Three years after the most recent increase in the federal minimum wage, proposals have emerged in both the House and Senate to increase the federal minimum wage to $9.80 by July 1, 2014. Such an increase would significantly help lower-income workers at a time when their wages have stagnated due (in part) to the lingering effects of the recession and a very tentative economic recovery. Forthcoming EPI research shows that those benefiting from a minimum wage increase are older than generally believed.
As seen in the figure below, 87.9 percent of those affected nationally by increasing the federal minimum wage to $9.80 are 20 years of age and older. The share of those affected who are 20 or older varies by state, from a low of 77.1 percent in Massachusetts to a high of 92.4 percent in Florida (and 93.9 percent in the District of Columbia).
Some minimum-wage workers are younger workers, perhaps saving for college or even contributing to their family expenses, but most minimum wage workers are 20 or older. Additionally, more than a third (35.8 percent) are married, and over a quarter (28.0 percent) are parents. For American families struggling to make ends meet, raising the minimum wage will make a significant difference. Moreover, 21 million children have a parent who will see an increase in their pay as a result of increasing the minimum wage.
Share of workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $9.80 over the age of 20, by state
Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey – outgoing rotation group data