These 10 Cities Have the Highest Minimum Wage in the U.S.

Learn about the cities where a fair day's wage is more than just a saying.
Updated April 11, 2024
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In many places, it can be challenging to get ahead financially when you're starting in the workforce and expecting to find a job that pays the minimum wage.

However, in some cities, the minimum wage is on the rise. Check out these 10 U.S. cities that have the highest minimum wage.

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10. El Cerrito, California

LerchMedia/Adobe el cerrito california

Minimum wage: $17.92

If you're hoping to stop living paycheck to paycheck, it might pay to relocate to California.

The state has one of the highest minimum wages at $16 an hour. But you can do even better in some California cities, such as El Cerrito.

9. San Francisco, California

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe san francisco skyline

Minimum wage: $18.07

Although California has higher minimum wages than many other states, it is important to remember that the cost of living is higher here, too.

For example, the cost of living in San Francisco is 71% higher than the national average, according to real estate website Redfin.

San Francisco was one of several cities in the Bay Area that raised its minimum wage on July 1, 2023.

8. Denver, Colorado

f11photo/Adobe denver skyline at twilight

Minimum wage: $18.29

Denver’s new minimum wage went into effect on Jan. 1. A separate minimum wage increase that impacts tipped workers now sits at $15.27 per hour.

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7. Sunnyvale, California

MichaelVi/Adobe cupertino and sunnyvale california

Minimum wage: $18.55

Sunnyvale sits in Silicon Valley, where it's expensive to live. The cost of living in this city is 125% higher than the national average, according to Redfin.

6. Emeryville, California

Matt Gush/Adobe daytime view of traffic

Minimum wage: $18.67

Emeryville is near the University of California, Berkeley campus and all its young college students.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 45% of minimum wage workers are under 25, so the increase is welcome here.

5. Mountain View, California

Lynn Yeh/Adobe castro street

Minimum wage: $18.75

Mountain View is home to Google's headquarters and its Alphabet Inc. parent company. This is another expensive place to live, so a higher minimum wage helps people to afford day-to-day costs.

4. West Hollywood, California

BEKIR/Adobe west hollywood

Minimum wage: $19.08

A high minimum wage may be enticing for would-be actors and other residents living in West Hollywood near Los Angeles.

West Hollywood is the only city in the greater Los Angeles area on this list. The five other California cities in the top 10 are all based around Silicon Valley.

3. SeaTac, Washington

Kenneth Sponsler/Adobe seattle tacoma airport

Minimum wage: $19.71

SeaTac is the city that surrounds the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It consists of 10 square miles of space that surround the airport.

You might be able to find a minimum-wage job associated with the airline industry here.

2. Seattle, Washington

CascadeCreatives/Adobe washington downtown Core

Minimum wage: $19.71

The Seattle metro is home to various company headquarters, including Starbucks, Costco, and Amazon. The city is also home to one of the highest minimum wages in the country.

According to Redfin, the cost of living in Seattle is 45% higher than the national average, so a higher minimum wage should help residents keep up with those higher costs.

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1. Tukwila, Washington

George Cole/Adobe tukwila and rainier

Minimum wage: $20.29

The Seattle area is also home to the city with the highest minimum wage in the country:Tukwila offers a minimum wage of $20.29. That makes it the only city with a minimum wage of more than $20.

Given the high cost of living in the region, it’s unlikely you will be able to retire early on that minimum wage. But it should help your dollars stretch further.

Bottom line

pikselstock/Adobe using digital tablet

Living in a city with a high minimum wage can be a good option if you’re trying to build wealth.

So, weigh a higher minimum wage against the costs of living in the cities on this list and see if one of these places would make a good new home for you.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and

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