Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has stalled at $7.25, or just over $15,000 annually, for full-time hours, leaving individual states to pick up the slack. While minimum wages have been rising steadily in many states and cities across the US, only a few offer salaries that meet their actual living wage.
Some employers overcome this deficit by adjusting starting wages according to region. For example, a forklift operator in San Francisco could earn a higher salary than a forklift operator in Alabama. But even with these wage adjustments, a second source of income is often needed to enjoy a comfortable and financially stable lifestyle.
Research conducted by tech experts Hostinger calculated each state’s average wages and compared them to an estimated living wage. A “living wage” includes essential household expenditures and minimal creature comfort needs.
Hostinger’s researchers determined the difference between a state’s average salaries and their estimated living wage to determine the top ten states where a side hustle is most needed.
Here are the top ten states where workers would benefit most from a side hustle or passive income:
Mississippi’s living wage is $32,573, but the average annual salary is $40,090. This creates a financial cushion of only $7,517. A steady side hustle such as freelance writing, local food delivery, or independent consulting could add thousands of dollars to the household budget.
South Carolina holds the second position on the shortlist, with a living wage of$36,338 and an average salary of $44,380. This leaves a difference of $8,042 per year, so a second source of income would help most households become more comfortable, especially in expensive coastal regions.
The state of Hawaii has long been recognized as one of the most expensive to live and work in, with an estimated living wage o$45,739 and an average salary of $54,930. The $9,191 difference may sound substantial, but the overall cost of living creates a need for additional household income.
In fourth place is Arkansas, with a relatively low living wage of $32,344 but an average salary of $42,690. The $10,346 difference becomes less of a cushion for workers who live in larger metropolitan areas.
Louisiana comes in fifth in the study, offering a living wage of $33. 592 and an average salary of $44,170. The higher paying jobs in Louisiana tend to be located in coastal regions, historically more expensive than cities further inland. A $10,378 difference can be bolstered with a steady side hustle or passive income source.
Idaho ranks sixth on the list, with a living wage of $33,613 and an average salary of $44,890. The $11,277 financial cushion does not consider the number of workers with much lower wages or the cost of living in a more rural state. A side hustle involving remote work is strongly advised.
The New England state of Maine also made the list, with an estimated living wage of $37,190 and average salaries of $48,470. This leaves only an $11,280 difference, which can make a living in working in Maine’s more prominent cities more challenging. Fortunately, there are several opportunities to earn a second income in the tourism trade.
Those who find employment in West Virginia can anticipate an annual living wage of $32,136 and an average salary of $43,420. However, the higher cost of living in one of West Virginia’s larger cities affects the real spending power of the $11,284 difference. A good side hustle earning at least $5,000 annually will considerably improve a worker’s quality of life.
Montana is the 9th state where workers may need supplemental income through side hustles or passive income. The state’s living wage is estimated at $33.946, with an average salary of $45,370. This leaves a residual wage of $11,424, representing what workers earn after subtracting essential living expenses. A steady side hustle, such as freelance writing or tutoring, can add several thousand dollars to the average household income.
Alabama rounds out the list of states where side incomes may be necessary. The calculated living wage is $33,093, with an average salary of $44,930. This represents a residual wage of $11,837, but other factors must be considered. The average salary incorporates high-paying jobs in tech fields and poverty-level unskilled labor. Finding a second source of income in more rural areas could be essential to economic survival.
Where Do The Good Side Hustles Live?
When searching for a solid second income or side hustle, it pays to search online employment sites for freelance jobs such as content writing, tutoring, records processing, or telemarketing.
These positions can be performed remotely with basic Internet service and equipment. Some apps pay participants real money for assignments such as surveys or focus groups. It’s even possible to earn income simply by walking.