Report | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift pay for nearly 40 million workers

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Press release

On July 18, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025. EPI published a fact sheet analyzing the impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

Introduction and executive summary

The federal minimum wage was established in 1938, as part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to help ensure that all work would be fairly rewarded and that regular employment would provide a decent quality of life. In theory, Congress makes periodic amendments to the FLSA, increasing the federal minimum wage so that even the lowest-paid jobs in the economy still pay enough for workers to meet their needs, and helping ensure that low-wage workers benefit from economywide improvements in productivity, wages, and living standards.

Yet since the late 1960s, lawmakers have let the value of the minimum wage erode, allowing inflation to gradually reduce the buying power of a minimum wage income. When the minimum wage has been raised, the increases have been too small to counter the decline in value that has occurred since 1968, when the minimum wage hit its peak in inflation-adjusted terms. In 2018, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 was worth 14.8 percent less than when it was last raised in 2009, after adjusting for inflation, and 28.6 percent below its peak value in 1968, when the minimum wage was the equivalent of $10.15 in 2018 dollars.

This decline in purchasing power means low-wage workers have to work longer hours now just to achieve the standard of living that was considered the bare minimum half a century ago. Since the 1960s, the United States has achieved tremendous improvements in labor productivity that could have allowed workers at all pay levels to enjoy a significantly improved quality of life (Bivens et al. 2014). Instead, because of policymakers’ failure to preserve this basic labor standard, a parent who is the sole breadwinner for her family and who is earning the minimum wage today does not earn enough through full-time work to bring her family above the federal poverty line.

Restoring the value of the minimum wage to at least the same level it was at a generation ago should be uncontroversial. But such a raise would be insufficient. The technological progress and productivity improvements that the country has achieved over the last 50 years have not benefited all of America’s workers. This means lawmakers must strive to enact minimum wage increases that are bolder than the typical legislated increases in recent decades.

On January 16, 2019, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) announced that they would introduce the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage in six steps to $15 per hour by 2024. Beginning in 2025, the minimum wage would be “indexed” to median wages so that each year, the minimum wage would automatically be adjusted based on growth in the median wage. The bill would also gradually increase the subminimum wage for tipped workers (or “tipped minimum wage”), which has been fixed at $2.13 per hour since 1991, until it reaches parity with the regular minimum wage.1

Who would benefit if the federal minimum wage is raised to $15 by 2024?

A total of 39.7 million workers would benefit, including:

  • 38.6 million adults ages 18 and older
  • 23.8 million full-time workers
  • 23.0 million women
  • 11.2 million parents
  • 5.4 million single parents
  • The parents of 14.4 million children

This report begins by providing historical context for the current value of the federal minimum wage and the proposed increase to $15 by 2024. It then describes the population of workers likely to receive higher pay under an increase to $15 by 2024, with detailed demographic data that refute a number of common misconceptions about low-wage workers. Next, it describes the provisions of the Raise the Wage Act that would index the minimum wage to the median wage, and gradually eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers. The report concludes with a discussion of the research on the likely effects such a raise would have on businesses, employment, and low-wage workers’ welfare.

This report finds that:

  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would undo the erosion of the value of the real minimum wage that began primarily in the 1980s. In fact, by 2021, for the first time in over 50 years, the federal minimum wage would exceed its historical inflation-adjusted high point, set in 1968.
  • Gradually raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would directly lift the wages of 28.1 million workers. The average directly affected worker who works all year would receive a $3,900 increase in annual wage income—equal to a raise of 20.9 percent. Another 11.6 million workers would benefit from a spillover effect as employers raise wages of workers making more than $15 in order to attract and retain employees.
  • All told, raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would directly or indirectly lift wages for 39.7 million workers, 26.6 percent of the wage-earning workforce.
  • Over the phase-in period of the increases, the rising wage floor would generate $118 billion in additional wages, which would ripple out to the families of these workers and their communities. Because lower-paid workers spend much of their extra earnings, this injection of wages would help stimulate the economy and spur greater business activity and job growth.
  • The workers who would receive a pay increase are overwhelmingly adult workers, most of whom work full time in regular jobs, often to support a family.
    • The average age of affected workers is 35 years old. A larger share of workers ages 55 and older would receive a raise (14.6 percent) than teens (9.3 percent). More than half of all affected workers are prime-age workers between the ages of 25 and 54.
    • Although men make up a larger share of the overall U.S. workforce, the majority of workers who would be affected by a raise to the minimum wage (57.9 percent) are women.
    • The minimum wage increase would disproportionately raise wages for people of color—for example, black workers make up 11.8 percent of the workforce but 16.9 percent of affected workers. This disproportionate impact means large shares of black and Hispanic workers would be affected: 38.1 percent of black workers and 33.4 percent of Hispanic workers would get a raise.
    • Of workers who would receive a raise, 60.0 percent work full time, 44.0 percent have some college experience, and more than a quarter (28.3 percent) have children.
    • Nearly four out of every 10 single parents who work (38.9 percent) would receive higher pay, including 43.0 percent of working single mothers. In all, 5.4 million single parents would benefit, accounting for 13.5 percent of those who would be affected by raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024.
  • The workers with families who would benefit are typically the primary breadwinner for their family, earning an average of 51.9 percent of their family’s total income.
  • The Raise the Wage Act would disproportionately help those in poverty or close to it. Two-thirds (67.3 percent) of the working poor in America would receive a pay increase if the minimum wage were raised to $15 by 2024.
  • A federal minimum wage increase to $15 in 2024 would raise wages for the parents of 14.4 million children across the United States, nearly one-fifth (19.6) percent of all U.S. children.
  • Indexing the minimum wage to the median wage would ensure that low-wage workers share in broad improvements in U.S. living standards and would prevent future growth in inequality between low- and middle-wage workers.

Data by state and congressional district

Supplemental tables showing characteristics of workers who would be affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 in each of the states and in the District of Columbia are available here.

In addition, data by congressional district is viewable in an interactive map (EPI 2019b).

The minimum wage in context

Since its inception in 1938, the federal minimum wage has been adjusted through legislated increases nine times—from a nominal (non-inflation-adjusted) value of 25 cents per hour in 1938 to the current $7.25, where it has remained since 2009. These increases have been fairly irregular, varying in size and with differing lengths of time between increases. Yet aside from a few very brief deflationary periods in the post–World War II era, prices have consistently risen year after year. Each year that the minimum wage remains unchanged, its purchasing power slowly erodes until policymakers enact an increase. This haphazard maintenance of the wage floor has meant that low-wage workers of different generations or in different decades have been protected by significantly different wage standards.

Figure A shows the nominal and inflation-adjusted (real) value of the minimum wage since 1938, as well as the value of the minimum wage had it increased at the rate of productivity (specifically, it shows U.S. total economy net productivity indexed to the 1968 inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage). As the figure shows, in 1950—the first year the minimum wage was increased after the end of World War II—the minimum wage rose rather dramatically in real terms, nearly doubling overnight. The 1950 increase was followed by regular increases that roughly kept pace with rising labor productivity until the late 1960s. The minimum wage peaked in inflation-adjusted value in 1968, when it was equal to $10.15 in 2018 dollars. Increases in the 1970s essentially held the real value of the minimum wage in place as high levels of inflation—driven by oil and food price shocks—effectively negated the nominal increases that were enacted at that time. In the 1980s, as inflation remained elevated, the minimum wage was left to deteriorate to 1950s levels. Subsequent increases in the 1990s and late 2000s were not large enough to undo the erosion that had taken place in the 1980s. As of 2018, the federal minimum wage was worth 28.6 percent less than in 1968.2

Figure A

Neglect has left the minimum wage far below what the economy could afford: Real and nominal values of the federal minimum wage, and value if it had risen with total economy productivity, 1938–2018, and projected values under the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, 2019–2024

Real federal min. wage (2018$) Projected real federal min. wage Nominal min. wage Projected nominal min.wage  Projected if the min. wage rose with productivity (2018$) Projected if the min. wage rose with productivity (2018$) 
1938 $3.81 $0.25
1939 $4.64 $0.30
1940 $4.60 $0.30
1941 $4.38 $0.30
1942 $3.95 $0.30
1943 $3.72 $0.30
1944 $3.66 $0.30
1945 $4.77 $0.40
1946 $4.41 $0.40
1947 $3.85 $0.40
1948 $3.56 $0.40 $5.76
1949 $3.61 $0.40 $5.80
1950 $6.68 $0.75 $6.26
1951 $6.19 $0.75 $6.39
1952 $6.08 $0.75 $6.60
1953 $6.03 $0.75 $6.80
1954 $5.99 $0.75 $6.93
1955 $6.01 $0.75 $7.23
1956 $7.90 $1.00 $7.32
1957 $7.64 $1.00 $7.49
1958 $7.43 $1.00 $7.62
1959 $7.38 $1.00 $7.91
1960 $7.26 $1.00 $8.08
1961 $8.26 $1.15 $8.32
1962 $8.18 $1.15 $8.61
1963 $8.77 $1.25 $8.94
1964 $8.66 $1.25 $9.20
1965 $8.52 $1.25 $9.47
1966 $8.29 $1.25 $9.71
1967 $9.00 $1.40 $9.85
1968 $10.15 $1.60 $10.15
1969 $9.71 $1.60 $10.21
1970 $9.26 $1.60 $10.31
1971 $8.88 $1.60 $10.66
1972 $8.62 $1.60 $10.97
1973 $8.11 $1.60 $11.26
1974 $9.21 $2.00 $11.08
1975 $8.94 $2.10 $11.28
1976 $9.26 $2.30 $11.55
1977 $8.70 $2.30 $11.71
1978 $9.39 $2.65 $11.80
1979 $9.38 $2.90 $11.72
1980 $9.02 $3.10 $11.65
1981 $8.91 $3.35 $11.95
1982 $8.40 $3.35 $11.91
1983 $8.06 $3.35 $12.08
1984 $7.73 $3.35 $12.47
1985 $7.48 $3.35 $12.65
1986 $7.35 $3.35 $12.83
1987 $7.10 $3.35 $13.03
1988 $6.86 $3.35 $13.31
1989 $6.57 $3.35 $13.24
1990 $7.10 $3.80 $13.37
1991 $7.66 $4.25 $13.47
1992 $7.48 $4.25 $13.93
1993 $7.29 $4.25 $13.90
1994 $7.14 $4.25 $14.07
1995 $6.98 $4.25 $14.25
1996 $7.60 $4.75 $14.61
1997 $8.06 $5.15 $14.95
1998 $7.95 $5.15 $15.40
1999 $7.79 $5.15 $15.76
2000 $7.53 $5.15 $16.21
2001 $7.32 $5.15 $16.49
2002 $7.21 $5.15 $16.87
2003 $7.05 $5.15 $17.31
2004 $6.86 $5.15 $17.78
2005 $6.64 $5.15 $18.15
2006 $6.43 $5.15 $18.48
2007 $7.10 $5.85 $18.25
2008 $7.66 $6.55 $18.04
2009 $8.51 $7.25 $18.39
2010 $8.37 $7.25 $19.12
2011 $8.11 $7.25 $19.30
2012 $7.94 $7.25 $19.64
2013 $7.83 $7.25 $19.56
2014 $7.70 $7.25 $19.86
2015 $7.69 $7.25 $19.94
2016 $7.59 $7.25 $19.77
2017 $7.43 $7.25 $19.93
2018 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $20.34 $20.34
2019 $8.35 $8.55 $20.63
2020 $9.39 $9.85 $20.94
2021 $10.37 $11.15 $21.25
2022 $11.30 $12.45 $21.57
2023 $12.18 $13.75 $21.88
2024 $12.98 $15.00 $22.19
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Notes: Inflation measured using the CPI-U-RS. Productivity is measured as total economy productivity net depreciation.

Sources: EPI analysis of the Fair Labor Standards Act and amendments and the Raise the Wage Act of 2019. Total economy productivity data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Productivity and Costs program. Average hourly wages of production nonsupervisory workers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics.

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The dashed lines in the figure—representing projected values for the years 2019–2024—show that the Raise the Wage Act would reverse this unfortunate trend for low-wage workers. A series of six increases over six years—beginning with an increase to $8.55 in 2019 and ending at $15 in 2024—would for the first time ever lift the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage above its 1968 peak. In real terms (that is, in 2018 dollars), the minimum wage would reach an estimated value of $10.37 in 2020 and $12.98 in 2024. The full increase to $15 by 2024 represents a 79.0 percent real increase in the minimum wage over its current value, and a 27.9 percent increase in purchasing power from the 1968 peak.3

Such an increase would be the largest raise in the federal minimum wage since 1950, when it was lifted by an inflation-adjusted 85 percent in one year. As such, this increase would be larger than what has been typical in recent decades; however, policymakers will have to enact bolder increases than in the recent past if they intend for low-wage workers to ever fully share in the growth of productivity and the economy that has occurred over the past five decades. As explained by Cooper, Schmitt, and Mishel (2015), increases in average labor productivity represent the potential for higher living standards for workers. In simple terms, if workers, on average, are producing more from each hour worked, there is room in the economy for all workers to get a commensurate raise in wages. This would represent all workers getting a share of economic growth. However, this potential is realized only if productivity gains translate into higher wages. The top line in the figure, which represents the inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage had it aligned with productivity growth, shows that average labor productivity has more than doubled since the late 1960s. Despite this growth in the country’s ability to produce income, pay for workers generally and for low-wage workers in particular has either stagnated or fallen since the 1970s (Bivens et al. 2014). In the case of low-wage workers, hourly pay has declined in real terms since 1979 as a direct result of the erosion of the minimum wage (Bivens et al. 2014).

A higher minimum wage would direct a portion of overall labor productivity gains into higher living standards for low-wage workers. It is not known precisely how much productivity in low-wage work has grown since the 1960s relative to overall productivity. However, low-wage workers today tend to be older (and are therefore likelier to have greater work experience) and are significantly more educated than their counterparts in 1968 (Mishel 2014a). To the extent that workers with more experience and greater education typically earn more than their younger and less-educated counterparts, we would expect low-wage workers today to earn more, not less, than what they earned in the previous generation. In this context, a pay increase for America’s lowest-paid workers of 28 percent over the 56-year span from 1968 to 2024 is indeed modest when compared with projected overall productivity growth of 119 percent over the same period.4

The minimum wage is also a mechanism for combating inequality and helping to keep a middle-class lifestyle within reach for all workers. As increased productivity has translated into higher wages for high-wage workers, a rising minimum wage ensures that the lowest-paid jobs also benefit from these improvements. This is the essence of the “fairness” implied in the name of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the act that established the minimum wage.

