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Here's how much delivery drivers make in every state

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December 3, 2021
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Here's how much delivery drivers make in every state

Working as a delivery driver can take many forms. Those who prefer rural areas can choose to work picking up crops from farms and taking them to markets around their states and beyond their borders. Drivers who live in the suburbs can work for a delivery service that primarily delivers packages to companies and people’s homes. And those who live in dense urban environments may wish to consider working in food delivery, bringing food from restaurants to people’s homes and offices.

Regardless of what type of deliveries drivers make, wages for their work will vary widely across the United States. However, as of mid-2021, a severe shortage of drivers—particularly in trucking—is causing supply chain issues across the country, and workers may be able to see an increase in wages due to the tightened supply of their labor.

Circuit used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to rank the highest-paying states for delivery drivers by estimated average annual wages, also including the statistics for the total estimated employment of drivers in the state. Data was taken from three specific occupations as categorized by BLS: driver/sales workers, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, and light truck drivers. Data for Delaware’s employment doesn’t include an estimate for driver/sales workers. There are 3,162,630 Americans employed in delivery nationally, with an average hourly wage of $19.08, and an average annual wage of $39,689.

Click through for a look at how much delivery drivers make in all 50 states and Washington D.C., and what kinds of deliveries they might make in each.

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#51. Mississippi

- Average annual wage: $35,653
- Average hourly wage: $17.14
- Total employment: 34,200

Although Mississippi doesn’t have megacities where customers of food delivery might congregate, the state does have a robust trucking industry. Truck drivers can routinely see jobs with an annual salary that far outpaces the average annual wage, with some going up to $100,000 a year.

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#50. South Carolina

- Average annual wage: $35,833
- Average hourly wage: $17.23
- Total employment: 46,020

From Charleston’s historic district to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a prime tourist destination. After visiting the South Carolina State Museum or Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, delivery drivers will be at the ready to bring food to travelers and residents alike after a long, fun-filled day.

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#49. Florida

- Average annual wage: $36,323
- Average hourly wage: $17.47
- Total employment: 172,780

With its abundance of beaches, from the cerulean sights of the Keys to the surfer-friendly Space Coast, Florida is another hot spot for tourists. The Sunshine State even has beach butlers to deliver food or drink to the spring breakers flocking to the Florida coastline each year.

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#48. North Carolina

- Average annual wage: $36,487
- Average hourly wage: $17.54
- Total employment: 105,650

The logging and sawmill industries are both dominant in North Carolina. The pandemic has seen a shortage of truck drivers in these industries, which may be pushing up wages.

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#47. West Virginia

- Average annual wage: $37,223
- Average hourly wage: $17.90
- Total employment: 17,280

Although trucking is a popular occupation in West Virginia, there is also a high number of accidents. Hours of Service regulations, which stipulate how long truckers may drive without taking a rest, are routinely violated, according to lawyers in the state. This drives down the effective hourly wage of a salary when broken down per hour.

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#46. Alabama

- Average annual wage: $37,237
- Average hourly wage: $17.90
- Total employment: 49,780

Delivery drivers will soon have some new goods to transport to Alabamians in need of beer, wine, and spirits on demand. Legislation was just passed in the state allowing for the delivery of alcohol, which previously had been prohibited.

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#45. Arkansas

- Average annual wage: $37,247
- Average hourly wage: $17.91
- Total employment: 47,270

Delivery drivers in Arkansas are about to get some unexpected competition. Walmart has begun using self-driving trucks to make driverless deliveries within the state to transport groceries and other goods to your neighborhood.

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#44. Louisiana

- Average annual wage: $37,513
- Average hourly wage: $18.04
- Total employment: 40,800

Although Louisiana has plenty of rural territories, the city of New Orleans gives plenty of opportunities for food delivery drivers. The city’s reputation as a party spot means that many deliveries may be initiated even late into the evening.

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#43. South Dakota

- Average annual wage: $37,833
- Average hourly wage: $18.19
- Total employment: 11,540

Robot food delivery is coming to South Dakota. South Dakota State University has implemented a robotic delivery service on its campus, which is in part an effort to save humans the effort of trekking through the state’s snow and cold to get their food in the winter.

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#42. Iowa

- Average annual wage: $37,913
- Average hourly wage: $18.23
- Total employment: 52,550

A recent lawsuit affecting delivery drivers was initiated in Iowa. Drivers allege that Domino’s Pizza in the state was shortchanging them on mileage reimbursement, effectively paying those workers only 35 cents per hour.

