Profile image
Story Views
Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

These US Cities Are Least Livable for Minimum Wage Earners (Video)

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

 

by N.Morgan

 

From the East Coast to the West Coast, American cities are known around the world for being vibrant, industrious, and constantly growing. Every year, more people are enticed into big cities by unique job opportunities, cultures, landscapes, and communities.

As populations in these cities rise, so too does the cost of living—and if a city’s minimum wage doesn’t increase fast enough to match its growth, residents can be hard-pressed to make ends meet.

This is because minimum wage and a living wage (how much you actually need to get by) aren’t the same things.

For example, the federal minimum wage in the US is $7.25 an hour, but the average living wage is $16.071 (and varies from city to city).

States and some cities set their own minimum wages to help their citizens break even. While this makes it easier for breadwinners and heads of households to get by, not all states or cities take this step. Even cities and states that increase the minimum wage almost never set the threshold at the living wage.

If you work a job that pays minimum wage and wants to move to one of these cities, check the cost of living to make sure it would be feasible for you. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of popular American cities and ranked them based on how easily someone on minimum wage could live there.

Keep reading to learn what we discovered.

10 least livable cities for minimum wage earners

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Irvine, CA
  3. New York City, NY
  4. Jersey City, NJ
  5. San Jose, CA
  6. Austin, TX
  7. Plano, TX
  8. Oakland, CA
  9. Honolulu, HI
  10. Virginia Beach, VA

 

10 most livable cities for minimum wage earners

  1. Bakersfield, CA
  2. Fresno, CA
  3. Toledo, OH
  4. Lincoln, NE
  5. Tucson, AZ
  6. Cincinnati, OH
  7. Phoenix, AZ
  8. Detroit, MI
  9. Mesa, AZ
  10. Cleveland, OH

 

Our ranking criteria

We looked at the 75 most populous cities according to the US Census Bureau2 and gathered the following info about each:

  • Minimum wage (dollars per hour)3
  • The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment4
  • The average monthly cost of internet and basic utilities

We then calculated how many hours people living in different cities would need to work at minimum wage to pay for their apartments and utilities (not including any other expenses such as groceries or transportation).

Based on our calculations, we ranked the cities from the least livable to the most livable for minimum wage earners.

10 least livable cities for minimum wage earners

 

#1. San Francisco, CA

 

San Francisco is a popular tourist destination, a diverse melting pot of culture, and a hub for technological advancement. But with an ever-increasing cost of living,5 the City by the Bay is notoriously unlivable for all but the highest earners. For this reason, it might be more feasible to visit SF than to move there.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 56
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 241
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,464
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $183.31

 

#2. Irvine, CA

 

Home to several universities and assorted corporate headquarters, Irvine is a bustling city with a thriving economy. Irvine’s industrious culture makes it ideal for start-ups and captains of industry, but rent is too high for minimum wage earners to live there comfortably.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 48
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 209
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,095
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $203.81

 

#3. New York City, NY

 

New York City is the most populous metropolis in the US, and it’s arguably the most famous as well. Immortalized in countless songs, movies, and TV shows, the Big Apple is a popular tourist destination, and many dream about living there at some point.

That said, minimum wage earners will find it almost impossible to make a decent living in NY. Let’s just say you couldn’t afford Monica’s West Village apartment earning $11 an hour.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 48
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 209
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,108
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $208.93

 

#4. Jersey City, NJ

 

Just across the bay from New York City lies Jersey City, a historic den of artistic talent and ethnic diversity. The skyline is crowned with skyscrapers, and many celebrities (Shaquille O’Neal, Martha Stewart, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few) have called the city home.

But Jersey City’s meager minimum wage means anyone working a low-paying job might struggle to make rent.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 48
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 208
  • Hourly minimum wage: $8.85
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,597
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $242.45

 

#5. San Jose, CA

 

San Jose is sometimes referred to as “The Capital of Silicon Valley” because it serves as the headquarters for industry giants like eBay and Samsung. As a complement to all this innovation, the city also has a rich past (both before and after the Spanish colonized that part of California) and a historic downtown area.