Figure B shows how the federal minimum wage has compared with the wages of typical U.S. workers over time. The top line shows the median wage of full-time, full-year workers since 1968, adjusted for inflation to constant 2018 dollars. (The dashed line shows projections for 2019–2024.) The bottom line shows the inflation-adjusted value of the federal minimum wage. (The dashed line shows projections for 2019–2024 under the Raise the Wage Act.) In 1968, the median worker in the United States earned $19.23 per hour—roughly $9 more per hour than a minimum wage worker at that time. Since then, the gap between the typical U.S. worker and the lowest-paid worker has grown substantially—to more than $15 per hour as of 2018. The median wage has grown only modestly over the past 50 years—roughly 16 percent—yet the large decline in the value of the minimum wage has left workers at the bottom of the wage scale farther from the middle class than they have been in half a century. Indeed, the declining value of the federal minimum wage is the key driver of the growth in inequality between low-wage workers and middle-wage workers since the late 1970s (see Zipperer 2015a and Mishel 2014b).

Figure B

The gap between the minimum wage and the median wage has grown substantially—the Raise the Wage Act would narrow the gap: Real values of the federal minimum wage and the full-time, full-year median wage, 1968–2018; projected values for 2019–2024 under the Raise the Wage Act; and dollar amount of the gap between the minimum and the median, selected years (2018$)

Year Real median wage  Real median, projected at 0.5% real growth (2018$)  Real federal minimum wage  Real federal minimum wage 
1968 $19.23 $10.15
1969 $19.85 $9.71
1970 $20.10 $9.26
1971 $20.01 $8.88
1972 $20.47 $8.62
1973 $20.93  $8.11
1974 $20.67 $9.21
1975 $20.38 $8.94
1976 $20.65 $9.26
1977 $20.51 $8.70
1978 $20.51 $9.39
1979 $20.52 $9.38
1980 $20.25 $9.02
1981 $20.00 $8.91
1982 $20.05 $8.40
1983 $20.03 $8.06
1984 $20.26 $7.73
1985 $20.56 $7.48
1986 $20.72 $7.35
1987 $20.30 $7.10
1988 $20.46 $6.86
1989 $20.52 $6.57
1990 $20.20 $7.10
1991 $20.21 $7.66
1992 $20.42 $7.48
1993 $20.20 $7.29
1994 $20.16 $7.14
1995 $19.85 $6.98
1996 $20.00 $7.60
1997 $20.54 $8.06
1998 $21.12 $7.95
1999 $21.68 $7.79
2000 $21.29 $7.53
2001 $21.68 $7.32
2002 $21.81 $7.21
2003 $21.85 $7.05
2004 $21.78 $6.86
2005 $21.50 $6.64
2006 $21.18 $6.43
2007 $21.53 $7.10
2008 $21.77 $7.66
2009 $22.49  $8.51
2010 $22.19 $8.37
2011 $21.56 $8.11
2012 $21.17 $7.94
2013 $20.92 $7.83
2014 $21.17 $7.70
2015 $21.83 $7.69
2016 $22.37 $7.59
2017 $22.28 $7.43
2018 $22.36  $22.36 $7.25 $7.25
2019 $22.47 $8.35
2020 $22.58 $9.39
2021 $22.69 $10.37
2022 $22.80 $11.30
2023 $22.91 $12.18
2024 $23.02  $12.98*
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* $15 in 2024 is equivalent to $12.98 in 2018 dollars.

Notes: Inflation measured using the CPI-U-RS. The 2018 full-time, full-year median wage is estimated by growing the 2017 full-time, full-year median wage at the growth rate of average hourly earnings of production workers from 2017 to 2018. This value is then projected at the growth rate of CPI plus 0.5 percent.

Source: EPI analysis of the Fair Labor Standards Act and amendments, the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, and the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata

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The vertical dotted lines in the graph illustrate the gap between the median and minimum wages at different points in time—and show how the Raise the Wage Act would shrink this gap, reducing it to about $1 dollar more than the difference that existed in 1968. Assuming modest annual real wage growth of 0.5 percent for workers at the median over the next six years, a minimum wage of $15 in 2024 (which corresponds to $12.98 in 2018 dollars) would lift the wage floor to just over $10 less than the wages of a typical U.S. worker—far closer to the gap that existed in the late 1960s.

Figure C presents these same data in a different way. The solid line shows the value of the federal minimum wage as a percentage of the median wage of all full-time, full-year workers. Once again, the gradual decline of the line illustrates how inadequate increases in the federal minimum wage have gradually increased the gap between the lowest-paid workers and those in the middle of the wage distribution. In 1968, the federal minimum wage was equal to just over half the wage of the typical U.S. worker: 52.8 percent of the median wage of all full-time workers. In 2018, the minimum wage is projected to be less than one-third of the wage of the typical worker: 32.4 percent of the median wage of all full-time, full-year workers.

Figure C

The Raise the Wage Act would eliminate decades of growing wage inequality between the lowest-paid and the typical U.S. worker: Federal minimum wage as a share of the national full-time, full-year median wage, 1968–2018 (actual) and 2019–2024 (projected under the Raise the Wage Act of 2019 for two scenarios)

Year Historical share Projected share, no real wage growth Projected share, 0.5% real wage growth
1968 52.8%
1969 48.9%
1970 46.1%
1971 44.4%
1972 42.1%
1973 38.7%
1974 44.6%
1975 43.8%
1976 44.8%
1977 42.4%
1978 45.8%
1979 45.7%
1980 44.5%
1981 44.5%
1982 41.9%
1983 40.2%
1984 38.2%
1985 36.4%
1986 35.5%
1987 35.0%
1988 33.5%
1989 32.0%
1990 35.2%
1991 37.9%
1992 36.6%
1993 36.1%
1994 35.4%
1995 35.2%
1996 38.0%
1997 39.2%
1998 37.7%
1999 35.9%
2000 35.4%
2001 33.8%
2002 33.1%
2003 32.3%
2004 31.5%
2005 30.9%
2006 30.4%
2007 33.0%
2008 35.2%
2009 37.8%
2010 37.7%
2011 37.6%
2012 37.5%
2013 37.4%
2014 36.4%
2015 35.2%
2016 33.9%
2017 33.3% 33.3% 33.3%
2018 32.4% 32.4% 
2019 37.4% 37.2%
2020 42.0% 41.6%
2021 46.4% 45.7%
2022 50.5% 49.6%
2023 54.5% 53.2%
2024 58.0% 56.4% 
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Notes: Inflation measured using the CPI-U-RS and CBO CPI-U projections. Projected median real wage growth assumes either none or 0.5% annual.

Source: EPI analysis of the Fair Labor Standards Act and amendments, the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, and Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata

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The dashed lines in Figure C project the ratios for 2019–2024 under the Raise the Wage Act. These projections show that the Raise the Wage Act would reverse this growth in inequality and place the minimum wage as a share of the the median wage above its historical high point. Projections are shown for 2019–2024 under two scenarios: one in which nominal median wages rise at the rate of projected inflation, so that there is no real wage growth, and one in which median wages grow 0.5 percent per year faster than projected inflation from 2018 to 2024, as was assumed in Figure B.5 The Raise the Wage Act would lift the minimum wage’s share of the full-time, full-year median wage to 58.0 percent if there is no real wage growth or to 56.4 percent if there is modest real wage growth. Of course, if wages for middle-wage workers grow faster than 0.5 percent above inflation, this percentage will be smaller.

When set at an adequate level, the minimum wage also helps ensure that work is a means to a decent quality of life. In fact, the explicit purpose of the FLSA is to correct “labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being of workers.”6 The federal poverty line is often cited as a proxy for the level of income needed for the general well-being of families. Researchers and policymakers have long acknowledged that, in reality, the poverty line is woefully inadequate as a measure of what is truly needed for a family to afford the basic necessities.7 Yet even against this low bar, the federal minimum wage has rarely produced enough income for regular full-time workers, particularly those with children, to meet their needs.

As shown in Figure D, a parent working full time while earning the minimum wage today earns too little to bring his family—even if it is just a family of two—above the federal poverty line. In contrast, at its high point in 1968, the minimum wage was sufficient to keep a family of three out of poverty, but not a family of four. As the ascending dashed line in the figure shows, the Raise the Wage Act would, for the first time ever, bring full-time minimum wage earnings above the poverty line for a family of four.

Figure D

At $15 in 2024, the federal minimum wage would no longer be a poverty wage: Annual wage income (2018$) for a full-time, full-year minimum wage worker, compared with various poverty thresholds, 1964–2018 (actual) and 2019–2024 (projected under the Raise the Wage Act of 2019)

Annual full-time minimum wage income Projected Two-person family Three-person family  Four-person family 
1964 $18,454 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1965 $18,161 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1966 $17,656 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1967 $19,183 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1968 $21,109 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1969 $20,198 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1970 $19,269 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1971 $18,464 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1972 $17,924 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1973 $16,860 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1974 $19,167 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1975 $18,586 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1976 $19,259 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1977 $18,101 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1978 $19,527 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1979 $19,518 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1980 $18,763 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1981 $18,527 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1982 $17,472 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1983 $16,756 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1984 $16,087 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1985 $15,553 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1986 $15,285 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1987 $14,777 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1988 $14,262 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1989 $13,664 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1990 $14,772 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1991 $15,941 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1992 $15,554 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1993 $15,172 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1994 $14,861 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1995 $14,512 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1996 $15,798 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1997 $16,766 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1998 $16,542 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
1999 $16,197 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2000 $15,666 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2001 $15,232 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2002 $14,996 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2003 $14,663 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2004 $14,277 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2005 $13,809 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2006 $ 13,376 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2007 $14,775 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2008 $15,931 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2009 $17,695 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2010 $17,407 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2011 $16,875 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2012 $16,525 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2013 $16,284 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2014 $16,013 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2015 $15,985 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2016 $15,782 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2017 $15,450 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2018 $15,080  $15,080  $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2019 $17,377 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2020 $19,531 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2021 $21,566 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2022 $23,498 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2023 $25,335 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
2024 $26,992 $16,460 $20,780 $25,100
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* Annual income of $26,992 is based on an hourly wage of $12.98, which is the 2018$ equivalent of $15 in 2024.

Notes: Inflation measured using the CPI-U-RS. Inflation projections calculated using CBO 2018.

Source: EPI analysis of the Fair Labor Standards Act and amendments, the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, and CBO 2018

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Demographic characteristics of affected workers

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift pay for more than one-fourth of American workers. The vast majority of workers who typically benefit from minimum wage increases do not fit the common portrayal of low-wage workers primarily as teenagers from middle-class families, who are working part time after school, or as “stay-at-home” parents—parents whose primary job is caring for their own children—who are picking up some work on the side and whose “secondary earnings” are inconsequential to their family’s financial health.8 As the subsequent sections show, increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would raise wages for millions of prime-age, full-time workers, many of whom are the primary breadwinners for their families. Detailed demographic information on the affected workforce—including statistics on women, black, Hispanic, Asian, white, and Native American workers—can be found in Appendix Tables 6–12.

Figure E shows the number of workers who are likely to receive a raise as the minimum wage is gradually increased.

Figure E

The Raise the Wage Act would lift pay for more than a quarter of all U.S. workers: Number of workers (in millions) who would benefit if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15 by 2024

Year Directly affected Indirectly affected Total Share of all workers
2019 2.9  4.7 7.6 5.2%
2020 7.3 8.3 15.6 10.7%
2021 14.0 7.5 21.5 14.7%
2022 18.4 8.6 27.0 18.3%
2023 22.1 11.8 33.9 22.8%
2024  28.1  11.6  39.7 26.6%
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Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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In the first step, when the minimum is increased from $7.25 to $8.55 per hour, 7.6 million workers are likely to benefit. This includes 2.9 million workers who will directly benefit—meaning their current pay rate is between $7.25 and $8.55—as well as 4.7 million who will indirectly benefit, meaning they will likely receive a raise through spillover or “ripple” effects because their current pay rate is just above $8.55.9 Raising the minimum wage typically results in wage increases for workers further up the wage ladder because employers want to maintain some progression in their internal pay scales (Wicks-Lim 2006).

With each successive increase, the number of workers who would benefit grows: At each step, all those workers whose wages were raised in the previous step receive another raise, and additional workers whose wages were “too high” to benefit from previous step increases now benefit as well. In the second year, as the minimum wage is lifted to $9.85 per hour, the number of workers who would directly receive a raise grows to 7.3 million; another 8.3 million would indirectly receive a raise. When the minimum wage increases to $11.15 in year three, 14.0 million would be directly affected, along with 7.5 million who would be indirectly affected. In the fourth year, 2022, the increase to $12.45 per hour would raise wages directly for 18.4 million workers and indirectly for another 8.6 million workers. The increase to $13.75 per hour in year five would directly lift the pay of 22.1 million workers and indirectly spur wage increases for another 11.8 million workers. In the final year, when the minimum wage is raised to $15 per hour, 28.1 million workers would directly benefit and an additional 11.6 million would likely receive a raise indirectly as employers adjust overall pay ladders. In total, the increase to $15 would lift wages for 39.7 million workers—26.6 percent of all U.S. workers. Detailed figures on the workers affected and resulting wage increases in each step can be found in Appendix Tables 1 and 2.

This minimum wage increase would be larger than any other increase that has been enacted in the United States. In addition to the larger breadth of affected workers, the potential increase in wages for those workers would be larger than any previous increase. Over the full six-year phase-in period, affected workers would receive approximately $118 billion in additional annual wages, assuming no change in the number of work hours for these workers.10 Once the increase is fully phased in, the average affected worker who works year-round would earn roughly $3,000 more each year than she does today. Among only those workers who directly benefit, the average year-round worker would get a boost to his or her annual earnings of about $3,900.

The following sections highlight the demographic characteristics—age, sex, race/ethnicity, family composition, hours of work, education, family income, poverty status, and geography—of the workers who would be affected. We count as “affected” both those directly and indirectly affected. The calculations are estimates for 2024. Tables containing all the underlying demographic information, including discrete numbers of affected workers by demographic category, are presented in Appendix A.

Age

The low-wage workers likely to benefit from an increase to the minimum wage are frequently characterized as being primarily teenagers and almost entirely young. Although this would not justify paying them wages significantly lower than those paid to their counterparts a generation ago, this stereotype is also false—and particularly so for beneficiaries of a minimum wage increase to $15. While some low-wage workers are indeed young, the vast majority of workers who would benefit from increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 are adults age 20 or older; only a small fraction are teenagers. As shown in the top graph in Figure F, teens account for a mere 9.3 percent of the workers who would benefit; over 90 percent of affected workers are 20 years old or older.