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#41. Idaho

- Average annual wage: $38,010
- Average hourly wage: $18.27
- Total employment: 20,630

Home delivery of groceries is a rising trend in Idaho. Companies in the state recently opened two warehouses to meet rising demand, which will also help food delivery drivers in the state.

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#40. Ohio

- Average annual wage: $38,137
- Average hourly wage: $18.33
- Total employment: 136,170

To deal with a shortage of delivery drivers in Ohio, some food delivery operations are taking extreme measures. The grocery chain Kroeger has recently opened a mega warehouse in the state, where robots get customers their food.

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#39. New Mexico

- Average annual wage: $38,207
- Average hourly wage: $18.37
- Total employment: 17,490

Although New Mexico is full of deserts, the state has two urban centers that might attract more food delivery customers. The capital of Albuquerque is bustling and full of residents who might order in to their work offices or homes, and the town of Santa Fe is full of wealthy residents, with many who might not think twice before ordering food delivery.

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#38. Delaware

- Average annual wage: $38,373
- Average hourly wage: $18.45
- Total employment: 7,480

An unexpected source put out a request for delivery drivers in 2021. The state’s flagship newspaper, the Delaware News Journal, posted a help wanted ad for drivers in its very own pages in response to a shortage.

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#37. Nebraska

- Average annual wage: $38,520
- Average hourly wage: $18.52
- Total employment: 34,470

Supply chain issues are hitting Nebraska’s delivery industry hard. In addition to a reduction in meal options and menu choices in many of the state’s school districts, Nebraska is also facing widespread staff shortages, which may contribute to the willingness of some employers to raise wages for drivers.

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#36. Wisconsin

- Average annual wage: $38,660
- Average hourly wage: $18.59
- Total employment: 73,430

In Wisconsin, famous for its cheese, some dairy farms are so devoted to their artisanal dairy goods and customers that they have even started cheese delivery services. Drivers can now deliver gouda, cheddar, and more to the homes of happy customers.

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#35. Missouri

- Average annual wage: $38,823
- Average hourly wage: $18.67
- Total employment: 70,550

Drivers in farm-rich Missouri often deliver farmed goods to school districts for student lunches. A current shortage of drivers has left some school districts unprepared to serve their students, and left the state scrambling to fill open delivery driver spots.

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#34. Tennessee

- Average annual wage: $38,967
- Average hourly wage: $18.74
- Total employment: 93,660

Although much of Tennessee is rural, the booming city of Nashville provides a golden opportunity for food delivery drivers. The city has some of the most lauded restaurants in the country, giving couriers the option to deliver food from plenty of Michelin star restaurants to the city’s country music stars and other residents.

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#33. Kansas

- Average annual wage: $39,007
- Average hourly wage: $18.75
- Total employment: 31,500

Right in the middle of the country, Kansas is a waypoint for truck drivers traveling across the country. Flat and largely rural, the state has numerous corn and other farms that may require truck drivers to transport their wares within and out of the state.

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#32. New Hampshire

- Average annual wage: $39,087
- Average hourly wage: $18.79
- Total employment: 12,680

New Hampshire is stepping up in a big way to support the delivery driving industry right now. The state’s governor recently announced that the state will spend $4.6 million to support commercial logistics and operations throughout the course of the winter to combat an anticipated shortage.

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#31. Georgia

- Average annual wage: $39,100
- Average hourly wage: $18.80
- Total employment: 108,670

Georgia may be full of farms and wilderness, but it’s also home to a major city full of restaurants, grocery stores, and demand for delivery. Atlanta is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and full of consumers looking to order their food on any given day or night.

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#30. Maine

- Average annual wage: $39,100
- Average hourly wage: $18.80
- Total employment: 14,950

Delivery drivers in Maine have recently sued and won a judgment against food behemoth Flower Foods. The drivers alleged that the company violated their rights under a labor act and were ultimately awarded a $9 million settlement.

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#29. Kentucky

- Average annual wage: $39,200
- Average hourly wage: $18.85
- Total employment: 48,000

Kentucky is famous for bourbon. This means that each distillery needs a fleet of delivery drivers to take its goods out to the state, the country, and the rest of the world once produced, creating opportunities at every level of the supply chain.

