Economic Snapshot | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

Workers 20 years of age and older benefit most from proposed hike to federal minimum wage

Three years after the most recent increase in the federal minimum wage, proposals have emerged in both the House and Senate to increase the federal minimum wage to $9.80 by July 1, 2014. Such an increase would significantly help lower-income workers at a time when their wages have stagnated due (in part) to the lingering effects of the recession and a very tentative economic recovery. Forthcoming EPI research shows that those benefiting from a minimum wage increase are older than generally believed.

As seen in the figure below, 87.9 percent of those affected nationally by increasing the federal minimum wage to $9.80 are 20 years of age and older. The share of those affected who are 20 or older varies by state, from a low of 77.1 percent in Massachusetts to a high of 92.4 percent in Florida (and 93.9 percent in the District of Columbia).

Some minimum-wage workers are younger workers, perhaps saving for college or even contributing to their family expenses, but most minimum wage workers are 20 or older. Additionally, more than a third (35.8 percent) are married, and over a quarter (28.0 percent) are parents. For American families struggling to make ends meet, raising the minimum wage will make a significant difference. Moreover, 21 million children have a parent who will see an increase in their pay as a result of increasing the minimum wage.

Share of workers affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $9.80 over the age of 20, by state

District of Columbia 93.9%
Florida 92.4%
North Carolina 92.0%
California 91.9%
Hawaii 91.7%
Tennessee 91.6%
Georgia 90.9%
Texas 90.7%
South Carolina 90.3%
West Virginia 89.9%
New York 89.7%
Louisiana 89.7%
Kentucky 89.7%
Arkansas 89.6%
Oklahoma 89.5%
Alabama 89.0%
Mississippi 88.8%
Idaho 88.6%
Arizona 88.5%
New Mexico 88.4%
Nevada 88.3%
Illinois 88.0%
United States 87.9%
New Jersey 87.4%
Missouri 86.9%
Montana 86.6%
Utah 86.5%
Indiana 86.5%
Virginia 86.3%
Washington 85.8%
Maryland 85.8%
Michigan 85.5%
Oregon 85.4%
South Dakota 85.3%
Ohio 84.8%
Kansas 84.5%
Delaware 84.4%
Colorado 84.2%
Rhode Island 83.4%
Vermont 82.7%
Wisconsin 82.6%
Wyoming 82.5%
Connecticut 81.9%
Iowa 81.3%
Maine 81.1%
Pennsylvania 81.0%
Nebraska 80.0%
New Hampshire 78.7%
Alaska 78.7%
North Dakota 78.2%
Minnesota 78.0%
Massachusetts 77.1%

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey – outgoing rotation group data

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