Figure F

The vast majority of workers who would benefit from an increase to the minimum wage are not teens—most are 25 or older

Projected share of workers benefiting from an increase to $15 by 2024 who are 19 or under versus 20 or older

Share of affected workers
Age 19 or younger 9.3%
Age 20 or older 90.7%
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Share of affected workers who are in each age category

Under age 25 Ages 25–39 Ages 40–54 Ages 55+
32.5% 33.6% 19.3% 14.6%
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Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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The second graph in Figure F breaks down the age distribution of affected workers even further, showing that more than two-thirds of affected workers are at least 25 years old. In fact, workers ages 55 and older make up a larger share of workers who would receive a raise (14.6 percent) than do teens (9.3 percent), and workers ages 40 and older make up a larger share of those who would receive an increase (33.9 percent) than do workers under age 25 (32.5 percent). Among affected workers, the average age is 35 years old.11

Gender

While raising the minimum wage would benefit both women and men, it would disproportionately raise pay for women. As shown in the pie chart in Figure G, women make up 57.9 percent of affected workers. In comparison, women make up only 48.5 percent of the total U.S. workforce.12

Figure G

Women make up a majority of workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024; single parents and women of color would also benefit disproportionately

Shares of affected workers, by gender

Share of total employment
Women 57.9%
Men 42.1%
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Shares of demographic groups that would benefit, by gender

Women Men
All workers 31.7% 21.7%
Working parents 30.2% 13.4%
Working single parents 43.0% 29.4%
Workers of color 35.6% 27.9%
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Note: “Workers of color” includes workers of African American, Hispanic, Asian, and other nonwhite races/ethnicities.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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The magnitude of the impact on women is shown in the bar chart in Figure G. Among all wage-earning women in the United States, 31.7 percent—nearly one in three working women—would receive a raise under a federal minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024. In comparison, 21.7 percent of all wage-earning men would benefit—not as large a share as for women, but still more than one-fifth of all working men.

The bar chart in Figure G also shows, by gender, the shares of workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase by family status and for workers of color. Among working parents with children in their home, 30.2 percent of working mothers would receive a raise, as would 13.4 percent of working fathers. Among single parents, the effects are more dramatic: 43.0 percent of all single mothers would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15 by 2024, as would nearly a third (29.4 percent) of single fathers. Large shares of minority workers would also benefit: 35.6 percent of women of color would receive a raise, along with 27.9 percent of men of color.

Race/ethnicity

As shown in the upper section of Figure H, the majority—52.2 percent—of workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage are white, non-Hispanic workers. Hispanic workers of any race make up the next largest share, at just under a quarter (24.2 percent) of the total affected population. Black workers make up 16.9 percent of the total, and Asian workers and workers of other races/ethnicities make up 6.8 percent of the total.

Figure H

White workers make up a majority of those who would benefit from the Raise the Wage Act, although workers of color would benefit disproportionately

Share of affected workers who are in each major racial/ethnic group

Race White, non-Hispanic Black Hispanic, any race Asian or other race/ethnicity
52.2% 16.9% 24.2% 6.8%
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Share of workers in each racial/ethnic group that would benefit

Race Share of each category
Black 38.1%
Hispanic, any race 33.4%
White, non-Hispanic 23.2%
Asian or other race/ethnicity 19.6%
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Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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Although workers of color are a minority of those who would benefit, they do benefit at significantly higher rates. The lower section of Figure H shows the share of each racial/ethnic group that would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15 by 2024. As the figure shows, 38.1 percent of all black workers would receive higher pay, as would a third (33.4 percent) of Hispanic workers. Nearly one in four (23.2 percent of) white, non-Hispanic workers would get a raise—a slightly higher share than that of Asian workers and those of other races/ethnicities, among whom 19.6 percent would receive higher pay.

Education

Just as there is a common misperception that low-wage workers are mostly young, there is also a common misperception that low-wage workers have low education levels. The reality is that, as shown in Figure I, close to half (44.0 percent) of workers who would be affected by an increase to the minimum wage have at least some college experience, and about one in seven (13.8 percent) have an associate degree or higher.

Figure I

Among those workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024, four in 10 have some college experience

Share of affected workers who are in each educational attainment group

Less than high school High school Some college, no degree Associate degree Bachelor’s degree or higher
19.4% 36.6% 30.2% 7.3% 6.5%
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Share of workers in each educational attainment group that would benefit

Share of category
Less than high school 51.1%
High school 39.2%
Some college, no degree 34.4%
Associate degree 21.5%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 5.3%
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Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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The lower bar graph in Figure I shows the share of workers at each educational level who would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15 by 2024. Not surprisingly, workers with lower levels of education are far more likely to be affected: More than half (51.1 percent) of workers with less than a high school education would receive a pay increase. Still, large shares of those who have completed high school and sought further education would also benefit. More than a third (34.4 percent) of workers with some college experience, yet no degree, would receive a raise, as would more than one-fifth (21.5 percent) of workers with an associate degree.

Hours of work

Many workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase also work longer hours than commonly thought; they are not simply working part-time or after-school jobs. As shown in the upper section of Figure J, 60.0 percent of affected workers work full time (at least 35 hours per week). Another 29.5 percent work between 20 and 34 hours per week, and only 10.5 percent work fewer than 20 hours per week.

Figure J

Among those workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024, most work full time

Shares of affected workers who work full, mid, or part time

Full time (35+ hrs.) Mid time (20–34 hrs.) Part time (<20 hrs.)
60.0% 29.5% 10.5%
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Share of each work-hour group that would benefit

 

Group Share of category
Part time (<20 hrs.) 48.4%
Mid time (20–34 hrs.) 52.8%
Full time (35+ hrs.) 20.1%
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Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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Still, those workers who are not full time are more likely to benefit. The lower bar chart in Figure J shows the share of each group of workers by work-hour category who would receive a raise if the minimum wage were increased to $15. Roughly half (48.4 percent) of workers who work fewer than 20 hours per week would receive a raise, as would 52.8 percent of those working between 20 and 34 hours per week. Among full-time workers, one in five (20.1 percent) would receive a raise.

Many individuals who work less than full time are not opting for fewer hours by choice, but are limited by a lack of available work, or because circumstances—such as the need to care for a family member, or a lack of adequate work supports (access to child care, paid leave, or flexible work schedules)—prevent them from seeking full-time employment (Golden 2016). For these workers, an increase in their hourly rate of pay is arguably even more important, not only because of the increased earnings but also because those increased earnings could provide the resources needed (e.g., money for child care) to allow them to seek more hours of work.

Family income

Again contrary to some portrayals, the majority of workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage come from families of modest means. That being the case, these workers’ wages are likely to constitute an essential contribution to their household’s welfare—rather than simply being “extra” income supplementing a much higher paycheck from a spouse or parents. As shown in Figure K, 76.0 percent of the workers who would receive a raise if the minimum wage were increased to $15 by 2024 have total family incomes of less than $75,000 per year. More than half of affected workers (59.5 percent) have total family incomes below $50,000 per year.

Figure K

Among those workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024, most come from families with modest incomes: Share of affected workers who are in each family income group

Family income level Share
Less than $25,000 32.2%
$25,000– $49,999 27.3%
$50,000– $74,999 16.5%
$75,000– $99,999 9.8%
$100,000– $149,999 9.1%
$150,000 or more 5.1%
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Note: Percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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Some argue that the minimum wage is “poorly targeted” as a tool for alleviating poverty or improving low-income households’ welfare because some of the workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase come from middle-class families. It is false that raising the minimum wage does not reduce poverty—as is explained in the next section—but assessing only the minimum wage’s poverty-reducing effects also disregards an important aspect of the policy. The minimum wage provides protection to workers at all levels of family income—this is a feature, not a bug, of the law. As a labor standard, the minimum wage prevents exploitation of workers, regardless of their family income level. No worker, no matter how wealthy his or her family, should have to work for unacceptably low wages. Moreover, the fact that some low-wage workers do come from middle-class families underscores the point that the erosion in the minimum wage’s value over the past 45 years has hurt both low- and middle-income families.

Poverty status

Some opponents of raising the minimum wage contend that as a policy for reducing economic hardship, the minimum wage is ineffective because many poor people do not work. This is false. As explained in Gould, Davis, and Kimball 2015, the majority of poor people ages 18 to 64 who can work (i.e., they are not in school, retired, or disabled) do work, and over 40 percent work full time. Moreover, increasing the minimum wage is an effective tool for reducing poverty. In a comprehensive review of the literature on the minimum wage’s poverty-reducing effects, Dube (2018) finds that nearly all studies of this relationship show that raising the minimum wage significantly reduces poverty rates. Dube’s study also finds that for every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, over the long run, the poverty rate is expected to decline by 5.3 percent.

Our findings show that the Raise the Wage Act would disproportionately help workers in poverty or near the poverty line. As shown in the top portion of Figure L, nearly half (46.7 percent) of all workers who would be affected by raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 have total family incomes within 200 percent of the poverty line. Another 33.1 percent have family incomes between 201 and 400 percent of the poverty line.

Figure L

The Raise the Wage Act would disproportionately help workers in poverty

Share of affected workers by their family’s income-to-poverty ratio

Income-to-poverty ratio At or below poverty line 101–200% of poverty line 201–400% of poverty line 401% or above Poverty status not available
17.5%  29.2%  33.1% 18.6% 1.5%
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Share of workers in each income-to-poverty group that would get a raise

Income-to-poverty ratio Share of each category
At or below poverty line 67.3%
101–200% of poverty line 53.6%
201–400% of poverty line 28.0%
401% or above 10.6%
Poverty status not available 65.6%
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Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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Indeed, workers living below or near the poverty line are far more likely than higher-income workers to get a pay increase if the minimum wage is raised. The bar chart in the bottom section of Figure L shows that two-thirds (67.3 percent) of all the working poor would receive higher wages as a result of the Raise the Wage Act. More than half (53.6 percent) of those who are “near poor,” with incomes between 101 and 200 percent of the poverty line, would also receive a raise.

Family status and children

Many of the workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage are supporting families and children. As shown in the upper section of Figure M, nearly one-third (30.8 percent) of the affected workers are married, and more than one-quarter (28.3 percent) of affected workers have children. In total, over 11.2 million parents would receive higher pay under a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024. Of these, 5.4 million are single parents, accounting for 13.5 percent of those who would be affected by raising the minimum wage. While this is a relatively small portion of the total beneficiaries, it is larger than their 9.2 percent share of the overall labor force. In other words, single parents would disproportionately benefit from raising the minimum wage.

Figure M

Among those workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase to $15 by 2024, many have families; single parents would disproportionately benefit

Share of affected workers who are in each family status group

Family status Married parent Single parent Married, no children Unmarried, no children
14.8% 13.5% 16.0% 55.7%
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Share of each family status group that would benefit

Family status Share of each category
Married parent 15.6%
Single parent 38.9%
Married, no children 16.5%
Unmarried, no children 37.2%
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Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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The lower bar chart in Figure M shows the shares of workers by family type who would be affected. Among married parents who work, 15.6 percent would receive a raise from increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. Single parents who work would benefit at more than double that rate—38.9 percent would receive higher pay if the minimum wage were raised.

The parents receiving higher pay provide for 14.4 million children across the United States, nearly one-fifth (19.6 percent) of all U.S. children (see Appendix Table 4). It is also worth noting that many children are raised by an adult who is not their biological or adoptive parent; these households are not accounted for in these numbers. Thus, the full benefit to children of a $15 minimum wage is arguably better captured by looking at the impacts for all children with at least one adult in their household who receives a raise—regardless of whether that person is their biological or adoptive parent. There are a total of 17.0 million children (23.2 percent of all U.S. children) with at least one adult in their household—e.g., a parent, grandparent, caretaker, or adult sibling—who will benefit from raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024.

The importance of affected workers’ pay to their family’s total incomes

Low-wage workers are sometimes characterized as “secondary earners,” suggesting that their work earnings are discretionary or inconsequential to their family’s financial health. The data show that this is not at all the case. Roughly half of all workers who would be affected by raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 are either married or have children, and these workers earn, on average, 51.9 percent of their family’s total income. Of these workers with families, 32.2 percent are the sole providers of their family’s income.13

Geography

Not surprisingly, the share of workers in each state who would be affected by a federal minimum wage increase varies considerably, largely due to the fact that many states, and a growing number of cities and counties, have already enacted minimum wage increases that will have lifted a sizeable share of their state or local workforces out of the affected range.14 As the increases in those states’ and localities’ minimum wages “ripple up” through the wage distribution, the number of workers who would be affected by the enactment of a higher federal minimum by 2024 is reduced.

Figure N shows the share of each state’s resident workforce that would be affected if the federal minimum wage were raised to $15 by 2024. Because California and Massachusetts will already have state minimum wages of $15 in 2023, very few California or Massachusetts workers would be affected by the change in the federal minimum wage—although a small number who commute to out-of-state jobs would be impacted. The District of Columbia is raising its minimum wage to $15 in 2020 and so few workers in the district would benefit from the new federal minimum. However, a relatively small number of workers in both D.C. and Massachusetts—those who customarily receives tips as a portion of their wages—will benefit from the Raise the Wage Act’s increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers. Tipped workers in California are already paid the full minimum wage before tips, so they will not be affected by the federal policy change. New York is raising the minimum wage in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County to $15 before 2024, but not in the upstate region of the state; upstate workers would therefore still be affected by the federal change (as would tipped workers throughout the state). In total, 12.5 percent of New York workers would receive a raise as a result of the rising federal minimum wage and tipped minimum wage.

