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The Highest Minimum Wages Across The US In 2020

Minimum wage American employees are long overdue for a raise, seeing as the most recent increase to federal minimum wage was back in 2009. This is the longest span without an increase in the history of the minimum wage concept, which started in the 1930s. Fortunately, many states have taken it upon themselves to fight for the rights of their workers, by raising the minimum wage above the federal level. There are now 29 states where the minimum wage is higher than what federal law requires. If you’re looking for a place to work where the employee is cared about, you’ll want to look into the states with the highest minimum wage in the country…

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Adithyavr

New Jersey, Maryland, And Connecticut

At the moment, these three states sit at an hourly minimum wage of $11. In 2019, New Jersey signed into law that the wage must be raised $1 every year until 2024, so minimum wage will eventually hit $15 per hour. Their goal is to grow a healthy economy, help working families escape poverty, and make the state affordable for families and future generations to come.

Maryland, on the other hand, boasts the highest median household income, and continues to raise its minimum wage in stages over time. They’re aiming to hit $15 per hour by 2025, under a new bill introduced last year.

Connecticut has a similar goal of reaching $15 per hour. However, this could happen as soon as June of 2023. Their goal is to make the state more appealing for workers, and to provide an incentive for people to remain in the state. This change comes on the heels of a census claiming that more than 6,000 people left the state between July 2018 and June 2019.

Photo: Creative Commons/Rick Obst


Every summer, Oregon workers receive a raise thanks to a law passed in 2016. Their minimum wage currently sits at $11.25 per hour. They hope to reach an hourly minimum wage of $13.50 by 2022, and then increase that regularly to account for inflation rates.

Photo: Creative Commons/(vincent desjardins)

New York

Currently at $11.80 per hour, the minimum wage in New York is set to increase every New Year’s Eve. They have a goal of $15 per hour by mid-2021, in an effort to give New York families the opportunity to have a better quality of life.

Photo: Creative Commons/NJHeart2Heart

Maine, Colorado, And Arizona

In Maine, you can find over 65 lighthouses, along with a minimum wage of $12 per hour. This state is looking to make small yearly increases starting in 2021 to keep up with inflation.

Colorado also sits at $12 per hour, with the chance to earn an even higher rate if you live in Denver. Ultimately, the state hopes to reach $15.87 per hour within two years, which is expected to help boost the local economy.

Arizona currently boasts the same minimum wage, since the ballot was approved in 2016. Minimum wage employees in the city of Flagstaff enjoy $1 per hour more, and will be receiving $15 by 2021.

Photo: Creative Commons/Dale Miller


The current minimum wage in Massachusetts is $12.75 per hour, with a goal of reaching $15 by 2023. Servers’ base pay is still quite low, sitting at $4.95 hourly, so they must continue to rely on tips. While some want to do away with that pay model, others claim that restaurant servers are the highest-paid employees in many food establishments.



The current minimum wage of $13 per hour puts California near the top of the list. The state aims to increase this to $15 by the year 2022 – though some cities have already surpassed that mark, especially around Silicon Valley. The highest minimum wage is in Emeryville, currently sitting at $16.30 per hour.


Known for its soaring peaks and skyscrapers, like the Seattle Space Needle, the state’s minimum wage is also the highest in the country. The current rate is $13.50 per hour, with some cities already having obtained or surpassed the $15 per hour rate. In Seattle, large employers must pay a minimum of $16.39 per hour.

Seeing states take steps to increase the minimum wage is uplifting to both spirits and economies. However, it may still be a while before this change becomes national. Also, keep in mind that many of these areas also come with a higher cost of living, so the increase to minimum wage could be a wash in some places.