Bottom of the Barrel: 19 of the Lowest Minimum Wage States

As minimum wages continue to rise across the US, you might be surprised to learn which US states pay the lowest minimum wages in the country.

Federal Minimum

Image Credit: Shutterstock / stockwerk-fotodesign

With record-high inflation and mounting interest rates in recent years, many Americans feel as though their paycheck just isn’t keeping up. And with a federal minimum wage of just $7.25,  according to the US Department of Labor, it’s easy to see why.

Doing the Bare Minimum

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kamil Zajaczkowski

While some states have taken the initiative to enforce a state minimum wage that far exceeds the federal rate, this is not true for many states that have set their minimum wages to meet the federal rate.

17 States

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexander Lukatskiy

Let’s take a look at 17 US states that offer the lowest state minimum wages, not including the federal minimum wage rate.

1. Indiana

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Indiana’s minimum wage rate is $7.25, the same as the federal minimum wage rate, which applies to employers with 2 or more employees. It also has a minimum wage for tipped employees of only $2.13.

2. Wisconsin

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

Another state with a minimum wage that meets the federal minimum is Wisconsin. The midwestern state also offers a young worker “opportunity wage,” wherein employers can pay employees under 20 years old just $5.90 an hour. 

3. Idaho

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Kirk Fisher

Like many on this list, Idaho also has a minimum wage rate that matches the federal rate. Some occupations are exempt from the $7.25 minimum, including tipped employees and student workers. 

4. North Carolina

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sharkshock

Employers in North Carolina are also required to meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Like Indiana, tipped employees receive just $2.13 directly from employers.

5. Kansas 

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tupungato

Kansas also established a $7.25 minimum wage rate, with some exemptions. As of January 1 2024, all federal contractor employees in Kansas must be paid a minimum wage of $17.20 per hour.

6. Utah

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

The Utah state minimum wage is the same as the federal rate at $7.25. It was last changed in 2008 when it was raised from just $0.70 per hour to $6.55, and then to $7.25 to meet the federal rate.

7. Pennsylvania

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

The minimum wage in Pennsylvania is now $7.25, raised from $0.10 to $7.15 back in 2006, then again to meet the federal rate in 2009. A previous attempt to gradually increase the rate to $15 per hour was stalled by the State Senate Labor and Industry Committee last year. 

8. Kentucky

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Another state that matches the federal rate, Kentucky has a basic minimum wage rate of $7.25. In 2015 the cities of Lexington raised their local minimum wage to $8.20, a move which was later struck down by the State Supreme Court.

9. Texas

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Workers in Texas earn the federal minimum wage, with the exception of certain occupations that are exempt under the law. These include domestic employees, farm and ranch workers, students, some seasonal workers, and others.

10. Iowa 

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

While the minimum wage in Iowa is $7.25, there are some notable exceptions to this rule. For example, retail and service establishments that gross less than $300,000 per year are exempt from this rate, along with most supervisory and administrative employees.

11. Tennessee

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Tennessee is one of 5 states that do not technically have any minimum wage laws. However, most employees in Tennessee are protected by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. 

12. South Carolina

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Another state with no minimum wage law, South Carolina pays minimum wage workers $7.25 an hour, not including tipped employees, full-time students, and workers under 20. 

13. Mississippi

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

The federal minimum wage law also applies to Mississippi, which has no set minimum wage. Prior to this change in 2009, minimum-wage employees made $6.55 from 2006 onwards, and just $0.70 an hour prior to that.

14. Louisiana

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Enrico Della Pietra

With no state minimum wage law, Louisiana workers make the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. All employers are legally required to display a poster in the workplace informing employees of their right to a federal minimum wage.

15. Alabama

Image Credit: Shutterstock / LMspencer

The southern state of Alabama currently has no minimum wage laws, meaning that most workers are subject to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

16. Georgia

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

The lowest minimum wage rate is paid in two states, one of which is Georgia. This southeastern state has a minimum wage of just $5.15 per hour. This does not apply to employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act and are required to pay the federal minimum wage.

17. Wyoming

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

Alongside Georgia, Wyoming also pays the lowest state minimum wage in the country at $5.15 per hour, with most employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act that requires the federal minimum.

The post – Bottom of the Barrel: 19 of the Lowest Minimum Wage States first appeared on Wealthy Living.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.