Figure N

Workers across the country would get a pay hike from the Raise the Wage Act: Share of workforce in each state that would be affected if the federal minimum wage is raised to $15 by 2024

State Total share of workforce affected Total affected Change in avg. annual earnings of state’s affected year-round workers (2018$) Real percent change in avg. annual earnings Change in total annual wages of state’s affected workers (2018$)
Alabama 37.5% 754,000 $3,700 18.0% $2,820,747,000
Alaska 23.4% 82,000 $2,800 11.9% $226,885,000
Arizona 34.8% 1,040,000 $900 3.7% $928,148,000
Arkansas 39.2% 487,000 $2,300 9.9% $1,099,408,000
California 0.1% 11,000 $1,800 7.2% $20,219,000
Colorado 28.5% 760,000 $800 3.4% $602,641,000
Connecticut 26.3% 465,000 $2,300 11.8% $1,068,581,000
Delaware 33.5% 145,000 $3,100 14.8% $442,554,000
Washington D.C. 4.2% 15,000 $2,500 9.4% $37,733,000
Florida 36.9% 3,275,000 $3,200 14.9% $10,487,542,000
Georgia 34.7% 1,575,000 $3,700 17.6% $5,840,009,000
Hawaii 33.2% 237,000 $2,300 10.6% $554,940,000
Idaho 38.1% 271,000 $3,600 17.5% $977,421,000
Illinois 32.9% 2,012,000 $2,200 10.2% $4,490,026,000
Indiana 36.8% 1,113,000 $3,200 15.9% $3,597,951,000
Iowa 35.3% 538,000 $3,000 15.2% $1,628,645,000
Kansas 34.9% 480,000 $3,100 14.7% $1,484,708,000
Kentucky 37.2% 692,000 $3,900 18.9% $2,685,891,000
Louisiana 37.5% 745,000 $4,000 18.9% $2,996,969,000
Maine 32.9% 203,000 $1,000 4.6% $208,705,000
Maryland 22.1% 670,000 $2,700 12.8% $1,839,055,000
Massachusetts 3.5% 121,000 $1,900 8.5% $227,502,000
Michigan 33.6% 1,469,000 $2,500 11.9% $3,613,068,000
Minnesota 15.3% 425,000 $1,800 9.5% $777,756,000
Mississippi 41.6% 499,000 $4,200 20.1% $2,097,470,000
Missouri 32.9% 909,000 $1,800 8.6% $1,680,153,000
Montana 36.7% 168,000 $2,500 12.5% $423,578,000
Nebraska 33.3% 316,000 $2,400 11.5% $756,360,000
Nevada 40.3% 555,000 $3,100 13.4% $1,712,021,000
New Hampshire 25.5% 173,000 $2,700 14.0% $460,586,000
New Jersey 25.5% 1,123,000 $2,800 13.7% $3,128,308,000
New Mexico 39.3% 363,000 $3,200 15.1% $1,165,722,000
New York 12.5% 1,183,000 $900 3.9% $1,078,848,000
North Carolina 35.5% 1,587,000 $3,800 18.4% $6,017,683,000
North Dakota 28.7% 109,000 $2,700 13.0% $294,557,000
Ohio 34.9% 1,849,000 $3,000 14.7% $5,514,513,000
Oklahoma 35.1% 602,000 $3,800 17.9% $2,276,758,000
Oregon 17.6% 319,000 $600 2.7% $204,419,000
Pennsylvania 33.9% 2,004,000 $3,300 16.9% $6,698,663,000
Rhode Island 27.5% 142,000 $2,000 10.0% $290,337,000
South Carolina 34.5% 736,000 $3,600 17.4% $2,674,401,000
South Dakota 34.4% 142,000 $2,400 11.0% $339,289,000
Tennessee 36.5% 1,069,000 $3,600 17.0% $3,854,280,000
Texas 35.8% 4,712,000 $4,000 18.8% $18,781,857,000
Utah 35.8% 488,000 $3,000 15.4% $1,443,535,000
Vermont 28.9% 87,000 $1,500 6.8% $128,792,000
Virginia 29.4% 1,187,000 $3,500 17.1% $4,172,251,000
Washington 15.4% 513,000 $200 0.9% $116,339,000
West Virginia 35.5% 255,000 $3,100 14.9% $800,502,000
Wisconsin 32.1% 909,000 $3,200 16.6% $2,887,627,000
Wyoming 31.8% 88,000 $3,500 16.8% $311,194,000

Note: The map is colored based on the share of the state workforce that would be affected.

The map is colored based on the share of the state workforce that would be affected. Values reflect the result of the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state minimum wage laws are accounted for in the simulation. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Total estimated workers is estimated from the CPS respondents who were 16 years old or older, employed, but not self-employed, and for whom a valid hourly wage is either reported or can be determined from weekly earnings and usual weekly hours.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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Among states that will not already have a $15 minimum wage by 2024, the smallest impacts would be in Washington and Minnesota, where just over 15 percent of the workforce would receive a raise. Washington’s state minimum wage is scheduled to go to $13.50 in 2020 with automatic adjustments for inflation thereafter, and the city of Seattle raised its minimum wage to $15 for all businesses as of January 2019. In Minnesota, the state minimum wage is $9.86 as of January 2019, and it will be adjusted for inflation in subsequent years; however, both Minneapolis and St. Paul will have local $15 minimum wages by 2022. Because the Twin Cities make up the majority of the state labor market, the changing federal minimum has less of an impact on the state as a whole.

In contrast, the share of the workforce that would be impacted by a federal increase is significantly larger in states with low minimum wages—or, in some cases, no minimum wage—such as in Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Idaho.15 Workers in the Southeast, in particular, are most likely to see a pay increase if the federal minimum wage is raised. The largest impact would be in Mississippi, where more than four in 10 workers (41.6 percent) are likely to be affected by the bill, and the average affected worker would receive a 20 percent raise—the largest average raise of any state’s workforce.

Other aspects of the proposal

In addition to the six phased-in increases from 2019 to 2024, the Raise the Wage Act would also “index” the minimum wage to the median wage and (as mentioned in the previous section) would gradually phase out the subminimum wage for tipped workers. This section explains how these two provisions would benefit workers.

Indexing to the median wage

After the minimum wage reaches $15 in 2024, the Raise the Wage Act would index the minimum wage to the median wage so that in subsequent years, as wages throughout the workforce rise, the minimum wage would automatically be lifted to maintain its value relative to the median wage. This is different from how most minimum wage indexing has been done in the past. Currently 17 states and the District of Columbia have enacted indexing of their state minimum wages to changes in prices, typically as measured by changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). (The automatic annual adjustments this indexing mandates have not yet taken effect in all of these states.) Indexing to prices prevents any erosion in the minimum’s real (inflation-adjusted) value, thereby ensuring that low-wage workers can still afford the same amount of goods and services year after year. This is certainly advantageous relative to having no indexing; however, indexing to prices effectively legislates that the lowest-paid workers never see any material improvement in their quality of life. The real value of the minimum wage remains frozen, regardless of increases in overall labor productivity or technological advances that improve the country’s ability to improve living standards.

In contrast, linking the minimum wage to the median wage ensures that low-wage workers do not lose ground relative to typical workers. As Zipperer (2015b) explains, indexing to the median wage “links the minimum wage to overall conditions in the labor market.” To the extent that productivity improvements and technological progress result in higher wages for the typical U.S. worker, so too will minimum wage workers see their hourly pay rise. It is of course true that both low- and middle-wage workers have seen their hourly pay lag relative to productivity growth in recent decades. A stronger minimum wage ensures that the vast majority of U.S. workers share a common trajectory of wage growth. But the minimum wage needs to be complemented by other policies to ensure that wage growth for this entire vast majority rises in step with overall productivity growth.16

Another good reason for indexing to the median wage rather than to price indices is that wages are less volatile than prices. Price indices, such as the CPI, are subject to unpredictable changes in the price of food and energy that may be driven by temporary events, such as political instability or natural disasters. Wages, on the other hand, tend to be more stable, rising as fast—or faster—than prices over the long term, and with greater predictability for employers and employees alike (see Zipperer 2015b or Shierholz 2009).

Eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped workers

Under current federal law, employers of workers who customarily receive tips are only required to pay their tipped staff a base wage of $2.13 per hour, provided employees’ weekly income from tips plus their base wage equates to an hourly rate of at least the minimum wage. As explained by Allegretto and Cooper (2014), this separate wage standard results in a host of problems for tipped workers, including dramatically higher poverty rates and greater reliance on public assistance. Contrary to a common perception that waitstaff and bartenders make lavish incomes from tips, the vast majority of tipped work is low-paying. From 2014 to 2016, the median wage for tipped workers, including earnings from tips, was $11.00 per hour—37 percent less than the median wage of workers who do not rely on tips (Cooper 2017). Because the majority of tipped workers’ pay is from tips—as opposed to a regular paycheck—weekly income can be highly erratic and subject to a greater incidence of wage theft (Allegretto and Cooper 2014).17 Moreover, the fact that most tipped workers are women means that the inequities produced by this separate wage system exacerbate existing gender-based wage inequality (see National Women’s Law Center 2016).

The Raise the Wage Act would raise the subminimum wage for tipped workers over nine years until it reaches parity with the full minimum wage, as is currently the case in seven states.18 These seven states have significantly lower poverty rates among tipped workers than the states where tipped workers are paid a lower base wage. At the same time, growth in the restaurant industry has been as strong, if not stronger, in the states where tipped and nontipped employees are treated equally. This suggests that requiring employers to pay regular wages to tipped workers has had no significant negative effect on the growth of the restaurant industry (Allegretto 2013).

Effects on job growth and workers’ welfare

Whenever any minimum wage increase is proposed, concerns are always raised about the impact such a policy change might have on the employment of low-wage workers.19 Given this, it is not surprising that the effect of the minimum wage on employment has been one of the most heavily studied topics in economics, particularly since the 1990s. A full review of that literature is beyond the scope of this report; Schmitt (2013), Kuehn (2014), and Wolfson and Belman (2016), however, offer useful summaries.

The overwhelming conclusion of this literature has been that past increases in minimum wages have had little to no effect on employment. In their meta-analysis of 739 estimated effects from 37 published studies on the minimum wage and employment between 2000 and 2015, Wolfson and Belman (2016) find “no support for the proposition that the minimum wage has had an important effect on U.S. employment.” Moreover, Allegretto et al. (2017) find that studies that employ the most credible research designs (comparing similar jurisdictions that have raised their minimum wage with those that have not) also find little to no effect on employment. In other words, both the average study and the highest-quality studies find little to no impact of the minimum wage on employment.

In what has been hailed as the most important work on the minimum wage in 25 years, Cengiz et al. (2019) use a novel methodology to estimate the employment effect of minimum wages by examining 138 state minimum wage changes that occurred in the United States between 1979 and 2014.20 They find that even with minimum wages rising as high as 55 percent of the median wage, there was no evidence of any reduction in the total number of jobs for low-wage workers.21 Moreover, the researchers examined effects specifically for workers without a college degree, underrepresented minorities, and young workers—groups that might have greater difficulty in finding work—and still found no evidence of substantial job losses.

This large body of research is useful for understanding the appropriateness of the minimum wage level proposed by the Raise the Wage Act of 2019. Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would bring the U.S. wage floor above its historical high point, both in absolute terms and relative to the wages of middle-wage workers. As noted in Figure C in the first section of this report, a minimum wage of $15 would likely equal between 56 and 58 percent of the full-time median wage in 2024—just slightly beyond the range of minimum wages that have been studied. Given that research on the existing experience of the minimum wage in the United States has never led to evidence of meaningful negative effect on employment, Cooper, Mishel, and Zipperer (2018) explain that raising the minimum wage beyond historical experience is, in fact, the optimal policy choice. If existing research has shown that prior minimum wage increases have had no clear, detectable downside, then any increase that does not exceed past experience would leave money on the table that could otherwise have been earned by low-wage workers.

Furthermore, Cooper, Mishel, and Zipperer go on to explain that the narrow focus on potential employment effects of minimum wage increases is a deeply flawed way of evaluating the merits of the policy, since what matters most is not whether the minimum wage changes someone’s work status at any given time, but how the policy affects his or her total earnings. For example, even in the scenario where a minimum wage increase had a negative effect on job growth, there is no reason to assume that anyone would be worse off. Any reduction in job growth is implicitly a reduction in the total hours worked by low-wage workers. Because there is a high degree of churn in the low-wage labor market—i.e., low-wage workers cycle in and out of jobs frequently—it is likely that any reduction in hours would be spread across many low-wage workers, with some working fewer hours per week and others having longer spells between jobs throughout the year. However, because they will all be earning more per hour than they would have otherwise, it’s entirely possible that few, if any, workers will actually see a reduction in their total annual take-home pay.

Indeed, two recent studies show that regardless of any potential employment changes, minimum wage increases have had clear positive effects on the total annual incomes of low-wage workers and their families. Dube (2018) shows that minimum wage increases raised family incomes at the bottom of the income distribution. Using high-quality administrative data, Rinz and Voorheis (2018)—researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau—find that minimum wage increases raised individual incomes and that those income gains accelerated for up to five years after the policy change. In other words, any potential hours reductions or other decreases in employment that might have resulted from past minimum wage increase were apparently not large enough to reduce overall annual earnings for low-wage families.

Conclusion

Since its inception during the Great Depression, a strong minimum wage has been recognized as a key labor market institution that, if effectively maintained, can provide the foundation for equitable and adequate pay for American workers. However, the failure to regularly and adequately raise the federal minimum wage over the past five decades is one of several policy failures that have denied a generation of American workers more significant improvement in their quality of life. In fact, the erosion of the minimum wage has left low-wage workers today earning significantly less than their counterparts 50 years ago.

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would take its value to a level that finally ensures full-time work is a means to escape poverty, and it would provide tens of millions of America’s lowest-paid workers with a substantial, long-overdue improvement in their standard of living. Past increases in the minimum wage have been inadequate to preserve low-wage workers’ standard of living, let alone allow them to share in the broader benefits of rising productivity and a growing economy. In contrast, the Raise the Wage Act of 2019 is a bold proposal that would achieve these goals.

Automating future increases by indexing to growth in the median wage would ensure workers at the bottom of the wage scale are never again left behind as productivity improvements lead to broader improvements in wages. In addition, gradually raising and eliminating the separate lower wage for tipped workers would eliminate the disparities in labor protections and living standards that currently exist between tipped and nontipped workers. These actions would significantly improve the well-being of millions of American workers and their families, and they would help to reduce long-standing race- and gender-based wage inequities.

Decades of research have shown that past minimum wage increases have had their intended effect—raising incomes for low-wage workers with little, if any, negative impact on their employment. As lawmakers propose lifting the U.S. wage floor to new heights, this research affirms their ambition. Anything less would be needlessly timid and would potentially deprive millions of low-wage workers of earnings they could have had with little cost.

About the author

David Cooper joined the Economic Policy Institute in 2011. As senior economic analyst, he conducts national and state-level research, with a focus on the minimum wage, employment and unemployment, poverty, and wage and income trends. Cooper is also the deputy director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national network of over 60 state-level policy research and advocacy organizations.

Cooper has testified at numerous state and municipal hearings on the challenges facing low-wage workers and their families. His analyses on the impact of minimum wage laws have been used by policymakers and advocates in city halls and statehouses across the country as well as in Congress and the White House. He has been interviewed and cited by numerous local and national media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and NPR.

He holds Master of Public Policy and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Georgetown University.

