The most affordable state21 states in the U.S. began 2020 with higher minimum wages, including Alaska, Florida, Ohio, California, New Jersey, and New York. Some of these states automatically increased their minimum wage based on the cost of living, while some increased it as a result of legislation passed. As of January 1, 2022, the District of Columbia has the highest state minimum wage, at 15.2 U.S. dollars per hour. However, some cities have their own minimum wage, such as New York City, which had a minimum wage of 15 U.S. dollars per hour, as compared to the statewide minimum wage of 13.2 U.S. dollars per hour in 2021.
Unfortunately, the minimum wage is not equivalent to a living wage anymore, and many Americans work more than one minimum wage job in order to make ends meet. For example, San Jose, California, had the highest annual income requirement for comfortable living in 2022 out of the most populous cities in the United States. As one of the most global and innovative cities, there is a high cost of living, which makes living on the current minimum wage hard to sustain.