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#28. Indiana

- Average annual wage: $39,520
- Average hourly wage: $19.0
- Total employment: 78,220

One restaurant in Indiana pays its workers up to $88,000 a year. The company is able to do so in part because it takes care not to oversaturate its pool of drivers, saying that the happiness of its drivers and making sure they are earning enough is key to their business model.

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#27. Pennsylvania

- Average annual wage: $39,840
- Average hourly wage: $19.16
- Total employment: 134,820

Pennsylvania has something for every type of delivery driver. Rural areas allow truckers to bring farm goods to market, while suburbs allow delivery truck drivers to bring packages from urban centers, and urban centers like Philadelphia provide a prime market for restaurant delivery.

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#26. Arizona

- Average annual wage: $39,957
- Average hourly wage: $19.21
- Total employment: 56,890

The suburban nature of Arizona has given rise to competition for delivery drivers in the state. Due to the lack of density compared to places like Manhattan, self-driving delivery vehicles have been piloted in the state and may become standard.

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#25. Nevada

- Average annual wage: $40,180
- Average hourly wage: $19.32
- Total employment: 21,060

Nevada food delivery drivers in Las Vegas should never be short of customers to service, as the city is famous for its partying and gambling attractions. So it’s highly likely delivery drivers will likely have their pick of customers looking to order catering for their day-long pool parties on the Strip.

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#24. Texas

- Average annual wage: $40,237
- Average hourly wage: $19.34
- Total employment: 314,620

Delivery drivers in Texas are currently facing a state-specific problem—gas prices. They are usually high in Texas, and this means that drivers are likely having more expenses taken from their earnings, which lowers their profit margins.

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#23. Utah

- Average annual wage: $40,307
- Average hourly wage: $19.38
- Total employment: 35,760

Utah’s food delivery drivers are currently facing a predicament related to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the state ended its mask mandate in August 2021, many drivers said they were unsure of how to protect themselves from potentially sick customers, and some drivers have quit in response.

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#22. Oklahoma

- Average annual wage: $40,367
- Average hourly wage: $19.41
- Total employment: 40,560

Trucking is such a big industry in Oklahoma that the state even has a school for it. The school has recently reported an uptick in students, and more than a threefold increase in enrollment since the start of the pandemic, even within a nationwide trucking labor shortage.

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#21. Michigan

- Average annual wage: $40,633
- Average hourly wage: $19.54
- Total employment: 89,890

Michigan is about to get a whole new category of delivery drivers. Following its legalization, a marijuana company has recently announced an initiative to hire veterans for cannabis delivery, offering salaries of up to $50,000.

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#20. Virginia

- Average annual wage: $40,797
- Average hourly wage: $19.61
- Total employment: 78,090

Demand is surging for delivery drivers for the likes of Amazon in Virginia. The e-commerce company has recently opened a massive East Coast hub in the state, which beat out neighboring states to win the contract and the delivery jobs.

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#19. Maryland

- Average annual wage: $41,360
- Average hourly wage: $19.88
- Total employment: 50,050

Maryland is well known for its crab. Delivery drivers who like being along the water might wish to consider working for a crab farm, bringing crabs caught fresh from the Chesapeake Bay to restaurants and homes in and beyond the state.

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#18. Vermont

- Average annual wage: $41,657
- Average hourly wage: $20.03
- Total employment: 6,110

Vermont is home to a huge array of small farms. Delivery drivers have the option to contract with these farms to bring their goods—from cheese to chutney—to grocery stores, restaurants, and customers around the state and beyond.

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#17. Wyoming

- Average annual wage: $41,660
- Average hourly wage: $20.03
- Total employment: 10,100

Delivery drivers in some parts of Wyoming will soon be getting a new potential good to deliver. Cities across the state are legalizing the delivery of alcohol, giving drivers more opportunities to earn money delivering goods.

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#16. Montana

- Average annual wage: $41,723
- Average hourly wage: $20.06
- Total employment: 11,370

Agriculture is a major industry in Montana. This means that many delivery drivers transport goods grown on farms—from corn to cows—to market, typically on large trucks.

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#15. Minnesota

- Average annual wage: $41,723
- Average hourly wage: $20.06
- Total employment: 58,190

Minnesota is experiencing a shortage of delivery drivers. Those who are able and willing to work in the state may thus be able to command a higher salary than they would have under more normal economic conditions.

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#14. Rhode Island

- Average annual wage: $41,863
- Average hourly wage: $20.13
- Total employment: 7,890

Rhode Island is a small state and can be driven across in less than an hour, meaning drivers have the entire state as their customer base. Providence is a major urban hub within the state, which also plays host to Brown University, offering a natural customer base of students in need of food delivery.