Appendix: Data tables

Appendix Table 1

Summary of minimum wage increases under the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, and number of workers affected by the increases, 2019–2024

Date New minimum wage Increase New tipped minimum wage Tipped minimum increase Total estimated U.S. workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Indirectly affected (thousands) Total affected (thousands) Affected workers’ share of U.S. workforce
July 2019 $8.55 $1.30 $3.60 $1.47 145,172 2,890 4,668 7,558 5.2%
July 2020 $9.85 $1.30 $5.10 $1.50 145,957 7,345 8,255 15,600 10.7%
July 2021 $11.15 $1.30 $6.60 $1.50 146,766 14,043 7,466 21,510 14.7%
July 2022 $12.45 $1.30 $8.10 $1.50 147,599 18,419 8,639 27,059 18.3%
July 2023 $13.75 $1.30 $9.60 $1.50 148,457 22,082 11,770 33,853 22.8%
July 2024 $15.00 $1.25 $11.10 $1.50 149,340 28,078 11,595 39,673 26.6%

Notes: Values reflect the result of the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate exceeds their existing hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage. Wage increase totals are cumulative of all preceding steps.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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Appendix Table 2

Wage impacts of increasing the minimum wage under the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, 2019–2024 (2018$)

Directly affected workers All (directly & indirectly) affected workers
Date New minimum wage (nominal $) New minimum wage 2018$) New tipped minimum wage (nominal $) New tipped minimum wage 2018$) Total wage increase (thousands) Change in avg. hourly wage Change in avg. annual income (year-round workers) Real percent change in avg. annual income Total wage increase (thousands) Change in avg. hourly wage Change in avg. annual earnings (year-round workers) Real percent change in avg. annual earnings
July 2019 $8.55 $8.35 $3.60 $3.52 $3,110,218 $0.76 $1,080 9.9% $5,327,000 $0.46 $700 4.8%
July 2020 $9.85 $9.39 $5.10 $4.86 $10,795,424 $1.01 $1,470 11.4% $14,723,132 $0.62 $940 5.9%
July 2021 $11.15 $10.37 $6.60 $6.14 $25,628,622 $1.21 $1,820 12.0% $30,162,310 $0.91 $1,400 8.1%
July 2022 $12.45 $11.30 $8.10 $7.35 $48,383,312 $1.69 $2,630 16.2% $53,675,376 $1.26 $1,980 10.6%
July 2023 $13.75 $12.18 $9.60 $8.50 $76,943,540 $2.19 $3,480 20.2% $84,224,367 $1.55 $2,490 12.5%
July 2024 $15.00 $12.98 $11.10 $9.60 $109,348,838 $2.40 $3,890 20.9% $117,967,152 $1.83 $2,970 14.0%

Notes: Values reflect the result of the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI's Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage. Wage increase totals are cumulative of all preceding steps.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 3

Demographic characteristics of workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All workers 149,340 28,078 18.8% 11,595 7.8% 39,673 26.6% 100.0%
Gender
Women 72,465 16,478 22.7% 6,479 8.9% 22,957 31.7% 57.9%
Men 76,875 11,600 15.1% 5,116 6.7% 16,716 21.7% 42.1%
Age
Age 19 or younger 5,213 3,366 64.6% 337 6.5% 3,702 71.0% 9.3%
Age 20 or older 144,126 24,712 17.1% 11,258 7.8% 35,970 25.0% 90.7%
Ages 16–24 20,313 10,834 53.3% 2,052 10.1% 12,886 63.4% 32.5%
Ages 25–39 50,239 8,890 17.7% 4,446 8.9% 13,336 26.5% 33.6%
Ages 40–54 47,723 4,632 9.7% 3,011 6.3% 7,643 16.0% 19.3%
Age 55 or older 31,065 3,722 12.0% 2,086 6.7% 5,807 18.7% 14.6%
Race/ethnicity
White 89,375 14,187 15.9% 6,514 7.3% 20,701 23.2% 52.2%
Black 17,564 5,079 28.9% 1,621 9.2% 6,700 38.1% 16.9%
Hispanic 28,702 6,984 24.3% 2,598 9.1% 9,583 33.4% 24.2%
Asian 9,641 909 9.4% 526 5.5% 1,435 14.9% 3.6%
Other race/ethnicity 4,057 919 22.6% 335 8.3% 1,254 30.9% 3.2%
Women of color 29,027 7,792 26.8% 2,554 8.8% 10,346 35.6% 26.1%
Men of color 30,937 6,099 19.7% 2,526 8.2% 8,626 27.9% 21.7%
Family status
Married parent 37,727 3,656 9.7% 2,231 5.9% 5,887 15.6% 14.8%
Single parent 13,783 3,877 28.1% 1,478 10.7% 5,355 38.9% 13.5%
Married, no children 38,401 3,929 10.2% 2,413 6.3% 6,342 16.5% 16.0%
Unmarried, no children 59,430 16,616 28.0% 5,473 9.2% 22,089 37.2% 55.7%
Education
Less than high school 15,045 6,159 40.9% 1,529 10.2% 7,688 51.1% 19.4%
High school 37,103 10,299 27.8% 4,233 11.4% 14,532 39.2% 36.6%
Some college, no degree 34,755 8,536 24.6% 3,429 9.9% 11,965 34.4% 30.2%
Associate degree 13,495 1,801 13.3% 1,105 8.2% 2,906 21.5% 7.3%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 48,942 1,282 2.6% 1,299 2.7% 2,582 5.3% 6.5%
Family income
Less than $25,000 20,098 10,276 51.1% 2,516 12.5% 12,792 63.6% 32.2%
$25,000–$49,999 30,386 6,930 22.8% 3,882 12.8% 10,812 35.6% 27.3%
$50,000–$74,999 27,730 4,344 15.7% 2,189 7.9% 6,533 23.6% 16.5%
$75,000–$99,999 21,733 2,597 12.0% 1,288 5.9% 3,885 17.9% 9.8%
$100,000–$149,999 26,711 2,506 9.4% 1,120 4.2% 3,626 13.6% 9.1%
$150,000 or more 22,682 1,425 6.3% 600 2.6% 2,025 8.9% 5.1%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 10,292 5,914 57.5% 1,013 9.8% 6,927 67.3% 17.5%
101–200% of poverty line 21,646 8,410 38.9% 3,190 14.7% 11,600 53.6% 29.2%
201–400% of poverty line 46,889 8,341 17.8% 4,798 10.2% 13,138 28.0% 33.1%
401% or above 69,575 4,858 7.0% 2,535 3.6% 7,393 10.6% 18.6%
Poverty status not available 938 555 59.2% 60 6.4% 615 65.6% 1.5%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 8,637 3,398 39.3% 784 9.1% 4,182 48.4% 10.5%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 22,177 9,349 42.2% 2,352 10.6% 11,701 52.8% 29.5%
Full time (35+ hours) 118,525 15,331 12.9% 8,458 7.1% 23,789 20.1% 60.0%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 2,434 523 21.5% 184 7.6% 707 29.1% 1.8%
Construction 8,228 993 12.1% 618 7.5% 1,611 19.6% 4.1%
Manufacturing 16,443 2,017 12.3% 1,138 6.9% 3,155 19.2% 8.0%
Wholesale trade 4,072 543 13.3% 280 6.9% 823 20.2% 2.1%
Retail trade 17,572 6,071 34.6% 1,739 9.9% 7,811 44.4% 19.7%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 7,773 799 10.3% 494 6.4% 1,293 16.6% 3.3%
Information 3,188 263 8.2% 130 4.1% 392 12.3% 1.0%
Finance, insurance, real estate 9,531 656 6.9% 442 4.6% 1,098 11.5% 2.8%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 9,256 381 4.1% 240 2.6% 620 6.7% 1.6%
Administrative, support, and waste management 5,968 1,646 27.6% 584 9.8% 2,231 37.4% 5.6%
Education 14,673 1,725 11.8% 759 5.2% 2,483 16.9% 6.3%
Health care 21,437 3,952 18.4% 1,613 7.5% 5,565 26.0% 14.0%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 3,028 960 31.7% 357 11.8% 1,317 43.5% 3.3%
Accommodation 1,803 700 38.8% 246 13.7% 947 52.5% 2.4%
Restaurants and food service 10,290 4,995 48.5% 1,691 16.4% 6,686 65.0% 16.9%
Other services 6,039 1,508 25.0% 818 13.5% 2,326 38.5% 5.9%
Public administration 7,606 346 4.5% 262 3.4% 607 8.0% 1.5%
Tipped occupations
Tipped workers 4,393 1,778 40.5% 1,828 41.6% 3,606 82.1% 9.1%
Nontipped workers 144,947 26,300 18.1% 9,767 6.7% 36,067 24.9% 90.9%
Sector
For-profit 113,570 24,250 21.4% 9,760 8.6% 34,010 29.9% 85.7%
Government 22,641 2,027 9.0% 1,037 4.6% 3,064 13.5% 7.7%
Nonprofit 13,128 1,801 13.7% 798 6.1% 2,599 19.8% 6.6%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

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Appendix Table 4

Number and share of U.S. children affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024

In directly affected households In indirectly affected households
Group Number (thousands) Share of U.S. children* Number (thousands) Share of U.S. children* Total number affected (thousands) Total share of U.S. children* affected
Children with at least one parent† who would benefit 9,433 12.9% 4,956 6.8% 14,389 19.6%
Children with at least one adult† in the household who would benefit 12,432 16.9% 5,645 7.7% 18,077 24.6%

* Shares are out of an estimated total of 73,356,000 children living in the United States.

† “Parent” refers to the biological or adoptive parent of a child. “Adult” refers to any adult living in the child’s household—e.g., parent, grandparent, caretaker, or adult sibling.

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Sources: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Estimate for total number of U.S. children comes from U.S. Census Bureau 2017.

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Appendix Table 5

Summary of impact of increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 (in 2024), by state

State Total estimated state workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share of state workforce directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share of state workforce indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Total share of state workforce affected State’s share of total affected nationally Change in total annual wages of state’s affected workers (2018$, thousands) Change in avg. annual earnings of state’s affected year-round workers (2018$) Real percent change in avg. annual earnings
National total 149,340 28,078 18.8% 11,595 7.8% 39,673 26.6% 100.0% $117,967,152 $3,000 14.0%
Alabama 2,010 581 28.9% 172 8.6% 754 37.5% 1.9% $2,820,747 $3,700 18.0%
Alaska 350 64 18.3% 18 5.1% 82 23.4% 0.2% $226,885 $2,800 11.9%
Arizona 2,986 694 23.2% 346 11.6% 1,040 34.8% 2.6% $928,148 $900 3.7%
Arkansas 1,243 369 29.7% 118 9.5% 487 39.2% 1.2% $1,099,408 $2,300 9.9%
California 18,753 7 0.0% 4 0.0% 11 0.1% 0.0% $20,219 $1,800 7.2%
Colorado 2,667 447 16.8% 313 11.7% 760 28.5% 1.9% $602,641 $800 3.4%
Connecticut 1,768 332 18.8% 132 7.5% 465 26.3% 1.2% $1,068,581 $2,300 11.8%
Delaware 433 111 25.6% 34 7.8% 145 33.5% 0.4% $442,554 $3,100 14.8%
District of Columbia 361 7 1.8% 9 2.4% 15 4.2% 0.0% $37,733 $2,500 9.4%
Florida 8,874 2,501 28.2% 774 8.7% 3,275 36.9% 8.3% $10,487,542 $3,200 14.9%
Georgia 4,533 1,205 26.6% 369 8.1% 1,575 34.7% 4.0% $5,840,009 $3,700 17.6%
Hawaii 714 175 24.5% 62 8.7% 237 33.2% 0.6% $554,940 $2,300 10.6%
Idaho 710 201 28.3% 69 9.8% 271 38.1% 0.7% $977,421 $3,600 17.5%
Illinois 6,121 1,031 16.8% 981 16.0% 2,012 32.9% 5.1% $4,490,026 $2,200 10.2%
Indiana 3,022 818 27.1% 294 9.7% 1,113 36.8% 2.8% $3,597,951 $3,200 15.9%
Iowa 1,525 406 26.6% 132 8.7% 538 35.3% 1.4% $1,628,645 $3,000 15.2%
Kansas 1,377 341 24.7% 140 10.1% 480 34.9% 1.2% $1,484,708 $3,100 14.7%
Kentucky 1,860 533 28.7% 159 8.5% 692 37.2% 1.7% $2,685,891 $3,900 18.9%
Louisiana 1,985 560 28.2% 185 9.3% 745 37.5% 1.9% $2,996,969 $4,000 18.9%
Maine 617 123 20.0% 80 12.9% 203 32.9% 0.5% $208,705 $1,000 4.6%
Maryland 3,032 479 15.8% 191 6.3% 670 22.1% 1.7% $1,839,055 $2,700 12.8%
Massachusetts 3,456 33 1.0% 87 2.5% 121 3.5% 0.3% $227,502 $1,900 8.5%
Michigan 4,367 1,050 24.1% 419 9.6% 1,469 33.6% 3.7% $3,613,068 $2,500 11.9%
Minnesota 2,773 323 11.7% 101 3.7% 425 15.3% 1.1% $777,756 $1,800 9.5%
Mississippi 1,199 396 33.0% 103 8.6% 499 41.6% 1.3% $2,097,470 $4,200 20.1%
Missouri 2,760 677 24.5% 232 8.4% 909 32.9% 2.3% $1,680,153 $1,800 8.6%
Montana 457 128 28.0% 40 8.7% 168 36.7% 0.4% $423,578 $2,500 12.5%
Nebraska 949 227 23.9% 89 9.4% 316 33.3% 0.8% $756,360 $2,400 11.5%
Nevada 1,379 396 28.7% 159 11.6% 555 40.3% 1.4% $1,712,021 $3,100 13.4%
New Hampshire 679 123 18.1% 50 7.4% 173 25.5% 0.4% $460,586 $2,700 14.0%
New Jersey 4,397 796 18.1% 326 7.4% 1,123 25.5% 2.8% $3,128,308 $2,800 13.7%
New Mexico 923 280 30.3% 83 9.0% 363 39.3% 0.9% $1,165,722 $3,200 15.1%
New York 9,450 504 5.3% 680 7.2% 1,183 12.5% 3.0% $1,078,848 $900 3.9%
North Carolina 4,474 1,227 27.4% 360 8.0% 1,587 35.5% 4.0% $6,017,683 $3,800 18.4%
North Dakota 380 77 20.2% 32 8.5% 109 28.7% 0.3% $294,557 $2,700 13.0%
Ohio 5,305 1,419 26.7% 430 8.1% 1,849 34.9% 4.7% $5,514,513 $3,000 14.7%
Oklahoma 1,714 438 25.6% 164 9.6% 602 35.1% 1.5% $2,276,758 $3,800 17.9%
Oregon 1,816 73 4.0% 246 13.6% 319 17.6% 0.8% $204,419 $600 2.7%
Pennsylvania 5,910 1,475 25.0% 529 9.0% 2,004 33.9% 5.1% $6,698,663 $3,300 16.9%
Rhode Island 516 92 17.9% 50 9.6% 142 27.5% 0.4% $290,337 $2,000 10.0%
South Carolina 2,132 527 24.7% 209 9.8% 736 34.5% 1.9% $2,674,401 $3,600 17.4%
South Dakota 414 102 24.7% 40 9.7% 142 34.4% 0.4% $339,289 $2,400 11.0%
Tennessee 2,926 796 27.2% 274 9.4% 1,069 36.5% 2.7% $3,854,280 $3,600 17.0%
Texas 13,157 3,624 27.5% 1,088 8.3% 4,712 35.8% 11.9% $18,781,857 $4,000 18.8%
Utah 1,364 364 26.7% 124 9.1% 488 35.8% 1.2% $1,443,535 $3,000 15.4%
Vermont 302 63 20.8% 25 8.1% 87 28.9% 0.2% $128,792 $1,500 6.8%
Virginia 4,034 895 22.2% 293 7.3% 1,187 29.4% 3.0% $4,172,251 $3,500 17.1%
Washington 3,340 56 1.7% 456 13.7% 513 15.4% 1.3% $116,339 $200 0.9%
West Virginia 718 195 27.2% 59 8.3% 255 35.5% 0.6% $800,502 $3,100 14.9%
Wisconsin 2,832 670 23.7% 239 8.5% 909 32.1% 2.3% $2,887,627 $3,200 16.6%
Wyoming 278 65 23.2% 24 8.6% 88 31.8% 0.2% $311,194 $3,500 16.8%

