making this city difficult to live in as a minimum wage worker. 

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,100
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 35

If you’re a lover of the beach, surf and turf and nightlife on the water, Virginia Beach is the place for you. Unfortunately, with the minimum wage mandated by the state, affording a one-bedroom apartment will cost you a 35-hour workweek for just rent — making living comfortably a challenge.

Image Credit: DenisTangneyJr.

2. Plano, Texas

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,171
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 37

Even with bustling corporations and an ever-increasing job market, Plano still makes living on a minimum-wage salary difficult due to high rent prices compared to the minimum wage rate the city offers. Minimum wage workers can expect to work 37 hours a week just to afford monthly rent. 

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1. Austin, Texas

The best & worst cities for minimum wage workers

  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,177
  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 37

A stable economic climate, fun and bustling nightlife and reputable food places make Austin one of the best cities in America to live in. But it tops the list as the toughest city to live in on a minimum wage salary due to their high rent prices in comparison to their low minimum wage rates. 

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This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

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