The Lowest And Cheapest Big Cities For Minimum Wage Earners

Top 10 Cheapest Big Cities For Minimum Wage Earners
Summary: Out of all the cities with over a million people, Austin, Texas is one of the best for livable wage earners. We collected data on the minimum wage in the over 60 largest U.S. cities, by population, and paired that with Economic Policy to choose the cheapest big cities for minimum wage earners.

A lot of big cities are still under the minimum wage of $7.25, which is not a living wage for most people in the United States. So, in which cities can you live on minimum wage and still enjoy an affordable, comfortable life? Our rank of 25 biggest cities in the United States is based on the number of houses it would take to afford a 1-bedroom apartment while earning minimum wage.

This excludes all other factors of cost of living, but it points out where paying rent on a single minimum wage won’t help (if you plan to rent alone). The median minimum wage in these cities totals $10.40 per hour, but the median 1-bedroom apartment rent is at $1,040 per month, which means that rent in many big cities requires more than 60 percent of monthly gross minimum wage earning, which exclude taxes.

You should be careful of places with a current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour and expensive rent as they are mostly unaffordable. Unless you have roommates or housemates who can help pay the bills, or you plan to work several jobs, you may want to move to the nearest city or town with cheaper costs.

In this article, we discussed a list of the most affordable and worst cities for minimum wage earners. Let’s get it started!

10 Most Affordable Big Cities for those Earning Minimum Wage

We ranked the best and worst cities that minimum wage earners can live in based on these calculations. Below are the best cities that minimum wage earners can live.

10. Cincinnati

  • Hourly minimum wage:$8.70
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$654
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 17

This is a great place to live because of its low rental rates and higher minimum wage. Sports lovers and chili-fans will be glad to know that they can reside in the city with just 17 hours of minimum wage going to rent.

9. Phoenix

  • Hourly minimum wage:$12.00
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$885
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 17

This is one of the rapidly-developing cities in the country. And while the heat in Arizona may be a major turn-off for prospective citizens, the higher minimum wage is worth living here. Phoenix is among the 10 Largest Cities in the United States.

8. Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Hourly minimum wage:$9
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$660
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 17

Lincoln is home to three various colleges and is one of the best cities for the twentieth century. Its minimum wage is $9 per hour and also features lower rental rates. Nebraska’s capital is fairly affordable to those earning minimum wage, who will be working 17 hours per week to afford rent. The minimum wage of the city is $9 per hour and its rental prices are moderately low.

7. Cleveland

  • Hourly minimum wage:$8.70
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$627
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 17

The minimum wage of this place is more than the national minimum, and it has a reasonable rent as well. You only need to work for 17 hours per week to reside in the city where the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame are located.  

6. Detroit

  • Hourly minimum wage:$9.65
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$692
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 17

Detroit is one of the most historic cities in America, between its automobile industry and music scene. On top of that, minimum-wage earners easily make rent compared to other cities. The hourly minim of Detroit is $9.65 and its typical rent prices need around 17 hours of work per week to afford.

5. Minneapolis

  • Hourly minimum wage:$13.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$911
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 16

Minneapolis is the city with the highest minimum wage in the list of top 10 cities. The median rental prices are much steeper, but with the wage of $13 to $25 hourly rate, you only need 16 hours of work every week to cover rent.

Read our Guide To Moving To Minneapolis In 2021’s 

4. Toledo, Ohio

  • Hourly minimum wage:$8.70
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$596
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 16

The rent here is the lowest of any of the cities mentioned on this list, so you need just 16 hours of work every week to cover rent as a minimum wage earner. Enjoy the beautiful arts community of the city in your free time.

3. Fresno, California

  • Hourly minimum wage:$13.00
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$847
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 15

Fresno is located in the center of California farmland, and those earning minimum wage live there easily, knowing that they need just 15 hours of work every week to pay rent. Although rent here is a bit expensive than in other cities mentioned on the list, the $13 minimum wage is worth the stress.

2. Tucson, Arizona

  • Hourly minimum wage:$12.00
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$720
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 14

Minimum wage earners need just 14 hours to work every week to cover for rent of their home in Tucson, Arizona. If you are searching for a cheap college town, students of the University of Arizona will enjoy the higher minimum wage of Tucson and its lower rent prices.

1. Bakersfield, California

  • Hourly minimum wage:$13.00
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$738
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 13

Fortunately for those earning minimum wage in Bakersfield, California, you can make use of your money on things beyond rent. A wage of $13 per hour means you have to work for 13 hours every week, the best amount to earn for minimum-wage workers in big cities of the United States. To better explain that, you have to work almost three times more in Austin, Texas, than Bakersfield to be able to pay a single-bedroom home: 37 hours every week at the federal minimum wage.