Notes: Values reflect the result of the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers would see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They would receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 6

Demographic characteristics of women workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage by $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All women workers 72,465 16,478 22.7% 6,479 8.9% 22,957 31.7% 100.0%
Age
Age 19 or younger 2,710 1,770 65.3% 166 6.1% 1,936 71.4% 8.4%
Age 20 or older 69,754 14,708 21.1% 6,313 9.1% 21,021 30.1% 91.6%
Ages 16–24 10,171 5,659 55.6% 997 9.8% 6,655 65.4% 29.0%
Ages 25–39 23,678 5,014 21.2% 2,282 9.6% 7,297 30.8% 31.8%
Ages 40–54 23,162 3,277 14.1% 1,884 8.1% 5,161 22.3% 22.5%
Age 55 or older 15,454 2,528 16.4% 1,316 8.5% 3,843 24.9% 16.7%
Race/ethnicity
White 43,437 8,686 20.0% 3,925 9.0% 12,611 29.0% 54.9%
Black 9,658 3,043 31.5% 918 9.5% 3,961 41.0% 17.3%
Hispanic 12,599 3,664 29.1% 1,137 9.0% 4,801 38.1% 20.9%
Asian 4,710 552 11.7% 312 6.6% 864 18.3% 3.8%
Other race/ethnicity 2,060 533 25.9% 187 9.1% 720 35.0% 3.1%
Women of color 29,027 7,792 26.8% 2,554 8.8% 10,346 35.6% 26.1%
Family status
Married parent 16,375 2,440 14.9% 1,269 7.8% 3,709 22.7% 16.2%
Single parent 9,565 3,053 31.9% 1,063 11.1% 4,116 43.0% 17.9%
Married, no children 18,223 2,593 14.2% 1,505 8.3% 4,098 22.5% 17.9%
Unmarried, no children 28,302 8,392 29.7% 2,641 9.3% 11,033 39.0% 48.1%
Education
Less than high school 5,858 3,026 51.7% 545 9.3% 3,571 61.0% 15.6%
High school 16,211 5,962 36.8% 2,249 13.9% 8,211 50.7% 35.8%
Some college, no degree 17,487 5,352 30.6% 2,068 11.8% 7,420 42.4% 32.3%
Associate degree 7,542 1,242 16.5% 749 9.9% 1,991 26.4% 8.7%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 25,366 896 3.5% 869 3.4% 1,764 7.0% 7.7%
Family income
Less than $25,000 10,654 5,959 55.9% 1,266 11.9% 7,225 67.8% 31.5%
$25,000–$49,999 15,084 4,129 27.4% 2,053 13.6% 6,181 41.0% 26.9%
$50,000–$74,999 13,315 2,669 20.0% 1,315 9.9% 3,984 29.9% 17.4%
$75,000–$99,999 10,366 1,533 14.8% 812 7.8% 2,345 22.6% 10.2%
$100,000–$149,999 12,573 1,418 11.3% 681 5.4% 2,099 16.7% 9.1%
$150,000 or more 10,472 770 7.4% 352 3.4% 1,122 10.7% 4.9%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 5,827 3,602 61.8% 534 9.2% 4,136 71.0% 18.0%
101–200% of poverty line 10,896 4,874 44.7% 1,663 15.3% 6,537 60.0% 28.5%
201–400% of poverty line 22,579 4,916 21.8% 2,695 11.9% 7,611 33.7% 33.2%
401% or above 32,602 2,749 8.4% 1,555 4.8% 4,304 13.2% 18.7%
Poverty status not available 560 336 59.9% 33 5.9% 369 65.8% 1.6%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 5,570 2,160 38.8% 538 9.7% 2,698 48.4% 11.8%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 14,090 5,837 41.4% 1,553 11.0% 7,390 52.4% 32.2%
Full time (35+ hours) 52,805 8,480 16.1% 4,389 8.3% 12,869 24.4% 56.1%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 496 120 24.2% 39 7.8% 159 31.9% 0.7%
Construction 811 103 12.7% 62 7.6% 165 20.3% 0.7%
Manufacturing 4,806 968 20.1% 466 9.7% 1,434 29.8% 6.2%
Wholesale trade 1,235 212 17.2% 101 8.2% 313 25.3% 1.4%
Retail trade 8,726 3,660 41.9% 969 11.1% 4,630 53.1% 20.2%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 1,961 272 13.9% 161 8.2% 433 22.1% 1.9%
Information 1,327 152 11.5% 79 5.9% 231 17.4% 1.0%
Finance, insurance, real estate 5,338 445 8.3% 316 5.9% 760 14.2% 3.3%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 4,176 270 6.5% 175 4.2% 445 10.7% 1.9%
Administrative, support, and waste management 2,377 757 31.9% 238 10.0% 995 41.9% 4.3%
Education 10,030 1,231 12.3% 564 5.6% 1,796 17.9% 7.8%
Health care 16,929 3,373 19.9% 1,375 8.1% 4,748 28.0% 20.7%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 1,413 498 35.2% 184 13.0% 682 48.3% 3.0%
Accommodation 1,041 482 46.3% 131 12.6% 613 58.9% 2.7%
Restaurants and food service 5,356 2,802 52.3% 932 17.4% 3,733 69.7% 16.3%
Other services 3,054 931 30.5% 537 17.6% 1,469 48.1% 6.4%
Public administration 3,390 200 5.9% 151 4.5% 352 10.4% 1.5%
Tipped occupations
Tipped workers 2,967 1,291 43.5% 1,178 39.7% 2,469 83.2% 10.8%
Nontipped workers 69,497 15,186 21.9% 5,301 7.6% 20,487 29.5% 89.2%
Sector
For-profit 51,183 13,863 27.1% 5,217 10.2% 19,080 37.3% 83.1%
Government 12,716 1,360 10.7% 690 5.4% 2,051 16.1% 8.9%
Nonprofit 8,565 1,254 14.6% 571 6.7% 1,826 21.3% 8.0%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 7

Demographic characteristics of black workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage by $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All black workers 17,564 5,079 28.9% 1,621 9.2% 6,700 38.1% 100.0%
Gender
Women 9,658 3,043 31.5% 918 9.5% 3,961 41.0% 59.1%
Men 7,907 2,036 25.7% 703 8.9% 2,739 34.6% 40.9%
Age
Age 19 or younger 559 371 66.3% 29 5.2% 399 71.5% 6.0%
Age 20 or older 17,006 4,709 27.7% 1,592 9.4% 6,300 37.0% 94.0%
Ages 16–24 2,497 1,593 63.8% 199 7.9% 1,791 71.7% 26.7%
Ages 25–39 6,145 1,891 30.8% 660 10.7% 2,552 41.5% 38.1%
Ages 40–54 5,737 945 16.5% 490 8.5% 1,435 25.0% 21.4%
Age 55 or older 3,185 650 20.4% 272 8.5% 922 29.0% 13.8%
Family status
Married parent 3,009 447 14.8% 230 7.6% 676 22.5% 10.1%
Single parent 3,031 1,117 36.8% 335 11.1% 1,452 47.9% 21.7%
Married, no children 3,012 491 16.3% 238 7.9% 729 24.2% 10.9%
Unmarried, no children 8,513 3,024 35.5% 818 9.6% 3,842 45.1% 57.3%
Educational attainment
Less than high school 1,457 787 54.1% 137 9.4% 924 63.4% 13.8%
High school 5,115 2,048 40.0% 610 11.9% 2,657 52.0% 39.7%
Some college, no degree 5,155 1,726 33.5% 568 11.0% 2,293 44.5% 34.2%
Associate degree 1,625 326 20.1% 159 9.8% 485 29.8% 7.2%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 4,212 192 4.6% 148 3.5% 340 8.1% 5.1%
Family income
Less than $25,000 3,527 2,237 63.4% 370 10.5% 2,608 73.9% 38.9%
$25,000–$49,999 4,697 1,399 29.8% 669 14.2% 2,068 44.0% 30.9%
$50,000–$74,999 3,401 688 20.2% 293 8.6% 982 28.9% 14.7%
$75,000–$99,999 2,228 347 15.6% 141 6.3% 488 21.9% 7.3%
$100,000–$149,999 2,300 285 12.4% 102 4.4% 388 16.9% 5.8%
$150,000 or more 1,411 122 8.7% 45 3.2% 167 11.8% 2.5%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 1,896 1,310 69.1% 144 7.6% 1,454 76.7% 21.7%
101–200% of poverty line 3,541 1,773 50.1% 524 14.8% 2,297 64.9% 34.3%
201–400% of poverty line 6,160 1,378 22.4% 710 11.5% 2,088 33.9% 31.2%
401% or above 5,850 545 9.3% 237 4.1% 782 13.4% 11.7%
Poverty status not available 117 73 62.4% 6 5.2% 79 67.5% 1.2%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 900 403 44.8% 69 7.7% 472 52.4% 7.0%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 2,824 1,562 55.3% 256 9.1% 1,819 64.4% 27.1%
Full time (35+ hours) 13,841 3,114 22.5% 1,295 9.4% 4,409 31.9% 65.8%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 94 31 32.7% 8 8.0% 39 40.8% 0.6%
Construction 443 77 17.4% 38 8.6% 116 26.1% 1.7%
Manufacturing 1,589 398 25.0% 177 11.1% 575 36.2% 8.6%
Wholesale trade 312 87 27.8% 31 10.0% 118 37.8% 1.8%
Retail trade 2,081 1,003 48.2% 206 9.9% 1,209 58.1% 18.0%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 1,324 235 17.7% 121 9.2% 356 26.9% 5.3%
Information 350 50 14.2% 22 6.3% 72 20.5% 1.1%
Finance, insurance, real estate 1,007 119 11.8% 68 6.7% 186 18.5% 2.8%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 589 42 7.2% 24 4.0% 66 11.2% 1.0%
Administrative, support, and waste management 977 376 38.5% 111 11.3% 486 49.8% 7.3%
Education 1,588 310 19.5% 111 7.0% 421 26.5% 6.3%
Health care 3,613 1,049 29.0% 343 9.5% 1,392 38.5% 20.8%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 291 121 41.5% 36 12.5% 157 53.9% 2.3%
Accommodation 266 142 53.3% 33 12.5% 175 65.8% 2.6%
Restaurants and food service 1,225 756 61.7% 153 12.5% 908 74.2% 13.6%
Other services 578 190 32.9% 78 13.5% 269 46.4% 4.0%
Public administration 1,238 94 7.6% 60 4.9% 155 12.5% 2.3%
Sector
For-profit 12,677 4,257 33.6% 1,292 10.2% 5,549 43.8% 82.8%
Government 3,366 484 14.4% 210 6.2% 693 20.6% 10.3%
Nonprofit 1,521 339 22.3% 119 7.8% 458 30.1% 6.8%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 8

Demographic characteristics of Hispanic workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage by $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All Hispanic workers 28,702 6,984 24.3% 2,598 9.1% 9,583 33.4% 100.0%
Gender
Women 12,599 3,664 29.1% 1,137 9.0% 4,801 38.1% 50.1%
Men 16,103 3,321 20.6% 1,461 9.1% 4,782 29.7% 49.9%
Age
Age 19 or younger 1,199 655 54.6% 73 6.1% 728 60.7% 7.6%
Age 20 or older 27,503 6,330 23.0% 2,525 9.2% 8,855 32.2% 92.4%
Ages 16–24 4,893 2,286 46.7% 427 8.7% 2,713 55.4% 28.3%
Ages 25–39 11,412 2,632 23.1% 1,139 10.0% 3,771 33.0% 39.3%
Ages 40–54 8,881 1,419 16.0% 745 8.4% 2,165 24.4% 22.6%
Age 55 or older 3,516 648 18.4% 287 8.2% 935 26.6% 9.8%
Family status
Married parent 8,163 1,403 17.2% 719 8.8% 2,122 26.0% 22.1%
Single parent 3,861 1,158 30.0% 393 10.2% 1,551 40.2% 16.2%
Married, no children 5,178 924 17.8% 441 8.5% 1,365 26.4% 14.2%
Unmarried, no children 11,501 3,500 30.4% 1,046 9.1% 4,545 39.5% 47.4%
Educational attainment
Less than high school 7,643 2,745 35.9% 773 10.1% 3,518 46.0% 36.7%
High school 8,192 2,240 27.3% 895 10.9% 3,135 38.3% 32.7%
Some college, no degree 6,378 1,515 23.7% 596 9.3% 2,111 33.1% 22.0%
Associate degree 1,952 305 15.6% 170 8.7% 475 24.3% 5.0%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 4,538 180 4.0% 164 3.6% 344 7.6% 3.6%
Family income
Less than $25,000 5,378 2,540 47.2% 545 10.1% 3,085 57.4% 32.2%
$25,000–$49,999 7,610 2,020 26.5% 953 12.5% 2,973 39.1% 31.0%
$50,000–$74,999 5,735 1,154 20.1% 513 8.9% 1,667 29.1% 17.4%
$75,000–$99,999 3,837 605 15.8% 284 7.4% 888 23.2% 9.3%
$100,000–$149,999 3,864 472 12.2% 219 5.7% 691 17.9% 7.2%
$150,000 or more 2,278 193 8.5% 85 3.7% 278 12.2% 2.9%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 3,153 1,579 50.1% 275 8.7% 1,854 58.8% 19.3%
101–200% of poverty line 7,130 2,570 36.0% 864 12.1% 3,434 48.2% 35.8%
201–400% of poverty line 10,651 2,114 19.8% 1,102 10.4% 3,216 30.2% 33.6%
401% or above 7,660 672 8.8% 351 4.6% 1,024 13.4% 10.7%
Poverty status not available 108 49 45.8% 6 5.4% 55 51.1% 0.6%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 1,319 453 34.3% 92 7.0% 545 41.3% 5.7%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 4,462 1,821 40.8% 370 8.3% 2,191 49.1% 22.9%
Full time (35+ hours) 22,922 4,711 20.6% 2,136 9.3% 6,847 29.9% 71.5%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 986 256 26.0% 86 8.7% 342 34.7% 3.6%
Construction 2,795 527 18.9% 307 11.0% 833 29.8% 8.7%
Manufacturing 3,097 626 20.2% 308 9.9% 935 30.2% 9.8%
Wholesale trade 857 174 20.3% 76 8.8% 250 29.2% 2.6%
Retail trade 3,386 1,144 33.8% 287 8.5% 1,432 42.3% 14.9%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 1,482 197 13.3% 112 7.6% 309 20.9% 3.2%
Information 424 51 12.1% 23 5.4% 74 17.5% 0.8%
Finance, insurance, real estate 1,401 172 12.3% 95 6.8% 268 19.1% 2.8%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 985 79 8.0% 45 4.6% 124 12.6% 1.3%
Administrative, support, and waste management 1,866 623 33.4% 183 9.8% 806 43.2% 8.4%
Education 1,938 318 16.4% 118 6.1% 436 22.5% 4.5%
Health care 3,178 709 22.3% 247 7.8% 956 30.1% 10.0%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 517 170 32.8% 55 10.7% 225 43.5% 2.3%
Accommodation 559 227 40.6% 71 12.7% 298 53.3% 3.1%
Restaurants and food service 2,947 1,279 43.4% 394 13.4% 1,673 56.8% 17.5%
Other services 1,252 372 29.7% 150 12.0% 522 41.7% 5.5%
Public administration 1,031 59 5.7% 40 3.9% 100 9.7% 1.0%
Sector
For-profit 23,991 6,342 26.4% 2,321 9.7% 8,663 36.1% 90.4%
Government 3,124 363 11.6% 161 5.1% 524 16.8% 5.5%
Nonprofit 1,586 279 17.6% 116 7.3% 396 24.9% 4.1%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 9

