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2 Dallas neighbors clock in among worst U.S. cities for minimum-wage earners, says study

2 Dallas-area cities clock in among worst for minimum-wage earners

Paycheck, check
At a wage of $7.25 an hour, it would take most of the work week to cover rent.

On the heels of Plano and Arlington topping some impressive lists, they now appear on an utterly undesirable one — the country’s worst places for minimum-wage workers.

A new study published July 28 puts Plano at No. 2 and Arlington at No. 6 among the worst cities for people who earn the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour in both cities.

Austin (also with a $7.25-an-hour minimum wage) has the dubious distinction of ranking No. 1. High-cost large cities like San Francisco (No. 4), New York City (No. 7), and San Jose, California (No. 9), rank better than Austin does, in large part because the minimum wage in those places is at least $15 an hour.

At a wage of $7.25 an hour, it would require 37 hours of work each week for someone to pay the average $1,117-a-month rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Plano and 33 hours of work each week for the average $1,024 rent in Arlington. That's according to, which published the list. In all, crunched data for the 75 largest cities in the U.S.

"Plano is known for its strong economy and thriving job market, thanks in part to city officials who work hard to attract corporations to set up shop there," the website says. "However, like Austin, the city’s minimum wage is set at the federal limit, and the cost of living requires minimum-wage earners to clock a lot of hours."

Likewise, it says of Arlington, "Arlington’s minimum wage is set right at the federal limit. The good news is that the city lies right between Fort Worth and Dallas, two of Texas’s biggest cities, so residents have plenty of job prospects."

For those looking to buy a home in DFW, Arlington and Plano are still good options. A recent study by PropertyShark said Arlington was the local city where buyers can get the most space for $250,000 — 2,240 square feet; in Plano, that number was 1,657. And in a SmartAsset report of the best 25 big cities in the United States to buy an affordable family home, Arlington ranked sixth in the country and No. 1 in DFW; Plano ranked seventh locally.

In Dallas-Fort Worth, the living wage for an adult is $12.19 an hour, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) calculator.

According to Austin Interfaith, an alliance representing faith-based organizations, schools, nonprofits, and labor organizations, says a living wage is a wage that’s sufficient for a worker to support themselves and their family. For years, the group has pushed for establishment of a living wage ($21) in Texas' capital city. 

In 2019, the U.S. House passed legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, but the U.S. Senate hasn’t taken up the proposal yet. President Trump has wavered on his support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden favors a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2019, 67 percent of Americans back the idea.