San Francisco's minimum wage is now $15 an hour — here's how that stacks up to other major cities

Getty ImagesA pedestrian walks by a McDonald’s restaurant on January 30, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

San Francisco has raised its minimum wage from $US14 to $US15 an hour, largely as a response to out-of-control housing prices. The law went into effect on on July 1.

An hourly wage of $US15 is more than twice the federal rate of $US7.25, but it’s still not enough to live in San Francisco comfortably, according to an SFGate analysis of data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. With a minimum-wage job, the numbers suggest, San Franciscans still need to work 160 hours per week to rent a two-bedroom home.

Minimum wage levels differ by city, but many activist groups in other metros are pushing for their own bumps to $US15 per hour.

The Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit think-tank, has compiled a list of minimum wages in cities across the US. In some areas, workers who receive tips can make as little as $US2.13 an hour.

Many cities follow state or federal minimum wage standards – even though the cost of living tends to be higher in urban areas than the rest of the state or country. In a process called indexing, some metros will soon begin adjusting minimum wage levels annually to account for inflation (based on the state or metro area’s Consumer Price Index). Just six states currently have mandatory indexed increases, though several more have legislation in the works.

Take a look below at the minimum wage in 13 major US cities – the list is ordered based on each city’s median rental cost for all housing types.


Detroit — $US9.25 an hour

Minimum wage:$US9.25 an hour

Tipped wage:$US3.52 an hour

Upcoming increases:Statewide annual indexing will begin in April 2019, unless the unemployment rate is high. The hourly wage will rise to $US10 in 2019, $US10.65 in 2020, $US11.35 in 2021, and $US12 in 2022. Yearly inflationary adjustments could follow based on Michigan’s Consumer Price Index. Under another proposal pending approval, tipped employees would be paid full minimum wage on top of their tips by 2024.

Median rental housing price:$US800 per month

Note: Every city in Michigan follows state minimum wage standards.


Louisville — $US7.25 an hour

Minimum wage:$US7.25 an hour

Tipped wage:$US2.13 an hour

Upcoming increases: None

Median rental housing price:$US1,195 per month

Note: Every city in Kentucky follows federal minimum wage standards. In 2016, the state ruled that cities do not have the authority to raise the minimum wage.


Iowa City — $US7.25 an hour

Minimum wage:$US7.25 an hour

Tipped wage:$US4.35 an hour

Upcoming increases: Annual indexing will begin in January 2021.

Median rental housing price:$US1,325 per month

Most cities in Iowa follow federal minimum wage standards. In 2017, the state’s former governor Terry Branstad signed a bill that limited the minimum wage in Johnson County (where Iowa City is located) to $US7.25 – before a proposed $US10.10 raise could take effect there.


Los Angeles — $US13.25 an hour

Minimum wage: $US13.25 an hour

Tipped wage: $US13.25 an hour

Upcoming increases: The minimum wage will increase to $US14.25 an hour starting in July 2019, then rise to $US15 an hour in July 2021. Annual indexing is slated to begin in July 2022, based on LA County’s Consumer Price Index.

Median rental housing price: $US1,360 per month


Phoenix — $US10.50 an hour

Minimum wage: $US7.25 an hour

Tipped wage: $US2.13 an hour

Upcoming increases: None

Median rental housing price:$US1,395 per month

Note: Every city in Arizona except Flagstaff follows state minimum wage standards.


Baltimore — $US10.10 an hour

Minimum wage: $US10.10 an hour

Tipped wage:$US3.63 an hour

Upcoming increases: None

Median rental housing price:$US1,400 per month

Note: Most cities in Maryland follow state minimum wage standards.


Philadelphia — $US7.25 an hour

Getty ImagesPhiladelphia airport workers demonstrate for higher wages on July 19, 2016.

Minimum wage: $US7.25 an hour

Tipped wage: $US2.83 an hour

Upcoming increases: None

Median rental housing price:$US1,550 per month

Note: Every city in Pennsylvania follows federal minimum wage standards.


Houston — $US7.25 an hour

Getty ImagesAttorney Gloria Allred holds a t-shirt that reads ‘$US7.25’ as she arrives for a press conference about the low pay and treatment of former Houston Texans cheerleaders, outside the headquarters of the NFL on June 4, 2018 in New York City.

Minimum wage: $US7.25 an hour

Tipped wage: $US2.13 an hour

Upcoming increases: None

Median rental housing price:$US1,550 per month

Note: Every city in Texas follows federal minimum wage standards.


Chicago — $US12 an hour

Getty ImagesDemonstrators in Chicago demand an increase in the minimum wage to $US15 per hour on April 14, 2017.

Minimum wage: $US12 an hour

Tipped wage: $US6.25 an hour

Upcoming increases: Minimum wage will increase to $US13 an hour starting in July 2019. Annual indexing will begin in July 2020, with the hourly wage raising to $US13.63 and the tipped wage to $US6.53 in Chicago based on the metro area’s Consumer Price Index.

Median rental housing price:$US1,800 per month


Denver — $US10.20 an hour

Minimum wage: $US10.20 an hour

Tipped wage:$US7.18 an hour

Upcoming increases: The minimum wage will go up to $US11.10 per hour starting in January 2019, then rise again to $US12 an hour in January 2020. Annual indexing will begin in January 2021, based on Colorado’s Consumer Price Index.

Median rental housing price:$US2,195 per month

Note: Every city in Colorado follows state minimum wage standards.


Miami — $US8.25 an hour

Getty ImagesProtesters for the raising of the minimum wage and against the nomination of Andrew Puzder as President Trump’s Secretary of Labour gather at a McDonald’s restaurant on February 13, 2017 in Miami, Florida.

Minimum wage: $US8.25 an hour

Tipped wage:$US5.23 an hour

Upcoming increases: None

Median rental housing price:$US2,450 per month

Note: Every city in Florida follows state minimum wage standards.


Washington, DC — $US13.25 an hour

Getty ImagesDemonstrators march to call for higher wages for government contract workers on Nov. 10, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Minimum wage:$US13.25 an hour

Tipped wage:$US3.89 an hour

Upcoming increases: Minimum wage will go up to $US14 per hour in July 2019, then to $US15 per hour in July 2020. Annual indexing will begin in July 2021, based on the DC metro area’s Consumer Price Index.

Median rental housing price:$US2,650 per month


New York City — $US13 an hour

Minimum wage: $US13 an hour

Tipped wage: $US8.65 an hour

Upcoming increases: Minimum wage will go up to $US15 an hour starting in January 2019.

Median rental housing price:$US2,900 per month

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