Demographic characteristics of Asian or other race/ethnicity workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage by $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All Asian workers 13,698 1,827 13.3% 862 6.3% 2,689 19.6% 100.0%
Gender
Women 6,770 1,085 16.0% 499 7.4% 1,584 23.4% 58.9%
Men 6,928 743 10.7% 362 5.2% 1,105 16.0% 41.1%
Age
Age 19 or younger 446 246 55.2% 28 6.3% 274 61.5% 10.2%
Age 20 or older 13,252 1,581 11.9% 834 6.3% 2,415 18.2% 89.8%
Ages 16–24 1,771 756 42.7% 156 8.8% 912 51.5% 33.9%
Ages 25–39 5,333 565 10.6% 330 6.2% 895 16.8% 33.3%
Ages 40–54 4,371 301 6.9% 243 5.6% 544 12.5% 20.2%
Age 55 or older 2,222 205 9.2% 133 6.0% 338 15.2% 12.6%
Family status
Married parent 4,159 282 6.8% 208 5.0% 489 11.8% 18.2%
Single parent 881 189 21.5% 91 10.3% 281 31.9% 10.4%
Married, no children 3,442 275 8.0% 190 5.5% 464 13.5% 17.3%
Unmarried, no children 5,217 1,081 20.7% 373 7.2% 1,455 27.9% 54.1%
Educational attainment
Less than high school 1,180 406 34.4% 126 10.7% 533 45.2% 19.8%
High school 2,312 593 25.7% 273 11.8% 867 37.5% 32.2%
Some college, no degree 2,544 566 22.3% 236 9.3% 803 31.6% 29.8%
Associate degree 1,046 124 11.9% 78 7.4% 202 19.3% 7.5%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 6,615 137 2.1% 148 2.2% 285 4.3% 10.6%
Family income
Less than $25,000 1,689 636 37.6% 187 11.1% 823 48.7% 30.6%
$25,000–$49,999 2,298 423 18.4% 254 11.0% 677 29.5% 25.2%
$50,000–$74,999 2,201 280 12.7% 157 7.1% 437 19.9% 16.3%
$75,000–$99,999 1,831 173 9.5% 101 5.5% 274 15.0% 10.2%
$100,000–$149,999 2,593 189 7.3% 99 3.8% 288 11.1% 10.7%
$150,000 or more 3,086 127 4.1% 63 2.1% 190 6.2% 7.1%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 935 395 42.2% 92 9.9% 487 52.1% 18.1%
101–200% of poverty line 1,783 506 28.4% 230 12.9% 736 41.3% 27.4%
201–400% of poverty line 3,789 540 14.2% 331 8.7% 871 23.0% 32.4%
401% or above 7,072 335 4.7% 200 2.8% 535 7.6% 19.9%
Poverty status not available 118 52 44.3% 8 6.5% 60 50.8% 2.2%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 844 263 31.2% 64 7.6% 327 38.8% 12.2%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 1,955 600 30.7% 185 9.5% 785 40.2% 29.2%
Full time (35+ hours) 10,899 964 8.8% 612 5.6% 1,576 14.5% 58.6%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 98 16 16.6% 6 6.1% 22 22.7% 0.8%
Construction 348 30 8.7% 20 5.7% 50 14.4% 1.9%
Manufacturing 1,555 128 8.2% 81 5.2% 209 13.5% 7.8%
Wholesale trade 328 30 9.2% 15 4.7% 45 13.8% 1.7%
Retail trade 1,492 392 26.3% 117 7.8% 509 34.1% 18.9%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 579 40 7.0% 26 4.5% 66 11.4% 2.5%
Information 352 17 4.9% 8 2.2% 25 7.1% 0.9%
Finance, insurance, real estate 930 33 3.6% 25 2.7% 59 6.3% 2.2%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 1,419 25 1.7% 14 1.0% 38 2.7% 1.4%
Administrative, support, and waste management 370 71 19.1% 28 7.5% 98 26.6% 3.7%
Education 1,202 123 10.2% 49 4.1% 172 14.3% 6.4%
Health care 2,186 216 9.9% 101 4.6% 317 14.5% 11.8%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 300 79 26.3% 42 14.1% 121 40.3% 4.5%
Accommodation 235 63 26.7% 37 15.6% 99 42.3% 3.7%
Restaurants and food service 1,057 400 37.8% 152 14.4% 551 52.2% 20.5%
Other services 617 140 22.8% 124 20.1% 265 42.9% 9.8%
Public administration 628 23 3.7% 18 2.8% 41 6.5% 1.5%
Sector
For-profit 10,571 1,577 14.9% 737 7.0% 2,314 21.9% 86.0%
Government 1,955 146 7.5% 72 3.7% 218 11.2% 8.1%
Nonprofit 1,172 105 9.0% 52 4.4% 157 13.4% 5.8%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 10

Demographic characteristics of white workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage by $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All white workers 89,375 14,187 15.9% 6,514 7.3% 20,701 23.2% 100.0%
Gender
Women 43,437 8,686 20.0% 3,925 9.0% 12,611 29.0% 60.9%
Men 45,938 5,501 12.0% 2,589 5.6% 8,090 17.6% 39.1%
Age
Age 19 or younger 3,009 2,094 69.6% 207 6.9% 2,301 76.5% 11.1%
Age 20 or older 86,366 12,092 14.0% 6,308 7.3% 18,400 21.3% 88.9%
Ages 16–24 11,152 6,200 55.6% 1,270 11.4% 7,470 67.0% 36.1%
Ages 25–39 27,349 3,802 13.9% 2,317 8.5% 6,118 22.4% 29.6%
Ages 40–54 28,732 1,967 6.8% 1,533 5.3% 3,499 12.2% 16.9%
Age 55 or older 22,142 2,218 10.0% 1,395 6.3% 3,613 16.3% 17.5%
Family status
Married parent 22,397 1,524 6.8% 1,074 4.8% 2,599 11.6% 12.6%
Single parent 6,010 1,413 23.5% 659 11.0% 2,072 34.5% 10.0%
Married, no children 26,770 2,239 8.4% 1,544 5.8% 3,783 14.1% 18.3%
Unmarried, no children 34,199 9,011 26.3% 3,237 9.5% 12,247 35.8% 59.2%
Educational attainment
Less than high school 4,766 2,220 46.6% 493 10.4% 2,713 56.9% 13.1%
High school 21,484 5,419 25.2% 2,455 11.4% 7,873 36.6% 38.0%
Some college, no degree 20,677 4,729 22.9% 2,028 9.8% 6,757 32.7% 32.6%
Associate degree 8,871 1,046 11.8% 698 7.9% 1,744 19.7% 8.4%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 33,576 773 2.3% 840 2.5% 1,613 4.8% 7.8%
Family income
Less than $25,000 9,503 4,863 51.2% 1,413 14.9% 6,277 66.0% 30.3%
$25,000–$49,999 15,781 3,088 19.6% 2,005 12.7% 5,093 32.3% 24.6%
$50,000–$74,999 16,393 2,221 13.5% 1,226 7.5% 3,447 21.0% 16.6%
$75,000–$99,999 13,837 1,473 10.6% 762 5.5% 2,235 16.2% 10.8%
$100,000–$149,999 17,954 1,559 8.7% 700 3.9% 2,259 12.6% 10.9%
$150,000 or more 15,907 983 6.2% 407 2.6% 1,390 8.7% 6.7%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 4,308 2,630 61.1% 502 11.6% 3,131 72.7% 15.1%
101–200% of poverty line 9,193 3,561 38.7% 1,571 17.1% 5,133 55.8% 24.8%
201–400% of poverty line 26,289 4,310 16.4% 2,654 10.1% 6,964 26.5% 33.6%
401% or above 48,992 3,305 6.7% 1,747 3.6% 5,053 10.3% 24.4%
Poverty status not available 595 380 64.0% 40 6.8% 421 70.7% 2.0%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 5,574 2,280 40.9% 559 10.0% 2,838 50.9% 13.7%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 12,937 5,365 41.5% 1,541 11.9% 6,906 53.4% 33.4%
Full time (35+ hours) 70,864 6,542 9.2% 4,415 6.2% 10,957 15.5% 52.9%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 1,255 220 17.5% 84 6.7% 304 24.2% 1.5%
Construction 4,642 358 7.7% 254 5.5% 612 13.2% 3.0%
Manufacturing 10,203 865 8.5% 572 5.6% 1,437 14.1% 6.9%
Wholesale trade 2,574 251 9.8% 158 6.1% 409 15.9% 2.0%
Retail trade 10,613 3,532 33.3% 1,129 10.6% 4,661 43.9% 22.5%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 4,389 327 7.4% 235 5.3% 562 12.8% 2.7%
Information 2,061 144 7.0% 77 3.7% 221 10.7% 1.1%
Finance, insurance, real estate 6,193 331 5.4% 254 4.1% 585 9.5% 2.8%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 6,263 234 3.7% 157 2.5% 391 6.2% 1.9%
Administrative, support, and waste management 2,756 577 20.9% 263 9.5% 840 30.5% 4.1%
Education 9,944 974 9.8% 481 4.8% 1,455 14.6% 7.0%
Health care 12,460 1,978 15.9% 921 7.4% 2,899 23.3% 14.0%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 1,920 591 30.8% 224 11.6% 814 42.4% 3.9%
Accommodation 743 269 36.2% 105 14.2% 374 50.3% 1.8%
Restaurants and food service 5,060 2,561 50.6% 992 19.6% 3,553 70.2% 17.2%
Other services 3,591 805 22.4% 465 12.9% 1,270 35.4% 6.1%
Public administration 4,708 169 3.6% 143 3.0% 312 6.6% 1.5%
Sector
For-profit 66,331 12,074 18.2% 5,410 8.2% 17,484 26.4% 84.5%
Government 14,195 1,034 7.3% 594 4.2% 1,629 11.5% 7.9%
Nonprofit 8,849 1,078 12.2% 510 5.8% 1,589 18.0% 7.7%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 11

Demographic characteristics of Native American workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage by $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All Native American workers 873 227 26.0% 90 10.2% 316 36.2% 100.0%
Gender
Women 449 137 30.4% 51 11.3% 187 41.7% 59.2%
Men 424 90 21.3% 39 9.2% 129 30.5% 40.8%
Age
Age 19 or younger 33 22 68.2% 3 7.7% 25 75.9% 7.9%
Age 20 or older 841 205 24.3% 87 10.4% 292 34.7% 92.1%
Ages 16–24 127 78 61.1% 14 11.3% 92 72.4% 29.1%
Ages 25–39 295 81 27.7% 35 11.9% 116 39.5% 36.8%
Ages 40–54 282 41 14.5% 24 8.5% 65 23.0% 20.5%
Age 55 or older 170 27 15.9% 16 9.5% 43 25.4% 13.7%
Family status
Married parent 182 26 14.4% 16 8.7% 42 23.2% 13.4%
Single parent 143 46 32.3% 17 11.8% 63 44.1% 19.9%
Married, no children 182 28 15.2% 15 8.4% 43 23.6% 13.5%
Unmarried, no children 367 127 34.6% 42 11.3% 168 45.9% 53.2%
Educational attainment
Less than high school 96 47 49.0% 11 11.3% 58 60.3% 18.2%
High school 277 91 32.9% 35 12.7% 126 45.6% 40.0%
Some college, no degree 253 69 27.4% 29 11.3% 98 38.7% 30.9%
Associate degree 92 14 15.2% 9 9.4% 23 24.7% 7.1%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 156 6 3.7% 6 3.9% 12 7.6% 3.7%
Family income
Less than $25,000 179 101 56.4% 24 13.6% 125 70.0% 39.5%
$25,000–$49,999 226 59 26.2% 30 13.5% 90 39.7% 28.3%
$50,000–$74,999 172 31 17.8% 17 9.8% 47 27.6% 15.0%
$75,000–$99,999 118 17 14.6% 9 7.3% 26 21.9% 8.1%
$100,000–$149,999 117 14 11.8% 6 5.5% 20 17.3% 6.4%
$150,000 or more 63 6 8.8% 3 4.8% 9 13.7% 2.7%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 104 67 64.4% 11 10.6% 78 75.0% 24.6%
101–200% of poverty line 185 78 42.0% 30 16.4% 108 58.3% 34.1%
201–400% of poverty line 309 58 18.7% 35 11.2% 92 29.9% 29.2%
401% or above 272 23 8.3% 13 4.9% 36 13.2% 11.4%
Poverty status not available 3 2 59.9% <1 5.7% 2 65.6% 0.6%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 42 20 48.3% 4 9.5% 24 57.8% 7.7%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 137 70 51.5% 16 11.4% 86 62.9% 27.2%
Full time (35+ hours) 694 136 19.6% 70 10.1% 206 29.7% 65.1%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 22 5 20.5% 2 8.4% 6 28.9% 2.0%
Construction 56 8 14.6% 5 8.4% 13 23.0% 4.0%
Manufacturing 71 11 16.2% 6 8.6% 18 24.9% 5.5%
Wholesale trade 14 2 14.3% 2 11.6% 4 25.8% 1.2%
Retail trade 96 46 47.4% 11 11.1% 56 58.5% 17.8%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 44 5 11.8% 4 8.5% 9 20.3% 2.8%
Information 11 1 13.2% 1 8.2% 2 21.4% 0.7%
Finance, insurance, real estate 33 4 13.0% 3 10.4% 8 23.4% 2.5%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 25 3 10.4% 1 4.3% 4 14.7% 1.2%
Administrative, support, and waste management 28 10 36.2% 3 10.9% 13 47.1% 4.2%
Education 81 13 16.3% 6 7.7% 19 24.0% 6.1%
Health care 138 38 27.7% 15 11.2% 54 38.9% 17.0%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 53 19 35.6% 10 18.2% 28 53.8% 9.0%
Accommodation 20 10 50.0% 2 12.1% 12 62.1% 3.9%
Restaurants and food service 57 33 58.2% 8 14.0% 41 72.2% 13.0%
Other services 29 9 29.1% 4 13.9% 13 43.0% 4.0%
Public administration 94 9 9.8% 7 6.9% 16 16.7% 5.0%
Sector
For-profit 554 171 30.9% 61 11.1% 233 42.0% 73.5%
Government 253 41 16.1% 22 8.8% 63 24.9% 19.9%
Nonprofit 66 15 22.3% 6 9.1% 21 31.4% 6.6%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Appendix Table 12

