Austin clocks in as worst U.S. city for minimum-wage earners

Shortly after being named the best place to live in the United States, Austin is now at the top of a completely undesirable list – the worst place in the country for minimum wage workers.

A new list released on July 28 places Austin as the number 1 worst city for people earning the minimum wage, which in Austin is $ 7.25 an hour. High-priced cities like San Francisco (# 4), New York City (# 7), and San Jose, California (# 9) rank better than Austin, in large part because the minimum wage in these locations is at least $ 15 an hour.

With $ 7.25 an hour wages, it would take 37 hours of work per week for someone to pay the average rent of $ 1,117 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in Austin, according to, which published the list. In total, has compiled data for the 75 largest cities in the United States

The moving website points out that while Austin is often recognized as one of the best US cities for its healthy economy, vibrant nightlife and “world famous food scene”, many workers find it difficult to get by on the minimum wage nationwide set $ 7.25 an hour. Many Austin employers pay above the minimum wage, but it is still often below what a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) calculator reports as the “living wage” for an adult in the Austin metropolitan area: $ 13.01 an hour.

According to Austin Interfaith, an alliance that represents faith-based organizations, schools, nonprofits, and labor organizations, a living wage is a wage enough for a worker to support himself and his family. For years the group has been pushing for a living wage creation in Austin. Allianz says the local living wage for a single parent who has two children and has no savings is $ 21 an hour.

In 2018, Austin City Council requested a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour for employers seeking incentives for economic development in the city. At the time, David Guarino of All Saints’ Episcopal Church applauded the council for setting a “national standard for urban economic incentive programs by recognizing that people deserve the dignity of living wages from employers who receive economic incentives”.

While Austin is # 1 worst city for minimum wage workers, it’s not the only Texas city on the list. Plano in # 2 and Arlington in # 6 also appear in the bottom 10.

As in Austin, the hourly minimum wage in Plano and Arlington is $ 7.25 an hour, according to At that pay, it would take 37 hours of work per week to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Plano ($ 1,171 per month) and 33 hours of work per week to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Arlington ($ 1,024 per month) .

In Dallas-Fort Worth, the living wage for an adult is $ 12.19 an hour, the MIT calculator shows.

In 2019, the U.S. House passed bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, but the U.S. Senate has yet to act on the proposal. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is in favor of a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour – an idea that 67 percent of Americans support, according to a 2019 poll by the Pew Research Center. President Trump wavered in his support for a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour.

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