Unfortunately, the cost of living is so high that a minimum wage earner would need to work nearly fifty hours each week just to put a roof over their head.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 48
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 207
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,094
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $184.53

 

#6. Austin, TX

 

Austin is often ranked among the best cities in the US to live in, and it’s easy to see why; it has a healthy economy, a bumping nightlife, and a world-famous food scene. But this all comes at a cost, and since Austin hasn’t set its minimum wage higher than the federal one, it may be difficult for low-income residents to thrive.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 44
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 189
  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,152
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $214.87

 

#7. Plano, TX

 

Plano is known for its strong economy and thriving job market, thanks in part to city officials who work hard to attract corporations to set up shop there. However, like Austin, the city’s minimum wage is set at the federal limit, and the cost of living requires those workers to clock a lot of hours. (On the upside, Plano’s exceptional schools make it one of our top ten places to raise a family.)

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 43
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 187
  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,155
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $203.85

 

#8. Oakland, CA

 

Oakland sits across the Bay Bridge (not to be confused with the Golden Gate Bridge) from San Francisco, so it shares a lot of San Francisco’s natural beauty. Oakland also has a diverse population and a healthy artistic community.

While Oakland’s cost of living is much more reasonable than San Fran’s, it would still be difficult to make ends meet while earning minimum wage there.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 42
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 180
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,784
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $201.43

 

#9. Honolulu, HI

 

Hawaii’s capital is surrounded by gorgeous beaches and breathtaking mountains. The city itself is a stunning arrangement of skyscrapers that crawl all the way up to the edge of the ocean. We also give props to Hawaii for its low gender wage gap, which makes it one of the top ten states for women to live.

That said, to make a living at Honolulu’s minimum wage, you’d need to work a little more than full time, so this is another spot we recommend visiting instead of moving to.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 41
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 179
  • Hourly minimum wage: $10.10
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,547
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $259.06

 

#10. Virginia Beach, VA

 

On the opposite end of the country, Virginia Beach looks directly out onto the Atlantic Ocean. To get by on minimum wage in Virginia Beach, you’d need to work forty hours a week. This makes Virginia Beach the first city on our list where minimum wage earners don’t have to work overtime to pay for their rent and utilities.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 40
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 175
  • Hourly minimum wage: $7.25
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,068
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $200.66

 

10 most livable cities for minimum wage earners

 

#1. Bakersfield, CA

 

Bakersfield sits in California’s Kern County, which is among the largest oil-producing counties in the US.6 To live on minimum wage in Bakersfield, you’d only need to work twenty hours a week, making it the most livable city on our list for minimum wage earners.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 20
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 85
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $725
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $208.18

 

#2. Fresno, CA

 

A metropolis in the heart of farmland, Fresno offers a unique environment that blends rural and urban scenery into one. While rent in the city runs relatively high, the minimum wage is set at $11, so living in Fresno is still a realistic choice for minimum wage earners. Bonus fact for outdoorsy people: Fresno is only two-and-a-half hours away from Yosemite National Park.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 22
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 95
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $830
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $218.32

 

#3. Toledo, OH

 

Toledo’s history is rooted in glass manufacturing, so it’s aptly called “The Glass City.” Jeep is headquartered in Toledo, and the company is one of Toledo’s largest employers. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Toledo is the lowest of all the cities on our list.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 22
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 96
  • Hourly minimum wage: $8.55
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $589
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $231.26

 

#4. Lincoln, NE

 

As the capital of Nebraska, Lincoln embodies the Cornhusker State’s community, history, and culture. Lincoln’s minimum wage is $9 an hour and its rental prices are fairly low, making living there very reasonable. Lincoln is also home to three different colleges, so it’s a fantastic town for students—and a great place to stay after graduation.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 22
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 96
  • Hourly minimum wage: $9.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $647
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $219.57

 

#5. Tucson, AZ

 

Two things make Tucson another superb college town: the University of Arizona and the city’s $11 minimum wage. This combination is ideal for students because it allows them to get an excellent education while earning enough money to stay afloat and avoid taking on immense amounts of debt. (Pssst: If you’re looking for an inexpensive place to study, check out our list of affordable college towns.)

