Who Is the Average Minimum Wage Worker?

Demographics and Laws of the Minimum Wage Workforce

Cafeteria worker serving food to students

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour seeing that July 24, 2009, the last time Congress raised the pay floor for hourly workers. That marks extra than a decade with out a increase for the 1.1 million U.S. people who earn the federally mandated minimal (or less).

Proponents of a better minimum wage say it would lift hundreds of thousands of low-paid people out of poverty, along with folks that currently earn more than the minimum but not sufficient to assist a family. Opponents, meanwhile, argue that minimal wage jobs tend to rent more youthful, less- professional employees, and aren't supposed to be full-time, lifelong jobs. And in step with the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, increasing the minimum wage should cause lower-paid employees to lose their jobs if employers reduce back on hiring because of better wages.

According to a Pew Research Center Survey, almost -thirds of humans within the U.S. guide raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

To recognize this difficulty, it allows to recognize extra about the demographics of minimum wage employees and the way these employees in shape into the team of workers.

What Is the Minimum Wage?

The U.S. had no minimal salary until 1938, when Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which installed stated wage, as well as regulations for additional time pay, hours labored, timekeeping, and baby labor. Since the advent of the FLSA, Congress has raised the federal minimal wage 22 instances.

City and State Minimum Age Rates

Many states have set higher minimal wages than the federal requirement of $7.25 in keeping with hour. As of 2021, 29 states and the District of Columbia had better minimal wages than the federal fee. Five states had no minimum (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee). Two states, Georgia and Wyoming, had minimal wages set lower than $7.25, despite the fact that people in each states are entitled to the federal minimal.

Several towns also have set higher minimal wages, inclusive of Seattle, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale, California, which, as of January 2021, have minimum hourly wages that exceed $16.

About 40% of all U.S. wage and income people live in regions wherein the federal minimum applies.

Minimum Wages for Tipped Workers

Under the FLSA, workers who earn at least $30 according to month in hints may additionally earn a lower minimum salary of $2.13, provided their recommendations and salary same the federal minimal of $7.25 in step with hour. However, many states have set minimal wages for tipped employees which might be better than $2.thirteen in keeping with hour, and a few states, together with Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington, require employers to pay the full kingdom minimal salary earlier than pointers.

Demographics of a Minimum Wage Worker

Who is the typical minimum wage employee? If you’re picturing a teenager scooping ice cream or serving up fries, suppose again.

Minimum Wage Workers by Age and Gender

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although people underneath age 25 constitute just under one-fifth of hourly paid employees, they make up nearly half of these paid the federal minimal salary or less.

Women of all ages include the bigger proportion of low earners: Nearly sixty seven% of minimum wage people pick out as girls, in step with BLS records. More than one-0.33 of workers who earn the federal minimum wage are girls age 25 or older.

Men include barely multiple-0.33 of minimal salary or sub-minimum wage workers. Men age 25 and older make up simply much less than 19% of those employees.

The demographics of minimum salary employees facilitates explain the gender pay hole. According to PayScale statistics, as of 2021, ladies earn 82 cents for each dollar earned by a person.

Minimum Wage Workers by using Race

The BLS reviews that seventy two.8% of people who are paid at or beneath minimal salary discover as White, while 17.7% pick out as Black, 18.five% as Hispanic or Latino, and three.eight% as Asian. (Note that percentages do no longer upload as much as a hundred% considering respondents of Latino/Hispanic ethnicity can also pick out as any race.)

For context, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 76.three% of human beings pick out as White, while 18.five% pick out as Hispanic or Latino, thirteen.four% as Black, and 5.9% as Asian.

Minimum Wage Workers by using Industry

If there’s any fact to the stereotype of minimal wage earners, it’s that the majority work in enjoyment and hospitality. According to the BLS, about 3-fifths of employees who earn the federal minimal salary or much less work on this enterprise, ordinarily in food services. Many of those workers additionally earn guidelines.

Trends in Minimum Wage Workers

Over the beyond decade, the proportion of minimal salary employees has declined barely from a peak of fifty nine.1% of all wage earners in 2011 to a pre-pandemic low of 58.1% in 2019. During the pandemic, workers paid the minimum salary or much less made up fifty five.five% of earners. This can be because of layoffs and furloughs throughout lockdowns, which heavily affected the leisure and hospitality enterprise.

Current and Upcoming Changes in Minimum Wage Law

In 2012, the “Fight for $15” motion turned into released by means of rapid-meals people in New York City who demanded a $15-consistent with-hour minimum wage in addition to union rights. The fight continues, even though a few minimum wage employees have reached that hourly threshold, way to changes in local, nation, and federal legal guidelines.

Several states have enacted laws with the goal of growing the minimum wage to $15 in keeping with hour, most usually phased in over time. Between 2016 and 2019, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, and the District of Columbia surpassed rules that regularly will boost the minimum wage in those states to $15 per hour. In 2020, Florida passed “Amendment 2,” so one can set up a $15 hourly minimum salary by way of 2026.

In April 2021, President Joe Biden issued an government order raising the minimum salary for federal contractors to $15 in keeping with hour. The order will have an effect on people whose employers set up new contracts with the federal authorities beginning January 30, 2022. The minimal salary will then index to inflation. The order may even remove the tipped salary for federal contractors by means of 2024.