Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
Posted December 8, 2020

Top 10 cities for hourly wage workers

Find hourly work in these top-value cities that offer great minimum wages versus the cost of living.
Kai Dickerson
Community Specialist
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Top 10 cities for hourly wage workers
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Where to find hourly work in these top-value cities

Federal minimum wage remains at $7.25, but many states and local municipalities across the country have raised the wage for hourly work to offset the rising cost of living.

We researched a variety of sources looking for higher hourly wages and lower cost of living. The cities we found, listed below have a promising entry-level jobs, an above average minimum wage, and affordable 1-bedroom apartment rentals.

While there are differences in the growth rate across these industries, what they have in common is the need for hourly workers to support the business. In each city, employers hire hourly workers in the following sectors:

  • Healthcare – in-home and clinical health aides
  • Retail – grocery stores, big box stores, boutiques, warehouse support and delivery
  • Construction
  • Service Technicians (entry-level) – call center support
  • Hospitality and food service – hotels, restaurants

1. Bakersfield, California

Until recently, this Central #California town was an agricultural hub in the state’s Central Valley. Farming and food processing still reign, but solar energy and other renewable energy is growing at a quick pace. All the industries to support a growing population expect to be hiring entry-level positions for the next 10+ years.

Minimum wage in Bakersfield, #California: $13/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $738/month

2. Tucson, Arizona

This old town in the sun maintains its historical flavor while managing to keep up with its growth. The University of Arizona feeds employment to the largest employers – the university itself, defense contractor Raytheon, and the nearby US Air Force base. There are plenty of tech startups and supporting companies to keep the economy thriving.

Minimum wage in Tucson, #Arizona: $12/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $720/month

3. Fresno, California

Fresno, like Bakersfield, about 100 miles to the south, is a huge agricultural region that’s grown into a diverse economy. While locals enjoy the small-town lifestyle with a farmers market of fresh produce, film festivals, and minor league baseball, agricultural manufacturing, food distribution, business, healthcare, and education - all have become large employers in the area.

Minimum wage in Fresno, #California: $13/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $847/month

4. Toledo, Ohio

Outsiders think of Toledo as an outpost of larger nearby cities like Detroit and Cleveland. The small-town feel with cultural attractions, sports venues, and plenty of kid-friendly activities make the city a huge draw for newcomers. The economy is run largely by glass and automotive manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and education.

Minimum wage in Toledo, #Ohio: $8.70/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $596/month

5. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is a metropolis with a welcoming midwestern sensibility. Minneapolis’ economy has been built on a trio of biotech/health, manufacturing, and #retail. Each of these industries have continued to develop and grow.

Minimum wage in Minneapolis, #Minnesota: $13.25/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $911/month

6. Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is steeped in history, culture and innovation. After declaring bankruptcy in 2013, the city is currently going through a renaissance. The automotive industry is returning, small businesses are appearing downtown, and new restaurants are revitalizing the old neighborhoods. The economy is getting boosts from job growth in professional, education, construction, and health services segments.

Minimum wage in Detroit, #Michigan: $9.65/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $692/month

7. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland grew up as a powerhouse of industry and a haven for a number of immigrant groups. Today it’s a mix of traditional culture, sports venues, and educational institutions. This metro area on the banks of Lake Erie is going through a bout of growth and revitalization, driving economic growth in the construction field as the medical and IT sectors continue their booms.

Minimum wage in Cleveland, #Ohio: $8.70/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $627/month

8. Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln has all the perks of big-city living with the comforts of a small town. The capital of Nebraska and home to University of Nebraska is also the cultural center of the region with a healthy restaurant and bar scene, night life, and low cost of living. The economic outlook is good in Lincoln in public education, manufacturing, and healthcare fields.

Minimum wage in Lincoln, #Nebraska: $9.00/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $660/month

9. Phoenix, Arizona

Nicknamed the "Valley of the Sun," the Greater Phoenix area sees more sunshine than any other metro area in the country. That in and of itself is enough to entice people to lay down roots, but Arizona's capital also features a desirable combination of a thriving job market, a relatively low cost of living and plenty of ways to enjoy the nice weather.

Minimum wage in Phoenix, #Arizona: $12/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $885/month

10. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati is home to nine Fortune 500 companies, which draws top national and international talent to this little city. Economic stability and growth also are attributed to strong presence in health care, science, business, management, the arts, and a large library system.

Minimum wage in Cleveland, #Ohio: $8.70/hour
Average rent for 1-bedroom apartment: $654/month


If you’re looking to make a change in both geography and wages, consider moving to one of these top cities to find stable, hourly work. You could be on your way to your next well-paying job!

Did you find your city on this list? Would you consider moving to one of these places? Tell us in the comments below.

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