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 23
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 98
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $703
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $371.93

Copper Home Page

APeX

Humic Fulvic

Ultra Curcumin

 

#6. Cincinnati, OH

 

Cincinnati’s cost of living is among the lowest on our list. Pair this with the city’s higher-than-federal minimum wage, and you’ve got a recipe for one of the most livable US cities of its size.

Cincinnati also has deep roots in beer culture and boasts a broad assortment of craft breweries, making it a great home for beer connoisseurs.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 23
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 98
  • Hourly minimum wage: $8.55
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $643
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $193.57

 

#7. Phoenix, AZ

 

If you want to live in a big city and don’t mind the desert heat, Phoenix might be the perfect place for you. The city offers an $11 minimum wage and a reasonable cost of living, so it’s easy to see why it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 23
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 98
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $855
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $221.86

 

#8. Detroit, MI

 

Also known as “Motor City,” Detroit is a historic town with a vital music scene and strong ties to the automobile industry. Detroit offers a higher minimum wage than the federal mandate, and rent for a one-bedroom apartment is very manageable. As a bonus, people who live and work in downtown Detroit don’t need to worry about buying a car. Instead, they can get around on the Detroit People Mover, a speedy train that runs by the city’s major landmarks.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 23
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 99
  • Hourly minimum wage: $9.25
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $685
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $233.36

 

#9. Mesa, AZ

 

Mesa is a smaller suburb of Phoenix with a slightly higher cost of living. Even so, Mesa is still reasonably affordable for minimum wage earners. To cover an apartment and utilities in Mesa, you’d only need to work twenty-three hours at the city’s minimum wage.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 23
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 100
  • Hourly minimum wage: $11.00
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $874
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $224.87

 

#10. Cleveland, OH

 

Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland is a passion-filled city with lots to offer sports fans and music fans alike. To live on minimum wage in Cleveland, you’d only need to work about twenty-three hours a week.

  • Hours you’d need to work each week: 23
  • Hours you’d need to work each month: 101
  • Hourly minimum wage: $8.55
  • Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $640
  • The average monthly cost of utilities: $223.73

 

Methodology

 

For our rankings, we analyzed the seventy-five most populous cities in the United States. These rankings were based solely on each city’s minimum wage and how much it would cost on average to pay for utilities and a one-bedroom apartment in that city.

Additional expenses like food, insurance, entertainment, and transportation had no impact on the rankings, though some were mentioned occasionally throughout the article. We also didn’t rank these cities based on crime statistics, unemployment rates, access to government services, or other secondary factors.

Though the cost of living and income levels both factor into how livable a city might be, these rankings don’t necessarily reflect the overall quality of life for residents.

For the complete list of our rankings, check out the table below.

 

Thinking of moving?

 

If our list made you consider moving to a city with a higher minimum wage or a lower cost of living than the one you’re in right now, we can help you find a long-distance moving company to get you there. Or, if we helped you decide not to move somewhere with higher rent or a lower minimum wage, we would love to hear about it in the comments.

Have you ever lived on minimum wage in any of the cities we mentioned? Feel free to comment and tell us about your experience.

 

