While a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour waits for Congressional approval, many states have already increased their minimum wage rate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the states with the highest minimum wage rate above $8 are as follows.
Top 8 States With The Highest Minimum Wage
- Washington - comes in at the top of the list with a minimum wage rate of $9.19.
- Oregon - has the second highest minimum wage of $8.95.
- Vermont - at $8.60, Vermont ranks third among the top eight states with the highest minimum wage.
- Connecticut, Illinois and Nevada - all have minimum wages of $8.25.
- California and Massachusetts - both have minimum wage rates of $8.
Minimum Wage Vs. Cost of Living
Although these states currently have the highest minimum wages, these rates must be weighed against their cost of living. Washington, for example, has the highest minimum wage, but the state also ranks 15th in high cost of living. Connecticut has the fourth highest minimum wage but also ranks number four in the cost of living. In fact, almost 25 percent of income in Connecticut comes from the top 5 percent of wealthy residents.
Compare these statistics with two other states, Nevada and Illinois. Nevada and Illinois both have the fourth highest minimum wage, and their cost of living is the 24th and 21st lowest in the nation.
Minimum wage is important, but other factors such as the cost of transportation, food, taxes, and availability of jobs must be considered in order to determine the real value of the minimum wage.