$21 an Hour Is How Much a Year? [Can You Live Off It?]

$21 an hour is much a year? This probably didn’t matter back in high school when I felt so lucky to score a part-time job making $12 an hour. Fast forward to today, priorities have changed.

If I’m bringing in $21 an hour, I want to know what this hourly wage means right from a daily basis all the way to the annual salary before and after income taxes. And I bet you do too.

Well, the shorter answer is that a 21 dollars an hour job fetches roughly $43,680 per year before income taxes. This is assuming that you work a standard full-time job clocking 40 per week.

So, is $21 per hour a good wage? Can you live off $21 dollars an hour? What jobs pay $21 an hour? This post covers everything you need to know about a $21 hourly pay, including tips to live on a $21 an hour salary and an example budget to get you started.

So, without any further ado, let’s get into the deets.

$21 an Hour Is How Much a Year?

$21 an hour is how much a year

To calculate $21 an hour is how much a year, let’s first figure out how many weeks you’d be working per year.

There are 52 weeks in a year. If you take two weeks of unpaid vacation time, you will have 50 work weeks. If, on the other hand, you are entitled to a paid vacation, you will have 52 weeks’ worth of paid time.

According to The Us Department of Labor, a full-time working week is equal to 40 hours. Anything above 40 hours should earn you overtime pay.

Notably, many companies provide paid time off for public holidays, which means that such days don’t necessarily affect your yearly salary.

With an unpaid leave, your work hours per year will be 2000 (40 hrs x 50). Simply multiply this by the hourly rate of $21 and you will get an annual gross income of $42,000.

40 hrs x 50 wks x $21 = $42,000

Assuming you work a typical 40 hours per week with paid vacation, you will have a total of 2080 work hours per year (40hrs x 52wks). When multiplied by $21 an hour, it equals an average income of $43,680 per year.

40hrs x 52wks x $21 = $43,680 annual gross income

21 Dollars an Hour Is How Much a Year After Taxes?

While $43,680 is a sizable salary per year, let’s not forget about the taxman! The amount you make after taxes and any other deductions is your take-home pay.

At $43,680, you should expect to pay 15-23% in total income taxes. This comprises Federal income tax, state tax (in some states), Medicare, Social Security, and other deductions that may apply.

Basically, the United States follows a Progressive Tax System meaning the more you make, the more you pay in taxes. The take-home pay may, however, vary from one individual to another based on your filing status, state of residence, and other applicable tax deductions or exemptions.

To give you an idea of what to expect, and for the purpose of consistency in calculations, let’s use someone who makes an hourly wage of $21 and lives in New York.

This online income tax calculator shows you will pay 20.6% of your salary in total income taxes. This amounts to $8,987, leaving you with take-home pay of $34,693.

$43,680 – $8,987(20.6% of $43,680)= $34,693 yearly take-home pay

However, the annual salary will be higher in these 9 states with no state income tax.

  1. Alaska,
  2. Florida,
  3. Nevada,
  4. New Hampshire,
  5. South Dakota,
  6. Tennessee,
  7. Texas,
  8. Washington, and
  9. Wyoming.

For example in Nevada, total income taxes will amount to 15.6% of the annual salary, leaving you with a yearly income of $36,856 after taxes.

The table below reflects how the yearly income varies with the same hourly wage

Gross Pay [$43,680]New YorkNevadaWashington
Federal Income Tax$3,482$3482$3,482
State Income Tax$1,309$0$0
Social Security$2,708$2,708$2,708
SDI(State Disability Insurance)$31.20$0$0
Family Leave Insurance$223$0$192
Total Tax$8,987$6,824$7,016
Tax Rate20.6%15.6%16.1%
Take Home Pay$34,693$36,856$36,664
Comparison of total income taxes from state to state

How Much Is 21 Dollars an Hour Monthly?

Your monthly salary will be slightly higher or lower in certain months because the number of days in months vary. So, for this, you’ll need to multiply the exact number of work hours in a month by the hourly rate of $21.

On the other hand, you can get your average monthly income by dividing your annual salary by 12.

43,680(Annual salary) / 12 months= $3,640 per month before taxes

How Much Is 21 Dollars an Hour Monthly After Taxes?

A monthly income of $3,640 attracts total tax deductions of $749.This is 20.6% of the gross pay, resulting in take-home pay of $2,891.