Full dataset

Rank City Minimum wage Average cost of living Weekly work hours Population (2017) Unemployment rate7
1 San Francisco, CA $11.00 $2,647.31 56 884,363 2.90%
2 Irvine, CA $11.00 $2,298.81 48 277,453 Unavailable
3 New York City, NY $11.10 $2,314.93 48 8,622,698 4.60%
4 Jersey City, NJ $8.85 $1,839.45 48 270,753 Unavailable
5 San Jose, CA $11.00 $2,278.53 48 1,035,317 3.30%
6 Austin, TX $7.25 $1,366.87 44 950,715 2.90%
7 Plano, TX $7.25 $1,358.85 43 286,143 Unavailable
8 Oakland, CA $11.00 $1,985.43 42 425,195 4.20%
9 Honolulu, HI $10.10 $1,806.06 41 350,395 Unavailable
10 Virginia Beach, VA $7.25 $1,268.66 40 450,435 3.60%
11 Atlanta, GA $7.25 $1,247.16 40 486,290 5.20%
12 Anaheim, CA $11.00 $1,859.81 39 352,497 Unavailable
13 Arlington, TX $7.25 $1,216.05 39 396,394 Unavailable
14 Newark, NJ $8.85 $1,466.33 38 285,154 Unavailable
15 Charlotte, NC $7.25 $1,194.33 38 859,035 4.40%
16 Philadelphia, PA $7.25 $1,182.50 38 1,580,863 6.20%
17 Raleigh, NC $7.25 $1,170.38 37 464,758 4.20%
18 San Diego, CA $11.00 $1,757.20 37 1,419,516 3.90%
19 Henderson, NV $8.25 $1,315.90 37 302,539 Unavailable
20 Boston, MA $12.00 $1,904.77 37 685,094 3.40%
21 Nashville, TN $7.25 $1,147.41 37 667,560 2.70%
22 Fort Worth, TX $7.25 $1,134.50 36 874,168 3.80%
23 Dallas, TX $7.25 $1,107.72 35 1,341,075 3.80%
24 Miami, FL $8.46 $1,255.37 34 463,347 4.70%
25 San Antonio, TX $7.25 $1,074.65 34 1,511,946 3.50%
26 Orlando, FL $8.46 $1,253.28 34 280,257 Unavailable
27 Santa Ana, CA $11.00 $1,617.00 34 334,136 Unavailable
28 Corpus Christi, TX $7.25 $1,057.91 34 325,605 Unavailable
29 Tampa, FL $8.46 $1,218.70 33 385,430 Unavailable
30 Long Beach, CA $11.00 $1,581.25 33 469,450 4.80%
31 Los Angeles, CA $11.00 $1,571.18 33 3,999,759 4.70%
32 Houston, TX $7.25 $1,026.81 33 2,312,717 4.80%
33 Las Vegas, NV $8.25 $1,148.47 32 641,676 5.40%
34 New Orleans, LA $7.25 $1,002.96 32 393,292 Unavailable
35 Pittsburgh, PA $7.25 $981.01 31 302,407 Unavailable
36 Jacksonville, FL $8.46 $1,112.72 30 892,062 4.20%
37 Seattle, WA $12.00 $1,545.24 30 724,745 3.40%
38 Greensboro, NC $7.25 $928.64 30 290,222 Unavailable
39 Portland, OR $10.75 $1,353.03 29 647,805 3.60%
40 Indianapolis, IN $7.25 $908.09 29 863,002 3.60%
41 Milwaukee, WI $7.25 $903.87 29 595,351 4.60%
42 Memphis, TN $7.25 $899.32 29 652,236 4.80%
43 Aurora, CO $11.10 $1,372.27 29 366,623 Unavailable
44 Albuquerque, NM $7.50 $918.47 28 558,545 5.50%
45 St. Paul, MN $9.86 $1,199.63 28 306,621 Unavailable
46 Lexington, KY $7.25 $876.52 28 321,959 Unavailable
47 Louisville, KY $7.25 $871.65 28 621,349 4.40%
48 Tulsa, OK $7.25 $869.89 28 401,800 4.50%
49 Kansas City, MO $8.60 $1,022.50 27 488,943 4.30%
50 El Paso, TX $7.25 $861.05 27 683,577 4.40%
51 Anchorage, AL $9.89 $1,174.12 27 294,356 Unavailable
52 Oklahoma City, OK $7.25 $851.22 27 643,648 3.90%
53 Baltimore, MD $10.10 $1,170.71 27 611,648 6.10%
54 Washington, DC $13.25 $1,528.49 27 693,972 6.10%
55 Riverside, CA $11.00 $1,263.33 27 327,728 Unavailable
56 Columbus, OH $8.55 $967.72 26 879,170 4.10%
57 Denver, CO $11.10 $1,241.03 26 704,621 2.80%
58 Minneapolis, MN $9.86 $1,098.43 26 422,331 3.10%
59 St. Louis, MO $8.60 $951.95 26 308,626 Unavailable
60 Wichita, KS $7.25 $801.85 26 390,591 4.40%
61 Sacramento, CA $11.00 $1,212.83 25 501,901 4.70%
62 Omaha, NE $9.00 $967.25 25 466,893 3.20%
63 Chicago, IL $12.00 $1,265.77 24 2,716,450 5.50%
64 Stockton, CA $11.00 $1,159.27 24 310,496 Unavailable
65 Colorado Springs, CO $11.10 $1,161.05 24 464,474 3.20%
66 Cleveland, OH $8.55 $863.73 23 385,525 7.40%
67 Mesa, AZ $11.00 $1,098.87 23 496,401 4.20%
68 Detroit, MI $9.25 $918.36 23 673,104 9.30%
69 Phoenix, AZ $11.00 $1,076.86 23 1,626,078 4.30%
70 Cincinnati, OH $8.55 $836.57 23 301,301 Unavailable
71 Tucson, AZ $11.00 $1,074.93 23 535,677 4.70%
72 Lincoln, NE $9.00 $866.57 22 284,736 Unavailable
73 Toledo, OH $8.55 $820.26 22 276,491 Unavailable
74 Fresno, CA $11.00 $1,048.32 22 527,438 6.70%
75 Bakersfield, CA $11.00 $933.18 20 380,874 Unavailable

