Economic Snapshot | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

State minimum wage increases helped 4.3 million workers, but federal inaction has left many more behind

On January 1, 19 states increased their minimum wage, lifting the pay of over 4.3 million workers. This is the largest number of states ever to increase their minimum wages without an increase in the federal minimum wage. In seven of these states (Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota), the increases were due to inflation indexing, where the state minimum wage is automatically adjusted each year to match the growth in prices, thereby preventing any erosion in the real value of the minimum wage. The increases in the remaining 12 states were from legislation or ballot measures approved by voters.

The map shows the values of the minimum wage increases and the number of workers directly affected in each state.

Economic Snapshot

State minimum wage increases helped 4.3 million workers, but federal inaction has left many more behind: States with minimum wage increases effective January 1, 2017

State Share of workforce directly benefiting Type of increase New minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2017 Amount of increase Total workers directly benefiting Total increase in annual wages
Alabama 0.00%
Delaware 0.00%
Washington D.C. 0.00%
Georgia 0.00%
Idaho 0.00%
Illinois 0.00%
Indiana 0.00%
Iowa 0.00%
Kansas 0.00%
Kentucky 0.00%
Louisiana 0.00%
Maryland 0.00%
Minnesota 0.00%
Mississippi 0.00%
Nebraska 0.00%
Nevada 0.00%
New Hampshire 0.00%
New Mexico 0.00%
North Carolina 0.00%
North Dakota 0.00%
Oklahoma 0.00%
Oregon 0.00%
Pennsylvania 0.00%
Rhode Island 0.00%
South Carolina 0.00%
Tennessee 0.00%
Texas 0.00%
Utah 0.00%
Virginia 0.00%
West Virginia 0.00%
Wisconsin 0.00%
Wyoming 0.00%
Missouri 1.40% Inflation adjustment $7.70 $0.05 39,000 $8,941,000
Alaska 2.10% Inflation adjustment $9.80 $0.05 6,000 $1,962,000
South Dakota 2.10% Inflation adjustment $8.65 $0.10 8,000 $2,528,000
Florida 2.20% Inflation adjustment $8.10 $0.05 187,000 $38,739,000
New Jersey 2.40% Inflation adjustment $8.44 $0.06 98,000 $39,721,000
Montana 2.70% Inflation adjustment $8.15 $0.10 11,000 $2,679,000
Ohio 3.20% Inflation adjustment $8.15 $0.05 158,000 $25,268,000
Vermont 3.30% Legislation $10.00 $0.40 10,000 $6,736,000
Arkansas 4.50% Legislation $8.50 $0.50 54,000 $38,800,000
Michigan 4.50% Legislation $8.90 $0.40 188,000 $113,483,000
Hawaii 4.70% Legislation $9.25 $0.75 28,000 $22,422,000
Colorado 5.70% Legislation $9.30 $0.99 141,000 $160,221,000
New York 6.20% Legislation $9.70 $0.70 515,000 $473,364,000
Maine 6.90% Legislation $9.00 $1.50 38,000 $56,698,000
Connecticut 7.60% Legislation $10.10 $0.50 119,000 $60,558,000
Massachusetts 9.20% Legislation $11.00 $1.00 291,000 $366,992,000
California 10.70% Legislation $10.50 $0.50 1,726,000 $1,481,965,000
Washington 10.70% Legislation $11.00 $1.53 332,000 $631,819,000
Arizona 11.80% Legislation $10.00 $1.95 328,000 $648,000,000

"Legislation" indicates that the new rate was established by the legislature or through a ballot measure. "Inflation adjustment" indicates that the new rate was established by a formula, reflecting the change in prices over the preceding year

Directly affected workers will see their wages rise because the new minimum wage rate exceeds their current hourly pay. This does not include additional workers who may receive a wage increase through "spillover" effects, as employers adjust overall pay scales.

New York's minimum wage increase took effect on December 31, 2016.

Totals may not sum due to rounding.

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey 2015Q4-2016Q3

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These increases will provide over $4.2 billion in additional wages to nearly 4.3 million affected workers in 2017 and will make a real, although modest, difference in the lives of workers and their families.

While there are 29 states (and DC) that have a minimum wage higher than the federal level, 21 states remain at $7.25 an hour. Workers in these states make up 39.2 percent of the nonfarm workforce. The average minimum wage among states above $7.25 is currently $8.90—meaning that minimum wage workers in the $7.25 states are being paid, on average, 18.5 percent less than their counterparts in states that have adopted minimum wages above $7.25. By November of 2020, as more planned increases go into effect, the average minimum wage in states above the federal level will reach $10.63. Without any change in either the federal or their state minimum wages, minimum-wage workers in the 21 states stuck at $7.25 will be paid 31.7 percent less than workers in states with higher minimum wages.


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