A $15 Minimum Wage is Rare in 2021

Only 33 cities have one

Yesterday, 8 Democratic or nominally Independent Senators, Joe Manchin (WV), Jon Tester (MT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Maggie Hassan (NH), Chris Coons (DE), Tom Carper (DE), and Angus King (ME), voted against a doomed amendment to the COVID relief bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.1 If you believed twitter in the hours afterwards, those eight senators, but mostly Kyrsten Sinema, stopped a policy that a majority of states have already adopted. The problem is that this is nowhere close to true. A $15 minimum wage is relative rare in 2020. There are no states that currently have a $15 minimum wage, and the only non-state first level administrative unit with one is Washington, DC.2

To show this, I mapped the minimum wage by state, county, and city.

States and local governments have been proactive in the past few years to start raising the minimum wage. These efforts have only lead to a $15 or higher minimum wage in the following cities:

  • Alameda, California

  • Belmont, California

  • Berkeley, California

  • Chicago, Illinois

  • Cupertino, California

  • Daly City, California

  • El Cerrito, California

  • Emeryville, California

  • Flagstaff, Arizona

  • Fremont, California

  • Los Altos, California

  • Los Angeles, California

  • Malibu, California

  • Menlo Park, California

  • Milpitas, California

  • Mountain View, California

  • New York, New York

  • Novato, California

  • Oakland, California.

  • Palo Alto, California

  • Pasadena, California

  • Redwood City, California

  • Richmond, California

  • San Francisco, California

  • San Jose, California

  • San Leandro, California

  • San Mateo, California

  • Santa Clara, California

  • Santa Monica, California

  • Santa Rosa, California

  • Seattle, Washington

  • Sunnyvale, California

  • Washington, District of Columbia

If you have no idea where a city is, assume that it is a small municipalities in the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles County.


It needed 60 votes to be included. If it passed it would have hung up the COVID relief bill due to the mindboggling nature of the senate reconciliation rules.


A number of states are climbing to a $15, but none have reached it yet.