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The Eight States With The Highest Minimum Wages

8. California
> Minimum wage: $8.00
> Pct. of workers in unions: 17.5% (5th highest)
> Cost of living: 6th highest
> Median household income: $54,459 (14th highest)

On January 1, 2008, California’s minimum wage increased to $8.00, up from $7.50 the previous year. Ten years prior, in 1998, the state’s minimum wage was just $5.15. A bill has been proposed in the state legislature, which would not only raise the minimum wage to $8.50, but would implement automatic increases each year, based on the state’s consumer price index. According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, California has the sixth highest cost of living in the country.

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7. Massachusetts
> Minimum wage: $8.00
> Pct. of workers in unions: 14.5% (16th highest)
> Cost of living: 2nd highest
> Median household income: $61,333 (5th highest)

Massachusetts has had a minimum wage of $8.00 since 2008. In March, legislation was introduced to increase the minimum wage to $10.00 by 2013, and the status of that bill is unclear. According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the state is has one of the highest costs of living in the country. Massachusetts also has the fifth highest median household income in the country.

6. Vermont
> Minimum wage: $8.15
> Pct. of workers in unions: 11.8% (20th highest)
> Cost of living: 9th highest
> Median household income: $55,942 (12th highest)

“Vermont’s minimum wage increases at the same rate as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the preceding year,” the state’s Department of Labor announced. Most recently, on January 1, 2011 this resulted in an increase of 1.1% from $8.06 per hour to $8.15 per hour. Vermont has historically had a high minimum wage, although a decade ago, in 2001, it was almost two dollars less, at $6.25. The state is expected to announce a rate increase in the next few weeks.

5. Connecticut
> Minimum wage: $8.25
> Pct. of workers in unions: 16.7% (7th highest)
> Cost of living: 3rd highest
> Median household income: $66,452 (2nd highest)

With a median household income of $66,452 in 2010, Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the country. The state’s minimum wage of $8.25 is among the top five highest minimum wages in the country. In 2006, when the federal minimum wage was still just $5.15, Connecticut increased its to $7.40, which was at the time the third highest minimum wage in the country.