Fact or Fiction: Most minimum wage workers are teenagers, so raising the federal minimum wage would majority give raises to dependents.

JILLIAN SYLVESTER

In 2019, 17% of workers earning at or below minimum wage were ages 16-19. Because of this, this statement is a myth. 83% of minimum wage workers are older than 19.  

Raising the minimum wage to $12 would give 35 million workers a raise and bring 4.5 million people out of poverty, as said by the Economic Policy Institute. And, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, raising the minimum wage has had no discernible effect on the economy in the past. 

Furthermore, in the United States, there are no states in which minimum wage can afford rent for a two bedroom apartment. In Connecticut (when the minimum wage was $12), an employee would have to work 74 hours per week to afford rent for a modest one bedroom apartment of average rent. Information on other states can be found here. However, on average, a worker needs to earn $24.90 per hour to afford the rent in their area. 

The $7.25 minimum wage is no longer sufficient in a country where prices continuously rise with the productivity level. Workers are getting more done but are being paid the same amount.

Sources:

“The Federal Minimum Wage:In Brief .” Congressional Research Service, 4 Feb. 2021, crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R43089/9.

“The Productivity–Pay Gap.” Economic Policy Institute, Aug. 2021, http://www.epi.org/productivity-pay-gap/.

Report • By David Cooper • July 14. “Raising the Minimum Wage to $12 by 2020 Would Lift Wages for 35 Million American Workers.” Economic Policy Institute, 14 July 2015, http://www.epi.org/publication/raising-the-minimum-wage-to-12-by-2020-would-lift-wages-for-35-million-american-workers/.

“Research: When a Higher Minimum Wage Leads to Lower Compensation.” Harvard Business Review, 17 Sept. 2021, hbr.org/2021/06/research-when-a-higher-minimum-wage-leads-to-lower-compensation.Schmitt, John. “Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment.” Center for Economic and Policy Research, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Feb. 2013, cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf.

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