We have an affiliate program designed for content creators and Affiliate marketers, who would like to sell this product, please click here for affiliate program details. Our affiliate program is designed to help you monetize your screen time.

References:

1. Living Wage Calculator, “Bare Facts About the Living Wage in America 2017-2018”

2. US Census Bureau, “Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More”

3. US Department of Labor, “Consolidated Minimum Wage Table”

4. Apartment List, “Rental Price Data”

5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Consumer Price Index, San Francisco Area”

6. San Diego Union-Tribune, “California’s ranking as an oil-producing state is slipping”

7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Local Area Unemployment Statistics”

Stories Contributed by N. Morgan

 

 

Support BeforeitsNews by trying our natural health products! Join our affiliate program
Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at www.mitocopper.com
Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets" THEY don't want you to know!

APeX - Far superior to colloidal silver!  Desroys Viruses, Bacteria, Pathogens!
Ultimate Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.
Supreme Fulvic - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!
MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy.
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser! Cleans out toxic buildup!
B-12 - Supports healthy metabolism, brain function, hormone balance!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Never Wax Your Car Again -
Protects vehicles for years with dazzling shine!
Smart Meter Cover - Reduces Smart Meter radiation! See Video!
Prodovite - The Secret To Healing is in the Blood!

Tactical Laser Blinds
Attackers
Bring Batteries Back
toLife!
New Laser Blinds Attackers Instantly! Bring Dead Batteries Back to life!
US Faces 100 Year Drought
Cut Power Bills by 65%
NASA - US Faces 100 Year Drought! Discovery Can Cut Power Bills by 65%
Report abuse

    Comments

    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Total 3 comments
    • Slimey

      Hello Angle#3,

      Charlie here. You can see where there is mostly minorities are the most expensive place to live. White people have to work hard to feed their families and minorities. :wink: :wink:

      I’m surprised Florida is not included. Oh, that’s right. White people go and vacation there. :lol: :lol:

      Signed,

      Charlie (Donut know what else to tell you?) :???: :???:

    • King David

      Sorry, you need to research a little more before reprinting hogwash! Virginia beach is no where the size as Atlanta! Do your own research next time instead of relying on liberal media!

    • Central Scrutinizer

      Minimum Wage isn’t designed to be something to live and raise a family on…… Just say’in :mrgreen:

    SignUp

    Login

    Newsletter

    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.