20 states are raising the minimum wage in 2021

Adobe | Jim Vallee

Workers in 20 states got a pay increase at the start of the year, when minimum wage increases went into effect.

In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed America’s first federal minimum wage into law. At that time, it was 25 cents per hour, which would be about $4.61 today when adjusted for inflation. Just over 70 years later, the U.S. minimum wage was set to $7.25, and there has not been an increase since 2009.

However, states and even cities have the ability to establish their own minimum wage. As of January 2021, 29 states (as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands) have set minimum wages greater than the federal wage.

Adobe | Andrey Popov

Twenty states raised the minimum wage at the start of this year to account for increases in cost-of-living expenses. The increases — ranging from less than a dime to more than a dollar — happened in the following states:

1. Alaska: up 15 cents from $10.19 to $10.34

2. Arizona: up 15 cents from $12 to $12.15

3. Arkansas: up $1 from $10 to $11

4. California: up $1 from $13 to $14

5. Colorado: up 32 cents from $12 to $12.32

6. Florida: up 9 cents from $8.56 to $8.65

7. Illinois: up $1 from $10 to $11

8. Maine: up 15 cents from $12 to $12.15

9. Maryland: up 75 cents $11 to $11.75

10. Massachusetts: up 50 cents from $12.75 to $13.25

11. Minnesota: up 8 cents from $10 to $10.08

12. Missouri: up 85 cents from $9.45 to $10.30

13. Montana: up 10 cents from $8.65 to $8.75

14. New Jersey: up $1 from $11 to $12

15. New Mexico: up $1.50 from $9 to $10.50

16. New York: up 70 cents from $11.80 to $12.50

17. Ohio: up 10 cents from $8.70 to $8.80

18. South Dakota: up 15 cents from $9.30 to $9.45

19. Vermont: up 79 cents from $10.96 to $11.75

20. Washington: up 19 cents from $13.50 to $13.69

Other states will increase minimum wage later in 2021. Delaware will increase its minimum wage by $1 from $9.25 to $10.25 effective Oct. 1, 2021, according to Senate Bill No. 170. In Nevada, which has a two-tier minimum wage system, both minimum wages will increase 75 cents, to $8.75 and $9.75, respectively.

Although Michigan expected to increase the state’s minimum wage, its Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act stops all planned minimum wage increases if the state’s annual unemployment rate falls above 8.5%, which it did.

The following states have not established a minimum wage higher than the federal rate.

  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • New Hampshire
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

In addition, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee do not have a state minimum wage at all, which means employers must pay the current federal minimum wage.

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Tricia Goss

Tricia is a professional writer and editor who lives in North Texas with her family and one smelly dog. She is a wannabe problem solver, junk food maven professional coffee practitioner, web guru and general communicator. Learn More.