Demographic characteristics of women of color workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage by $15 by 2024

Group Total estimated workforce (thousands) Directly affected (thousands) Share directly affected Indirectly affected (thousands) Share indirectly affected Total affected (thousands) Share of group who are affected Group’s share of total affected
All women of color workers 29,027 7,792 26.8% 2,554 8.8% 10,346 35.6% 100.0%
Age
Age 19 or younger 1,137 663 58.3% 64 5.6% 726 63.9% 7.0%
Age 20 or older 27,891 7,129 25.6% 2,490 8.9% 9,620 34.5% 93.0%
Ages 16–24 4,551 2,378 52.3% 372 8.2% 2,750 60.4% 26.6%
Ages 25–39 10,739 2,712 25.3% 1,010 9.4% 3,723 34.7% 36.0%
Ages 40–54 9,249 1,744 18.9% 794 8.6% 2,538 27.4% 24.5%
Age 55 or older 4,488 957 21.3% 378 8.4% 1,336 29.8% 12.9%
Family status
Married parent 6,408 1,256 19.6% 527 8.2% 1,783 27.8% 17.2%
Single parent 5,557 1,922 34.6% 583 10.5% 2,505 45.1% 24.2%
Married, no children 5,336 984 18.4% 444 8.3% 1,427 26.7% 13.8%
Unmarried, no children 11,727 3,630 31.0% 1,000 8.5% 4,631 39.5% 44.8%
Educational attainment
Less than high school 3,918 1,869 47.7% 336 8.6% 2,205 56.3% 21.3%
High school 6,873 2,709 39.4% 841 12.2% 3,551 51.7% 34.3%
Some college, no degree 7,362 2,353 32.0% 815 11.1% 3,167 43.0% 30.6%
Associate degree 2,640 512 19.4% 263 10.0% 776 29.4% 7.5%
Bachelor’s degree or higher 8,234 349 4.2% 298 3.6% 647 7.9% 6.3%
Family income
Less than $25,000 5,463 3,026 55.4% 520 9.5% 3,546 64.9% 34.3%
$25,000–$49,999 7,063 2,158 30.6% 896 12.7% 3,054 43.2% 29.5%
$50,000–$74,999 5,386 1,218 22.6% 508 9.4% 1,725 32.0% 16.7%
$75,000–$99,999 3,734 629 16.9% 294 7.9% 924 24.7% 8.9%
$100,000–$149,999 4,124 523 12.7% 231 5.6% 754 18.3% 7.3%
$150,000 or more 3,257 238 7.3% 105 3.2% 343 10.5% 3.3%
Family income-to-poverty ratio
At or below the poverty line 3,318 1,969 59.3% 253 7.6% 2,221 67.0% 21.5%
101–200% of poverty line 6,055 2,660 43.9% 783 12.9% 3,443 56.9% 33.3%
201–400% of poverty line 9,696 2,214 22.8% 1,069 11.0% 3,283 33.9% 31.7%
401% or above 9,753 845 8.7% 437 4.5% 1,282 13.1% 12.4%
Poverty status not available 206 105 51.1% 11 5.5% 117 56.6% 1.1%
Work hours
Part time (<20 hours) 1,930 703 36.4% 150 7.8% 853 44.2% 8.2%
Mid time (20– 34 hours) 5,654 2,469 43.7% 513 9.1% 2,982 52.7% 28.8%
Full time (35+ hours) 21,443 4,620 21.5% 1,892 8.8% 6,511 30.4% 62.9%
Industry
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting 255 65 25.4% 20 8.0% 85 33.4% 0.8%
Construction 246 46 18.6% 20 8.1% 66 26.7% 0.6%
Manufacturing 2,097 572 27.3% 221 10.6% 793 37.8% 7.7%
Wholesale trade 474 110 23.1% 37 7.8% 147 30.9% 1.4%
Retail trade 3,494 1,486 42.5% 316 9.1% 1,802 51.6% 17.4%
Transportation, warehousing, utilities 913 161 17.6% 82 9.0% 243 26.6% 2.3%
Information 479 67 13.9% 30 6.2% 96 20.1% 0.9%
Finance, insurance, real estate 1,913 210 11.0% 125 6.5% 335 17.5% 3.2%
Professional, scientific, management, technical services 1,337 98 7.3% 56 4.2% 153 11.5% 1.5%
Administrative, support, and waste management 1,288 496 38.5% 123 9.5% 619 48.1% 6.0%
Education 3,165 525 16.6% 195 6.2% 720 22.7% 7.0%
Health care 6,999 1,666 23.8% 575 8.2% 2,241 32.0% 21.7%
Arts, entertainment, recreational services 510 184 36.1% 66 12.9% 250 49.0% 2.4%
Accommodation 625 300 48.1% 73 11.7% 373 59.8% 3.6%
Restaurants and food service 2,525 1,283 50.8% 329 13.0% 1,611 63.8% 15.6%
Other services 1,241 418 33.7% 217 17.5% 635 51.2% 6.1%
Public administration 1,464 106 7.2% 70 4.8% 176 12.0% 1.7%
Sector
For-profit 21,450 6,651 31.0% 2,079 9.7% 8,730 40.7% 84.4%
Government 4,887 660 13.5% 285 5.8% 945 19.3% 9.1%
Nonprofit 2,690 481 17.9% 190 7.1% 671 24.9% 6.5%

Notes: Values reflect the population likely to be affected by the proposed change in the federal minimum wage. Wage changes resulting from scheduled state and local minimum wage laws are accounted for by EPI’s Minimum Wage Simulation Model. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Shares calculated from unrounded values. Directly affected workers will see their wages rise as the new minimum wage rate will exceed their current hourly pay. Indirectly affected workers have a wage rate just above the new minimum wage (between the new minimum wage and 115 percent of the new minimum). They will receive a raise as employer pay scales are adjusted upward to reflect the new minimum wage.

Source: Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Congressional Budget Office. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019. Dollar values adjusted by projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

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Methodology

The Economic Policy Institute Minimum Wage Simulation Model uses data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS) to estimate the size and demographic/workforce characteristics of the populations affected by proposed changes in federal, state, and local minimum wages, as well as the likely impact of those changes on the wages of affected workers. The model accounts for inflation, labor force growth, and all existing state and local minimum wage laws and the likely minimum wages resulting from those laws throughout the simulation period. The statistics in this report were generated using the 2017 ACS five-year microdata and the 2017 CPS Outgoing Rotation Group microdata. A full description of the methodology can be found in Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019.

Endnotes

1.  It would also phase out the youth minimum wage, which allows employers to pay workers under 20 a lower wage for the first 90 calendar days of work (U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division 2008a), and the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities, which allows employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, to pay workers with disabilities a lower wage (U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division 2008b).

2.  We use the Research Series of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to deflate the value of the minimum wage because the CPI-U tracks changes in the prices of goods bought by typical U.S. consumers. It is the standard deflator used by researchers and government agencies when adjusting wages and incomes for changes in prices. For example, the Census Bureau uses the CPI-U when it measures trends in family and household incomes, and the Internal Revenue Service adjusts tax brackets annually using the CPI-U. The Census Bureau has made various methodological improvements to the CPI-U over the years. The Research Series applies current CPI-U methodology retrospectively to calculate the most accurate measure of historical inflation for typical U.S. consumers. We use the implicit price deflator for gross domestic product—or “GDP deflator”—when calculating changes in total economy net productivity. This is also standard practice, as it captures changes in the value of the overall output of the economy—i.e., the value of what workers are able to produce.

3.  Inflation-adjusted values for future years are calculated using the projections for CPI-U in CBO 2018.

4.  Overall productivity is measured as total economy productivity net depreciation. From 1968 to 2016, net productivity grew by 100 percent. Based on projections for productivity growth in CBO 2018, growth from 1968 to 2024 is expected to be 119 percent.

5. In a well-functioning economy, growth in wages would consistently outpace inflation. Unfortunately, that has not been the norm for the last half century in the U.S. Median wage growth has barely outpaced inflation over the past 50 years (as shown by the mere 16 percent growth of the median wage in Figure B). Labor market conditions at the start of 2019 are strong enough that it is possible there could be some median wage growth above inflation in the near term. Thus, assuming growth of 0.5 percent above inflation is a plausible, albeit conservative, estimate relative to what wage growth should be in a healthy economy with rising productivity.

6.  Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

7.  Wething and Gould (2013) describe the various shortcomings of the federal poverty line and discuss alternative tools for measuring well-being. O’Brien and Pedulla (2010) also discuss the federal poverty line’s inadequacy and provide a useful history of the measure.

8.  See Cooper and Essrow 2015.

9.  Dube, Giuliano, and Leonard (2015) observe minimum wage spillover or “ripple” effects for workers earning up to 15 percent above newly implemented minimum wages. Thus, in this analysis, the range of indirectly affected workers is modeled as those workers reporting hourly wages between 100 and 115 percent of the new minimum wage. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019 for further detail.

10.  Because this increase is larger than past increases that have been rigorously studied, we cannot predict how the higher wage floor might affect the aggregate hours worked by low-wage workers. As explained in greater detail in Cooper, Mishel, and Zipperer (2018), it may be that the total hours worked by the low-wage workforce shrinks. However, the distribution of that shrinkage is not clear. Opponents of minimum wage increases often portray this potential shrinkage as low-wage workers being forced out of the labor market entirely, never to work again. This is a misleading suggestion. The low-wage labor market has very high churn—workers move in and out of jobs frequently, some work multiple jobs, and many will typically spend some portion of the year not working. If the higher minimum wage does lead to a reduction in the total hours of work for low-wage workers, this reduction could manifest as some workers working fewer weeks per year, fewer hours per week, or in fewer jobs if they previously held more than one. In all three scenarios, the workers’ total annual pay is still likely to be higher than it would have been otherwise because of the higher hourly rate they would receive from the minimum wage increase. The clearly harmful outcome would be instances in which workers are truly unable to find work at all, or in which their individual loss of hours outweighs the increased hourly rate of pay, leaving them worse off on net. We believe that such outcomes, if they occur, would affect only a very small fraction of workers in the low-wage labor market, and that the benefits of higher pay for millions more outweigh the risk of such negative outcomes. Moreover, policymakers have other tools (e.g., more generous unemployment benefits, work sharing programs, targeted hiring programs, and many other tools) that they can use to mitigate the impacts of any negative outcomes for workers.

11.  The median age of affected workers is 30.

12. There are an estimated 72.5 million women in the wage-earning workforce, out of a total of 149.3 million workers. See Appendix Table 3.

13. Author’s calculation using the EPI Minimum Wage Simulation Model. See Cooper, Mokhiber, and Zipperer 2019 for details.

14.  For a full list of all states that have enacted minimum wages above the federal minimum wage, and for any scheduled future increases, see EPI’s minimum wage tracker (EPI 2019a).

15.  Idaho and North Carolina have minimum wages equal to the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Arkansas voters recently passed a ballot measure increasing the state minimum wage to $11 by 2021, but without any further adjustment thereafter. Tennessee and Mississippi have no minimum wage laws. In these states and others without a minimum wage or with a minimum wage below the federal minimum wage, workers must be paid at least the federal minimum wage.

16.  EPI’s “Agenda to Raise America’s Pay” describes 11 policies to boost American’s wages by tilting bargaining power back toward low- and moderate-wage workers. See EPI 2016 for details.

17.  “Wage theft” occurs when employers fail to pay employees the full wages to which they are entitled for the hours they work. See Cooper and Kroeger 2017 or Meixell and Eisenbrey 2014 for greater detail.

18.  Tipped workers receive the full minimum wage before tips in Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Montana, and Nevada. In 2016, voters in Maine passed a ballot measure that will raise Maine’s tipped minimum wage over a 10-year period until it is equal to the state’s full minimum wage. In Hawaii, tipped workers generally receive the full minimum wage before tips, but employers may pay these workers $0.75 below the regular minimum wage if workers’ combined base wage plus hourly tips equals at least $7.00 more than the regular minimum wage.

19. See National Employment Law Project 2013.

20. See Marinescu 2018.

21. Cengiz et al. (2019) examine minimum wages as high as 59 percent of the median wage of all workers. This is a slightly different statistic from the median wage of full-time, year-round workers described in the first section of this report. The full-time, year-round workforce is a subset of all workers—some of whom work part time or only part of the year. Because part-time and part-year workers tend to have lower wages than full-time, full-year workers, including them in this calculation lowers the calculated median wage, therefore leading to the minimum wage being a higher percentage of the median wage than would result if calculated using the median wage of full-time, year-round workers. The full-time, year-round median is used in this report because it can be calculated for workers in 1968, allowing for comparisons to the high point of the federal minimum wage. Data allowing for calculations of the median wage of all workers are only available beginning in 1979.

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