How Much Is Really a ‘Living Wage’ in Every State? Can you afford to live where you are? The answer depends on two factors — your earnings and the cost of living in your area. The federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. Some states and a few cities set their minimum wages higher. The cost of living varies a great deal across the country. Even in lower-cost areas, a minimum wage job may not be enough to support a family.