Map Reveals What Is Considered a Living Wage In Each State

Picture this. You apply for a job in a state different than the one where you’re currently living. You go to an interview and get a job offer. That’s great! Congratulations! But wait, is the salary enough? Maybe it’s more than you’re making now, but it’s possible that the cost of living in this other state might be a lot more expensive. On the other hand, it could be less expensive to live in this other state. It just depends.

In order to make it easy to understand how much it really costs to live in one state versus another state, the website Zippia has created an easy to understand map that shows just how much it actually costs to live in each state. The data was calculated based on two adults and one child living in one household, but it would obviously cost more with more children and potentially less if you’re single and living on your own. Regardless of how many people live in your household, this map clearly shows that which states require a higher living wage than others.

The color coding on the map makes it easy to see a pattern of which parts of the country tend to have a higher living wage. The darker the color, the higher the living wage.

New England and Hawaii are generally the most expensive while the south and midwest are less expensive. The west coast and mountain states are somewhere in the middle. Yet, it really depends on which specific state you’re talking about.

The most expensive state to live in isn’t officially a state at all. We’re talking about Washington D.C. The living wage there is $67,867. Meanwhile, the next most expensive state is about as far away as possible. You need an annual income of $60,700 to afford to live in Hawaii.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the least expensive state to live in is Kentucky, where the living wage is only $$43,308. Second to least expensive is Arkansas where $44,571 will suffice.

Zippia compiled this data using MIT’s Living Wage calculator. These living wage estimates do not account for a luxurious lifestyle. Instead, consider it more of a minimum in order to cover a family’s needs like housing, food expenses, taxes, childcare, transportation and other basic needs.

Are you surprised by the annual living wage in your state? Why do you think some states are more expensive than others? Does this map make you want to move somewhere with a lower cost of living? If so, which state?