Each year, the US minimum wage becomes a national talking point. Are they going to increase the federal minimum wage? Is my state’s minimum wage going to increase this year? What are the highest minimum wage states? And so on.
These questions tend to be answered in January of each year and even before then in some instances. Most states make their workers and business owners/employers aware of any upcoming changes that are about to go into effect the following year since the minimum wage laws are usually agreed on and signed into law at least a few months before they become effective.
If you want to see the states that have increased their minimum wage in 2021, we have a complete listing of all 25 states that raised their minimum wage in 2021. Half of the country has seen an increase, and some of the states with increases are those in the top 10.
The information provided here details the top 10 highest minimum wage states in 2021. Some states that are included in the list may have towns, cities, or counties with either higher or lower minimum wage laws than you see on this page. However, the highest minimum wage is based on information from each state as a whole. Also, some states that have more employees or revenue may be required to pay a higher minimum wage rate.
Highest State Minimum Wage
The minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily, or monthly wage that businesses may legally pay to employees or workers. Here are the top 10 highest state minimum wage rates in the United States in 2021. Washington D.C. is not included since it is not a U.S. state. If it were included, then Washington D.C. would have the highest state minimum wage since its minimum wage rate is $15.00 per hour.
Here’s the list of the top 10 highest minimum wage states in 2021:
- California – Currently sitting at $14.00 per hour, the highest minimum wage state in 2021 is California.
- Washington – A close second place goes to Washington, boasting a minimum wage rate of $13.69.
- Massachusetts – Third place goes to Massachusetts, with a min wage of $13.50 per hour.
- Connecticut – Even after a mid-year change to the CT minimum wage rate in 2020, which saw the wage increase to $12.00 per hour, the 2021 rate increased by $1.00 moving it up to $13.00 per hour, clinching the fourth spot.
- New York – $12.50 is the minimum wage in New York state. However, in NY City it is $15 per hour. It is key to bear in mind that the New York minimum wage increase each year will take place on or before October 1 annually.
- Colorado – Colorado’s min wage is $12.32 per hour, making it 6th place on the list.
- Arizona – In seventh place is Arizona, with a minimum wage of $12.15 per hour.
- Maine – Technically in joint 7th place is Maine, with a minimum wage rate of, you guessed it, $12.15!
- Oregon – Oregon’s minimum wage is $12.00, cementing its spot in 9th place.
- Rhode Island – 2020 witnessed Rhode Island’s emergence in the top 10, and with the wage staying the same as the October increase ($11.50) in 2021, Rhode Island remains in 10th place.
Highest Minimum Wage States in 2021
There are many variables when it comes to the minimum wage, most states generate a unique wage via the consumer price index, measuring the cost of living, house prices, and inflation, which is usually revised, or at least revisited annually.
To find out more information regarding the minimum wage of all 50 states, check out our US minimum wage by state page. The table below reflects the top 10 highest minimum wage states in 2021. Some states are tied with the same minimum wage rate and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) has not been included since it is not a state. If D.C. was included it would be the highest minimum wage state in 2021 at $15.00 per hour.
Additionally, New York and Oregon, which both have regional minimum wage rates, will see the highest wages reaching $15.00 per hour in New York City and $14.00 in the Portland Metro Area. This is effective July 1st, 2021.
|Position||State||Min Wage 2020||Min Wage 2021|
|1st||Minimum Wage in Washington||$13.50||$13.69|
|2nd||Minimum Wage in California||$13.00||TBD|
|3rd||Minimum Wage in Massachusetts||$12.75||$13.50|
|4th||Minimum Wage in Connecticut||$12.00||$13.00|
|5th||Minimum Wage in New York||$11.80||$12.50|
|6th||Minimum Wage in Colorado||$12.00||$12.32|
|7th||Minimum Wage in Arizona||$12.00||$12.15|
|7th (tied)||Minimum Wage in Maine||$12.00||$12.15|
|9th||Minimum Wage in Oregon||$11.25||$12.00|
|10th||Minimum Wage in Rhode Island||$11.50||$11.50|