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10 States Where Workers Earn the Least Money


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Ever wonder where people take home the smallest paychecks?

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps data on median incomes across all types of occupations in each state. While the cost of living obviously affects how far that money goes in each state, it can still be interesting to compare. This is particularly true for remote workers, who may hold a job in a state they don’t actually live in.

Following are the states where typical workers earn the least amount of money as of 2023.

10. Kentucky

Louisville
Henryk Sadura / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $43,730

Median hourly income in this state: $21.02

Kentucky’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. The most common occupation in the state is the category of laborers and freight, stock and material movers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

9. South Dakota

Yankton, South Dakota
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $43,680

Median hourly income in this state: $21.00

South Dakota’s minimum wage is $11.20. The most common occupation in the state is fast food and counter service work, followed by registered nurses.

8. New Mexico

View from the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway in New Mexico
Gestalt Imagery / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $43,620

Median hourly income in this state: $20.97

New Mexico’s minimum wage is $12. Home health and personal care aides outnumber other occupations by a wide margin in the state.

7. South Carolina

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $42,220

Median hourly income in this state: $20.30

The minimum wage in the Palmetto State is the federal minimum of $7.25, because the state does not have its own minimum wage law. Retail is the most common type of job in the state, followed by fast food.

6. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma traffic highways
Gerson Repreza / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $41,480

Median hourly income in this state: $19.94

Oklahoma’s minimum wage is $7.25 for most employees. Fast food and retail are the largest occupations in the state.

5. Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $41,350

Median hourly income in this state: $19.88

Alabama does not have a minimum wage law, so the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour applies. Retail is the most frequent type of work, followed by assembly and fabrication jobs and registered nursing.

4. Louisiana

Baton Rouge Louisiana
CrackerClips Stock Media / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $41,320

Median hourly income in this state: $19.87

Cashier is the largest occupation in Louisiana, followed by retail salespeople. Without a state minimum wage law of its own, the state uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

3. West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $39,770

Median hourly income in this state: $19.12

The minimum wage in West Virginia is $8.75. The most common profession in the state is registered nurse, followed by home health or personal care aide.

2. Arkansas

RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $39,060

Median hourly income in this state: $18.78

The minimum wage in Arkansas is $11.00. Fast food and counter workers is the most common occupation category here, followed by managers and truck drivers.

1. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Median annual income in this state: $37,500

Median hourly income in this state: $18.03

There is no state minimum wage law in Mississippi so most employers are required to pay the federal minimum rate of $7.25 per hour. The largest occupation categories are cashier and fast food and counter worker.

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