Minimum Wage Workers Aren’t Who You Think

minimum-wage-workers-aren’t-who-you-think

In April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report entitled “Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2014” which paints a picture of minimum wage earners that runs contrary to the popular narrative.

A common misconception that has been perpetrated throughout the media is that the majority of minimum wage workers are high school and college age students who are working their first job. This could not be further from the truth.

Here are some of the key findings:

Age

  • 52% of workers who earn at or below the minimum wage are over the age of 25
    • 57% of workers who earn below the minimum wage are over the age of 25

Gender

  • 63% of workers who earn at or below the minimum wage are women
  • 54% of female minimum wage workers are over the age of 25

Region

  • 47% of workers who earn at or below the minimum wage live in the South
  • The Northeast disproportionally pays more hourly workers less than minimum wage than other region of the county

Education*

  • 77% of workers who earn at or below the minimum wage have a high school diploma or higher
  • 9% of workers who earn at or below the minimum wage hold a bachelors degree of higher

With the stagnation in purchasing power for hard working Americans just tyring to make ends meet, an increase in the minimum wage would help reverse this trend and put more money into their pockets to purchase much needed consumer goods and grow the real economy.

*BLS statistics on education level for minimum wage workers do not factor in workers who are currently in high school, artificially deflating the percentage of workers.

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