Underpaid States and Countries

Overview

Underpaid States and Countries

Which states’ and nations’ workers are paid the least per hour?

When searching for somewhere to move for work, a number of factors have to be considered, such as job opportunities, benefits, and most importantly, fair wages. It is this last point that can fluctuate massively depending on where in the world you live. 

Some areas not only pay far more than others but also don’t require their workers to work as many hours. We have done a deep dive into the number of hours worked by people in different countries around the world and US states to bring you the places where workers work the least.

Furthermore, by zooming in on the average wages for the same areas, we have also identified the highest paying states and countries. A side-by-side comparison of these two metrics has shown us which states and countries pay workers the most, and where workers are being underpaid.

USA

The states with the lowest paid workers, per hour worked

1 – Mississippi

Average Annual Working Time: 2,043 hours and 36 minutes

Average Annual Earnings: $44,129

Average Hourly Earnings: $20.62

Workers in Mississippi are the worst rewarded for their efforts. Hourly pay in that state is as little as $20.62, $7.71 below the national average. The average of 39.3 hours per week (2,043.6 hours per year) is the tenth highest in the country. Meanwhile, the average annual wage in the state is the lowest anywhere at $42,129.

2 – West Virginia

Average Annual Working Time: 2,043 hours and 36 minutes

Average Annual Earnings: $44,994

Average Hourly Earnings: $22.02

West Virginians actually work the same average hours as their fellow Americans in Mississippi, however, their wages are slightly higher. Unfortunately, West Virginians are underpaid massively compared to those in the rest of the country.

3 – Alabama

Average Annual Working Time: 2,038 hours and 24 minutes

Average Annual Earnings: $46,479

Average Hourly Earnings: $22.8

On average, workers in Alabama only work for 0.1 of an hour a week less than those in the two worst-performing states, however, over a year this stretches to over 5 hours difference. Additionally, wages are higher in Alabama, and consequently, they earn $0.78 more an hour than those in West Virginia. Unfortunately, this is still over $5 less than the average.

The states with the highest paid workers per hour worked

1 – Connecticut 

Average Annual Working Time: 1,970 hours and 48 minutes

Average Annual Earnings: $78,609

Average Hourly Earnings: $39.89

Connecticut is one of the smallest states in the US, but they are one of the largest in terms of average hourly wages. Workers take home almost $40. That is over $11 higher than the national average, and almost double what is earned in Mississippi. 

2 – Massachusetts 

Average Annual Working Time: 1,976 hours

Average Annual Earnings: $78,458

Average Hourly Earnings: $39.71

Massachusetts is located close to Connecticut, and they are also close to them in the rankings. There is only $0.18 less earned in the Bay State, with average wages at $39.71. On average people in Massachusetts work just over 5 hours more than those in Connecticut, and have a slightly lower average annual wage. 

3 – New York

Average Annual Working Time: 1986 hours and 24 minutes

Average Annual Earnings: $74,472

Average Hourly Earnings: $37.49

Another northeastern state completes the top three most rewarding states for workers. In New York, people earn $37.49 on average. Although this is over two dollars fewer an hour than those in Connecticut and Massachusetts earn, it is still far above the average and comfortably higher than New Jersey, which ranks fourth. 

Global

The countries where workers earn the lowest amount per hours worked

1 – Mexico

Average Annual Working Time: 2,124 hours

Average Annual Earnings: $16,230

Average Hourly Earnings: $7.64

Mexico is by far the country where workers earn the least. Although the cost of living is lower in the Central American country than in the USA, workers there still earn an incredibly low amount per hour on average. Wages are under $8 per hour, which is over $20 less than the global average. 

2 – Chile

Average Annual Working Time: 1825 hours and 18 minutes

Average Annual Earnings: $26,729

Average Hourly Earnings: $14.64

Despite having average hourly wages that are almost double that of those in Mexico, Chilean workers are the second-worst paid in the world. The average hours worked per year in the South American country is 1825.3, compared to an average annual wage of $26,729.

3 – Slovakia

Average Annual Working Time: 1,572 hours

Average Annual Earnings: $23,619

Average Hourly Earnings: $15.02

Slovakia is the European nation with the lowest earnings per hour worked, and the third-worst of all the countries studied globally. The average annual wage in Slovakia is over $3,000 lower than in Chile, however, their average annual hours worked are only 1,572. Consequently, Slovakians earn just over $15 per hour on average.  

The countries where workers earn the highest amount per hours worked

1 – Iceland

Average Annual Working Time: 1,435 hours

Average Annual Earnings: $67,488

Average Hourly Earnings: $47.03

At the other end of the spectrum, Icelandic workers are paid the most per hour worked. On average, they earn just over $47 per hour, this is almost $20 more than the average wage across all the countries. Despite only having the tenth lowest average hours worked, they have by far the highest wages. 

2 – Luxembourg

Average Annual Working Time: 1,427 hours

Average Annual Earnings: $65,854

Average Hourly Earnings: $46.15

Luxembourg is one of the smallest, yet one of the richest nations in the world. As a result, their workers earn the second-highest amount per hour. At under a dollar less than Icelandic wages, they are very nearly number one. On average workers in Luxembourg work eight hours less than those in Iceland, however, they earn around $2,000 less per year.

3 – Denmark

Average Annual Working Time: 1,346 hours

Average Annual Earnings: $58,430

Average Hourly Earnings: $43.41

The third highest country in terms of average earnings per hour is Denmark, Danes earn $43.41 per hour on average, this is over $15 higher than the global average. Moreover, it is over $10 per hour higher than their neighbor, Sweden. 

Methodology 

USA

Average number of hours per week was sourced from the US census.

This was multiplied by 52 to find the hours worked per year.

Average annual income was sourced from BEA.

The average wage was divided by hours worked to find the average hourly income. 

Global

OECD countries were selected for their comparable data, some with incomplete wage data were then removed to leave 35 countries. 

Average annual hours worked were sourced from OECD stats.

Average annual wages were also sourced from OECD stats.

The average wage was divided by hours worked to find the average hourly income. 

Lensa Insights
Lensa Insights
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