FAQ

What are the annual earnings for a full-time minimum wage worker?
Basic calculations

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Since it was first instituted in 1938, the federal minimum wage has established a floor for wages. While not every worker is eligible, it provides a minimum of earnings for the lowest-paid workers. 

Many states and even municipalities have their own minimum wages, including twenty that have rates higher than the federal minimum wage.

  • The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
  • A full-time minimum wage employee earns $15,080 annually.
  • In 2012, the poverty threshold for a single person was $11,945. For a family of four with two children it was $22,283.

An individual working full time at minimum wage will make enough to live above above the poverty line. However, if he or she is is the sole earner for a family of four, that income is only 65 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

Sources:
U.S. Census Bureau, Poverty Thresholds by Size of Family and Number of Children (XLS) Accessed 7/9/2013
U.S. Dept. of Labor. Wages.  Accessed 7/12/2013
U.S. Dept. of Labor. Wage and Hour Division. Accessed 11/5 2013

Post

Low Wage Workers
Affiliates Victoria Smith and Brian Halpin interviewed for their work on low-wage workers

Capital Public Radio, 5/19/14

Low-wage workers know they have to enhance their skills to escape low-wage jobs, but long hours and multiple jobs make skill-building and education nearly impossible, according to a new policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis. Joining us to talk more about the research are the authors of the brief, Victoria Smith, a UC Davis professor of sociology and a  faculty affiliate for the Center for Poverty Research, and Brian Halpin, a graduate student in sociology at UC Davis.

FAQ

What are the characteristics of minimum wage workers?
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

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In 2013, 75.9 million workers (or 59% of all wage and salary workers) in the United States age 16 and over were paid hourly wages. Among those 1.5 million workers earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Another 1.8 million had wages below the federal minimum.  Together these workers make up 4% of all hourly paid workers.

FAQ

What are poverty rates among working adults?
Official data by work experience

Image of What are poverty rates among working adults?

 

The Census Bureau reports poverty rates by work experience for people ages 18 to 64.  In 2012, the overall poverty rate for people ages 18 to 64 was 14%. 

FAQ

Who are the working poor?
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

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The majority of the people who live below the poverty level do not work. 

In 2012, 46.5 million people were poor.  According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 10.6 million or 23% of the poor were “working poor.” 

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