$3640- $749(20.6% of $3,640)= $2,891 monthly take-home pay.

How Much is $21 an Hour Bi-Weekly?

To calculate the bi-weekly salary for a $21 hourly wage, take the number of hours you worked for the two weeks, and multiply that number by $21.

With 40 hours per week, 2 weeks will total 80 hours.

40 hrs per week x 2 x $21 = $1,680 biweekly

How Much Is 21 dollars an Hour Bi-weekly After Taxes?

A biweekly salary of $1,680 attracts total income taxes amounting to $346, reflecting 20.6% of the gross pay. Your biweekly take-home pay equals $1,334.

$1,680- $346(20.6 of $1,680)= $1,334 every 2 weeks after taxes

How Much Is $21 an Hour Weekly Income?

It’s fairly straightforward to calculate how much you’d make working for $21 an hour for 40 hours a week. Simply multiply 40 hours a week by $21 for a total of $840 earnings before taxes.

40 hrs x $21 = $840 weekly income

$21 an Hour Is How Much Per Week After Taxes?

If you work 40 hours per week at $21 an hour, you will be paid $840 before taxes. A deduction of 20.6% in income taxes will leave you with take-home pay of $667.

$840-$173(20.6 of 840)= $667 per week net pay

$21 an Hour Is How Much Daily Salary?

If you work 8 hours a day (paid breaks included), you make approximately $168 per day.

8 hrs x $21= $168 daily wages pre-taxes

$168- $34.57(20.6% of $168)= $133 take-home pay

Note: Any extra time you work beyond your regular 8 hours daily should earn you more money. Usually, it will be paid at one and a half times the normal hourly wage of $21 per hour which results in $31.5 per hour.

$21 an Hour Is How Much Part-time?

If you are working 29 hours and less per week, most companies categorize you as a part-time worker. You can get your yearly salary by multiplying the number of hours worked per year by the hourly wage of $21.

Let’s use 25 hours per week as an example. When we multiply this by 52 weeks, assuming you work or get paid for every week of the year, you’ll have worked for 1300 hours. When multiplied by the hourly wage, you will have earned an annual salary of $27,300 before taxes.

25 hrs x 52wks x $21= $27,300 per year before taxes.

$21 an Hour Part-time Is How Much Yearly Salary After Taxes?

A yearly salary of $27,300 will attract a total income tax of $4,727. This is 17.3% of the gross pay.

Your part-time annual salary will, therefore, be $22,573 after taxes.

$27,300 – $4,727(17.3% of 27,300)= $22,573

$21 an hour is how much?Before TaxesAfter Taxes
$21 an hour how much a year$43,680$34,693
$21 per hour is how much monthly$3,640$2,891
$21 an hour is how much biweekly$1,680$1,334
$21 per hour is how much weekly$840$667
$21 an hour is how daily$168$133
$21 an hour is how much a year part-time$27,300$22,573
$21 an hour wages

$21 an Hour Jobs

Job TitleJob DescriptionPay Scale
Independent Delivery DriverIndependent drivers are tasked with loading, transporting, unloading, and delivering packages to clients. They are also responsible for reviewing orders to ensure everything checks out. Popular services such as DoorDash and Uber Eats allow you to choose your own work timings to deliver their products.$21.24
Garbage Truck DriverThe job entails collecting and transporting trash and waste from dumpsters and trash bins to landfills and recycling centers using trucks. They operate on specific commercial or residential routes.$20.24
Airport Security ScreenerThe job involves screening people and carry-on luggage at the airport for security reasons. The screeners use specialized methods and security equipment such as metal detectors, cameras, and canines.$14-$21
Book KeeperBookkeepers keep track of a company’s financial activities by documenting, verifying, and maintaining records. They may also be tasked with making payments, preparing invoices, and completing tax forms.$20.32
House CleanerHouse cleaning can range from the normal cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming of surfaces to laundry, ironing, and dishwashing depending on your agreement. Once you start building up a clientele, you can increase your rate or include more services to increase your hourly wages.$15-$23
$21 an Hour Jobs

Is $21 Per Hour a Good Wage?

If you’re wondering if $21 is a good wage, it really depends on your personal circumstances, the number of dependents, the living wage in the city you live in, and your lifestyle.

It’s worth noting that, $21 an hour is just below the median hourly wage in America as of the second quarter of 2022.