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#13. Colorado

- Average annual wage: $42,187
- Average hourly wage: $20.28
- Total employment: 53,600

Truck drivers in Colorado need to have a skill specific to the state: driving in the snow. Because the state gets lots of snow in the mountains, trucking instructors and schools have said it is vital for truckers to gain experience and education driving in the snow before heading out on routes.

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#12. New Jersey

- Average annual wage: $43,007
- Average hourly wage: $20.68
- Total employment: 86,530

New Jersey food delivery drivers have numerous urban centers to choose from when it comes to food delivery. Hubs like Princeton, Jersey City, and Hoboken have numerous restaurants, students, and professionals who may wish to avail themselves of restaurant and takeout delivery.

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#11. Connecticut

- Average annual wage: $43,070
- Average hourly wage: $20.71
- Total employment: 28,830

Connecticut is the home of sports channel ESPN. On game days, the sports-loving nature of the state can be a big boon for delivery drivers, who may be able to deliver a great deal of food and drink to fans watching sports at home.

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#10. North Dakota

- Average annual wage: $43,353
- Average hourly wage: $20.84
- Total employment: 14,190

Agriculture is a major business in North Dakota. This means truck drivers should have their pick of crops to transport, from soybeans to sugar beets to corn.

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#9. Hawaii

- Average annual wage: $43,413
- Average hourly wage: $20.87
- Total employment: 10,760

Although much of Hawaii is lush and remote, the urban center of Honolulu offers an opportunity for food delivery drivers. The city’s restaurants and takeout shops give food delivery drivers plenty of options—from statewide delivery companies like Eat Hawaii to Bite Squad/Aloha2Go Delivery—when it comes to earning their living.

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#8. Oregon

- Average annual wage: $43,447
- Average hourly wage: $20.89
- Total employment: 38,910

Oregon is known for its wine production. Delivery drivers who love wine might have the option in the state of considering transporting wine from vineyards to wine shops, restaurants, and directly to customers.

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#7. Illinois

- Average annual wage: $43,857
- Average hourly wage: $21.08
- Total employment: 141,630

Although Illinois has plenty of farmland for truck drivers to transport goods from, Chicago offers bountiful opportunities also for food delivery. The city is one of the largest in the United States, with millions of residents ready for everything from meals to wine to groceries to be delivered.

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#6. New York

- Average annual wage: $44,423
- Average hourly wage: $21.36
- Total employment: 116,620

New York City is the largest city in the United States. The city’s density makes it an attractive and bountiful location for delivery drivers seeking work, which may involve delivering food and drink on bike, foot, or car in the walkable American city.

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#5. Washington, DC

- Average annual wage: $44,707
- Average hourly wage: $21.49
- Total employment: 2,490

Washington, D.C., is another city-state that packs a sizable population into a relatively small surface area. This makes it an attractive option for food delivery, as more deliveries can theoretically be completed in less time than in more spread-out cities, making the wages effectively higher as well.

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#4. California

- Average annual wage: $45,167
- Average hourly wage: $21.71
- Total employment: 296,590

Although California is home to many sizable cities with avid food delivery customer bases, the state is also home to many farms. Almonds, grapes, pistachios, and strawberries are among the major crops grown in the state, providing a range of products for truck drivers to move.

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#3. Massachusetts

- Average annual wage: $45,373
- Average hourly wage: $21.81
- Total employment: 52,760

Delivery drivers in Massachusetts have the option of delivering cannabis for companies. This gives them yet another pool of customers. There is a two-driver rule in the state, however, that requires two drivers—each wearing body cameras—to be present in GPS-outfitted delivery vehicles. Profitability has come into question by cannabis business owners.

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#2. Washington

- Average annual wage: $46,173
- Average hourly wage: $22.20
- Total employment: 57,840

The technology hub of Seattle is a major market for food delivery. Tech workers are known to put in long hours and may be more likely to order in lunches and dinners, the better for them to spend long hours coding at home or in the office.

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#1. Alaska

- Average annual wage: $48,893
- Average hourly wage: $23.50
- Total employment: 4,580

One reason wages may be so high for delivery drivers in Alaska is that many of them drive ice-specific delivery trucks. The state’s snowy conditions make it more difficult for them to drive than drivers in more temperate American climates.

This story originally appeared on Circuit and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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