Comparison of the Cities According to Ranking

Comparison of the Cities According to Ranking

Rank

City

State

Population

Avg gross rent

Min wages

Min wage to pay rent

1

Bakersfield

California

384,159

$733

$14.00

52.4

2

Tucson

Arizona

548,082

$697

$12.15

57.4

3

Fresno

California

531,581

$842

$14.00

60.1

4

Detroit

Michigan

670,052

$608

$9.87

61.6

5

Cleveland

Ohio

380,989

$579

$8.80

65.8

6

Stockton

California

312,682

$927

$14.00

66.2

7

Albuquerque

New Mexico

560,504

$740

$10.50

70.5

8

St. Louis

Missouri

300,576

$727

$10.30

70.6

9

St. Paul

Minnesota

308,096

$890

$12.50

71.2

10

Newark

New Jersey

281,999

$860

$12.00

71.7

Living alone these days in a single-bedroom apartment in a bigger city may appear like a dream that won’t become a reality. However, two cities yet (theoretically) enable minimum wage earners to work just one job and reside there cheaply: Tucson, Arizona, and Bakersfield, California. Millions of citizens will be able to live comfortably by increasing the federal minimum wage, but for now, workers that make minimum wage can try to look at an affordable place in the big city.

The 10 Worst Cities to Live for Those Renting a Single-Bedroom and Earning Minimum Wage

10. Philadelphia

  • Hourly minimum wage:$7.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$978
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 31

Now, as regards the least livable cities, everyone knows the rich history of Philadelphia. The name of the city even features images of Rocky making up the stops, the singing of the Constitution, and the cracked Liberty Bell. Sadly, Philadelphia hasn’t gone past the minimum age of the country and still has fairly high rent.

  1. San Jose, California
  • Hourly minimum wage:$15.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$2,105
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 32

This is the Capital of Silicon Valley and it is home to giant tech companies like Samsung and eBay, which make the city expensive to rent. Even though the minimum wage in San Jose is higher at $15.25, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is still above $2,100. You’d be working for almost 32 hours every week to pay that rent.

9. Raleigh, North Carolina

  • Hourly minimum wage:$7.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$1,007
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 32

The capital city of North Carolina pays the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and workers there face a higher rental cost. Minimum-wage earners must be ready to work 32 hours every week to pay for rent in a 1-bedroom in Raleigh.

8. New York City

  • Hourly minimum wage:$15.00
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$2,115
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 33

Everyone knows that NYC s costly, but the city has at least increased its minimum wage to $15 instead of going with the federal minimum. Yet, with a 1-bedroom apartment costing more than $2,100 per month, a minimum-wage earner could plan to work 33 hours per week only to pay the rent.

Read How Much Does It Cost To Move In New York?

7. Arlington, Texas

  • Hourly minimum wage:$7.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$1,024
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 33

The rent in Arlington is cheap, and its minimum age is still on the 2009 federal requirement of $7.25. But residents of Arlington earning minimum wage might get a job in nearest Fort Worth or Dallas, the two biggest Texas cities.

6. Jersey City, New Jersey

  • Hourly minimum wage:$11.00
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$1,587
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 33

The minimum wage in New Jersey is higher than the federal requirement, but that might not be worth it in such a costly city. For those earning minimum-wage searching for the best place to live aside from New York City means they will have to work 33 hours per week just to cover rent, which could be too hard.

4. San Francisco

  • Hourly minimum wage:$16.07
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$2,416
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 35

This has always been a home of culture, beautiful tourist locations, and, of recent, the destination for new technology companies. But even with the higher minimum wage of the city at $16.07, the rent is expensive for those earning minimum wage to live a comfortable life.

3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Hourly minimum wage:$7.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$1,100
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 35

This is a bustling seaside city that views directly out on the Atlantic Ocean, which makes it a perfect spot for those who enjoy long walks on the beach, oceanfront nightlife, and fresh seafood. The limitation is that the minimum wage in Virginia Beach is only $7.25, so you would need to work around 25 hours per week just to cover the rent minimum wagon.

2. Plano, Texas

  • Hourly minimum wage:$7.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$1,171
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 37

Even though Plano is famous for having a great employment market and promising job opportunities, the city still hangs on the federal minimum wage. Together with high prices of rent, Plano will have those earning minimum wage spend 37 hours every week working to cover a 1-bedroom apartment.

1. Austin, Texas

  • Hourly minimum wage:$7.25
  • One-bedroom apartment rent:$1,177
  • Number of Hours to work every week: 37

Famous for being one of the best cities to reside in the United States, Austin is a huge city hanging on the federal minimum wage and developing costs of living. With expensive rent prices, you have to work for 37 hours every week on minimum wage to pay for a 1-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Texas. That is why it is one of the least livable cities in the United States for those earning minimum wage to live.

Conclusion

Living on minimum wage in the United States cities is very possible and the list provided above will point you to the right cities to call home while you earn minimum wage in the country. When you are ready to move, be sure to reach out or call now to get your free moving quote from Pricing Van Lines.