Nevertheless, $21 an hour or the equivalent yearly salary of $43,980 is just slightly above the median personal income in the US which is at $44,225. This means you are in the middle of what everyone else is making in America.

Can You Live Off $21 Dollars an Hour?

A $21 an hour salary makes the cut for a living wage for a single person in most states. This is, however, characterized by adherence to a strict budget and does not include extra expenses such as traveling for vacation, dining out, entertaining guests, and subscriptions.

For a family, living off a $21 hourly wage can be a tight stretch. In states with the lowest livable wage such as Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky, a family can get by off 21 dollars an hour, again, by living frugally.

To save money from a $21 an hour salary will solely depend on how well you can stretch your budget or balance between needs and wants.

Can You Buy a House Making $21 an Hour?

Depending on how well you manage your personal finance, you may be able to buy a house on a $21 an hour salary. That said, there are myriad different factors that come into play, most notably the price of the house and the amount of downpayment that you can afford.

On a $21 an hour salary, you should consider buying houses in the least expensive parts of the nation. You may need to save for some time or get money from other sources to make a down payment.

Other important factors include your credit score and debt obligations. You will need a good credit score and be able to demonstrate that you can comfortably afford the monthly mortgage payments.

Generally speaking, most mortgage lenders will consider debt obligations that are less than 37 percent of your take-home pay. In this case, they should be about $1347 (37% of 3,640). If you are spending considerably higher than this on debt every month, then buying a home on a $21 per hour salary isn’t advisable.

We can calculate a Sample Mortgage Plan by inputting a home price.

Let’s say that all the above conditions are constant and you want to buy a house worth 200,000. And you can afford a 20% down payment of 40,000. With a repayment period of 30 years, and at the current mortgage interest rate of 5.42%, you should make monthly payments of $1278.11

If you believe renting is a better alternative for you, input your gross pay into the rent calculator to see how much money you may spend on rent.

$21 an Hour: Sample Budget Planner

To create a budget you can stick to, it’s important that you focus on your net pay instead of gross pay. An average budget planner on a $21 an hour salary should look something like this.

Net Monthly Income $2891
Housing $1000
Food and Groceries $380
Utilities $200
Healthcare $150
Transport (Fuel, etc)$300
Debt repayment$400
Savings $280
Misc Expenses $180
21 Dollars an Hour Example Budget

Tips to Live on $21 per Hour Annual Salary

Here are a few key tips on how to live on a $21 an hour salary.

1. Spend Less than What you Take Home

Whether you make $21 per hour or more, it’s highly important that you spend less than what you take home to avoid drowning in a pool of debt and living paycheck to paycheck.

And keep in mind that even though you’re making $21 an hour, you’re actually taking homeless after taxes.

2. Living Practically

We are often tempted to buy new toys or a pair of newly released Jordans, but ask yourself – do you really need them and can you live without them?

When you make $21 an hour, you need to be content with being able to afford the basic necessities of life plus a bit more! If you want something that costs more, you can try saving for it or finding another way to pay for it.

Did you know that you can also sell stuff you don’t use anymore to make fast cash?

3. Move to a No-Tax State

There are several states where you don’t pay state taxes on wages such as Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Before moving though, you should be on the lookout for factors that can considerably raise your cost of living including a state’s property taxes, sales taxes, and livable wage.

4. Make More Money  

It is possible to pick a part-time job on a $21 hourly wage. But this can be stressful depending on how engaging your regular job is so many people are learning new ways to earn more money by creating passive income streams such as blogging, creating and selling products, selling photos, etc.

Other ways to make more money include picking extra shifts, working overtime, and working on holidays if your employer has such a provision.

5. Stick to a Budget

I can’t emphasize this enough, but it’s crucial that you create and stick to a monthly budget to ensure that your expenses are less than your monthly take-home income.

21 Dollars Hourly Wage: Final thoughts

At a $21 an hour wage, you will gross $43,680 and net $34,693. This calculation is based on hourly workers that reside in New York and doesn’t factor in aspects such as other filing statuses, fewer or more working hours, and other deductions and exemptions.

Your annual income can, therefore, relatively increase or decrease. Still, the figures can help you to reflect on your personal finance and make informed decisions. What do you think of a 21 dollars an hour wage? Do you think it is a good pay?

We would like to hear these and more of your comments below.

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