Contrary to what you might think when you pickup what you consider to be a meagre paycheck at the end of the day, the US has it pretty good when it comes to a minimum wage and average wage. It isn’t the same across all states of course and it is not as easy to live off as it was 40 or so years ago, but it’s certainly better than it is in other countries.
To show you just how different it can be, here are stats on the lowest minimum wages and average wages worldwide, as well as the highest.
Country with the Lowest Minimum Wage
Not all countries have a minimum wage, including some of the world’s richest like Germany. But many do, and of these the lowest is Sierra Leone, where the minimum is $0.03 per hour, and India where you can expect a minimum of $0.28 per hour.
So, the next time you bemoan the minimum wage in the United States, spare a thought for the people living in these countries. Of course, the cost of living is much lower here as well, but not comparatively low, which is to say that while you can buy a loaf of bread in the US for less than a dollar, your $0.01 is not going to get you several loafs and change in Sierra Leone.
Country with the Highest Minimum Wage
In Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden you will find some of the best working wages in the world. They pay well and they look after their workers, which is why they are often voted as the best countries to live in. However, when it comes to the country with the highest minimum wage it is Australia that tops the bill.
If you work for a company Down Under then you can expect just under $17 an hour. Even if the US were to get the minimum wage that many protestors are striving for, it would still not surpass the minimum wage currently being paid in Australia.
Without it, the US is still fairly high on the list, ahead of Spain and Greece, but below allies Canada and the UK. France also pays its workers a lot of money and offers all kinds of benefits, but no one comes close to Australia.
State with Highest Average Wage
The wage and hour law differs from state to state, and when you look at averages then there is an even bigger swing.
Taking all occupations into account, the state with the highest average wage is Alaska. It often sits at the bottom of tables listing the best states to live in, as well as the safest ones, yet when it comes to being paid well it is at the top. The highest average wage here is just under $23 an hour, although you have to consider that Alaska has less of a broader spectrum of employees as other states do.
Massachusetts is second on the list, paying just a few cents less than Alaska on average, while Connecticut, Washington and Maryland round off the top 5, followed closely by the powerhouse states of NY, NJ and CA.