While delivery drivers in New York, Hawaii, and Vermont often find themselves running on empty, those in North Dakota, Montana, and Kansas are saving thousands despite America’s stalling economy.
The freedom to work as much — or as little — as you want, and tailor your hours around your social life, studies, or additional employment without your boss breathing down your neck. It’s no wonder that there’s a growing interest in delivery sector careers with Google searches for “UberEats food delivery driver” and “DoorDash delivery driver requirements” having grown by a staggering 350% and 120% respectively in the US.
But rather than a better work-life balance, the driving force behind this spike is the recent economic downturn. With more than 575,000 jobs having been lost in 2023 and counting, those affected have sought a new source of income in the delivery space. And even for those unaffected by layoffs, the rising cost of living has forced many to pick up supplementary work to get by, with nearly 70% of Americans having found themselves searching for extra work.
But is it possible to survive on a courier’s salary alone during times of economic hardship? Whizz has conducted research to determine the best and worst states for those turning to delivery gigs in search of a route on to the road towards financial recovery.
Despite current economic conditions, not every delivery driver finds themselves stuck in the slow lane when it comes to money. In fact, those in states such as North Dakota, Kansas and Wyoming finish their shifts with full pockets — even after covering all of their monthly costs.
It’s rent prices that really enable drivers in these states to accelerate their savings, with a one bedroom rental in Fargo, Wichita, and Little Rock costing less than a third of the price for comparable accommodation in the United States’ most popular cities — so couriers can return home after a long shift without next month’s bills looming over them.
New York ranks as one of the best places for earning potential, yet astronomical rent costs present a huge financial roadblock for delivery drivers in the state. In fact, with an average cost of living totaling almost $3,500, New York is the only state where couriers regularly find their pockets empty at the end of the month. Then there’s the cost of transportation, repairs and maintenance to cover — but thankfully, affordable delivery bike rental subscriptions that offer free maintenance and repairs are taking some of the weight off delivery drivers’ shoulders.
As well as New York, those in Hawaii and Vermont also face navigating economic challenges with the cost of groceries and utilities surpassing the national average, leading to a higher overall cost of living. Hawaii’s location means it must import most goods for afar, while Vermont’s heavy dependence on tourism results in elevated prices, leaving delivery sector workers in these states in a jam when it comes to covering their expenses.
While some states are cheaper to live in than others, relocating costs thousands and is an immense source of stress at a time when many are already experiencing mental anguish due to the economy. It simply isn’t an option for the struggling delivery driver.
But the cost of accommodation, groceries, and utilities quickly adds up. Then there’s transportation and maintenance, which isn’t cheap either. Thankfully, the growing number of e-bikes for rent is reducing costs for the gig worker, but there are still plenty of potholes to navigate. That’s why we encourage generous tipping as a show of support for these key workers. In addition, small gestures such as offering water and snacks can go a long way in showing gratitude for their service. Come rain or shine, they work long hours to deliver our orders promptly — It’s hard work that doesn’t warrant being stuck on empty financially.
To create this study, Whizz — which offers a subscription-based ebike rental in NYC — analyzed the average earnings of delivery drivers in each US state, as well as the average monthly cost of living. This included factors such as the average rent on a one bedroom apartment outside of the city center in each state’s most populated city, average spending on groceries, average utility costs, and taxes for gig workers. Using this data, Whizz calculated the average amount that a delivery worker in each state has left over each month.
|State||Average Salary, $/mo||Expenses on Rent, $/mo||Cost of Groceries Per Person, $/mo||Utility Costs $||Taxes %||Income After Taxes $||Average Cost of Living, $/mo||Potential Savings|
|Alaska||3445||Anchorage||1 207,00||483,24||569,64||15,3||2917,92||2 259,88||658,04|
|Arizona||3556||Phoenix||1 472,14||302,8||460,85||15,3||3011,93||2 235,79||776,14|
|Arkansas||3185||Little Rock||775,00||282,46||404,19||15,3||2697,70||1 461,65||1236,05|
|California||3900||Los Angeles||2 105,00||370,96||437,92||15,3||3303,30||2 913,88||389,42|
|Colorado||3637||Denver||1 611,20||326,92||371,96||15,3||3080,54||2 310,08||770,46|
|Connecticut||3714||Bridgeport||1 233,00||343,3||532,71||15,3||3145,76||2 109,01||1036,75|
|Delaware||3424||Wilmington||1 700,00||380,39||435,85||15,3||2900,13||2 516,24||383,89|
|Florida||3410||Jacksonville||1 244,00||364,25||458,4||15,3||2888,27||2 066,65||821,62|
|Georgia||3343||Atlanta||1 511,73||397,97||474,86||15,3||2831,52||2 384,56||446,96|
|Hawaii||3600||Honolulu||1 771,67||556,76||563,53||15,3||3049,20||2 891,96||157,24|
|Idaho||3503||Boise||1 402,73||281,12||367,87||15,3||2967,04||2 051,72||915,32|
|Illinois||3600||Chicago||1 483,00||327,31||412,36||15,3||3049,20||2 222,67||826,53|
|Indiana||3376||Indianapolis||1 075,40||318,03||469,51||15,3||2859,47||1 862,94||996,53|
|Iowa||3465||Des Moines||916,00||347,05||423,88||15,3||2934,86||1 686,93||1247,93|
|Louisiana||3178||New Orleans||1 071,00||325,19||389,62||15,3||2691,77||1 785,81||905,96|
|Maine||3556||Portland||1 500,00||372,21||432,94||15,3||3011,93||2 305,15||706,78|
|Maryland||3633||Baltimore||1 280,00||343,67||449,87||15,3||3077,15||2 073,54||1003,61|
|Massachusetts||4015||Boston||2 033,06||406,21||440,37||15,3||3400,71||2 879,64||521,07|
|Minnesota||3650||Minneapolis||1 128,00||395,39||380,76||15,3||3091,55||1 904,15||1187,40|
|Missouri||3418||Kansas City||1 091,00||312,63||447,05||15,3||2895,05||1 850,68||1044,37|
|Nebraska||3393||Omaha||1 031,00||336,9||379,34||15,3||2873,87||1 747,24||1126,63|
|Nevada||3493||Las Vegas||1 343,00||293,43||376,67||15,3||2958,57||2 013,10||945,47|
|New Hampshire||3667||Manchester||1 316,67||183||434,24||15,3||3105,95||1 933,91||1172,04|
|New Jersey||3758||Newark||1 500,00||343,67||453,89||15,3||3183,03||2 297,56||885,47|
|New Mexico||3280||Albuquerque||1 194,00||307,79||362,81||15,3||2778,16||1 864,60||913,56|
|New York||3952||New York City||2 567,23||482,87||433,7||15,3||3347,34||3 483,80||-136,46|
|North Carolina||3320||Charlotte||1 646,00||341,1||400,43||15,3||2812,04||2 387,53||424,51|
|North Dakota||3471||Fargo||737,00||326,66||396,93||15,3||2939,94||1 460,59||1479,35|
|Ohio||3312||Columbus||1 091,06||341,48||472,71||15,3||2805,26||1 905,25||900,01|
|Oklahoma||3245||Oklahoma City||1 155,00||346,37||407,69||15,3||2748,52||1 909,06||839,46|
|Oregon||3683||Portland||1 469,00||375,41||407,49||15,3||3119,50||2 251,90||867,60|
|Pennsylvania||3530||Philadelphia||1 304,00||401,02||443,11||15,3||2989,91||2 148,13||841,78|
|Rhode Island||3648||Providence||1 166,67||390,19||439,65||15,3||3089,86||1 996,51||1093,35|
|South Carolina||3261||Charleston||750,00||411,29||453,4||15,3||2762,07||1 614,69||1147,38|
|South Dakota||3312||Sioux Falls||816,00||286,23||408,75||15,3||2805,26||1 510,98||1294,28|
|Tennessee||3215||Nashville||1 557,00||346,37||431,48||15,3||2723,11||2 334,85||388,26|
|Texas||3319||Houston||1 239,00||286,64||423,9||15,3||2811,19||1 949,54||861,65|
|Utah||3461||Salt Lake City||1 296,43||282,23||345,62||15,3||2931,47||1 924,28||1007,19|
|Vermont||3501||Burlington||1 766,00||497,41||405,74||15,3||2965,35||2 669,15||296,20|
|Virginia||3435||Virginia Beach||1 440,00||298,01||430,17||15,3||2909,45||2 168,18||741,27|
|Washington||3845||Seattle||1 939,00||402,08||401,2||15,3||3256,72||2 742,28||514,44|
|West Virginia||3222||Charleston||750,00||427,19||486,11||15,3||2729,03||1 663,30||1065,73|
|Wisconsin||3429||Milwaukee||1 048,00||385,97||395,68||15,3||2904,36||1 829,65||1074,71|
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