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

In 2014, about 1.3 million U.S. workers age 16 and over earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Another 1.7 million had wages below the federal minimum.  Together these workers make up 4 percent of all hourly paid workers.

The proportion of hourly workers paid minimum wage or less was well below the level of 13 percent in 1979 when data was first collected on a regular basis and nearly the same as in 2013.

What were the characteristics of hourly workers paid at or below minimum wage in 2013?

  • Nearly half were under age 25; this age group accounted for about 20% of all hourly paid workers.
  • 15% of employed teenagers earned minimum wage or less, as compared to about 3% of workers over age 25
  • 63% were women and 37% were men; 5% of women earned minimum wage or less, as compared to 3% of men
  • 65% were part-time workers and 35% were full-time workers
  • 11% were in the West; 16% were in the Northeast; 26% were in the Mid-west; 47% were in the South
  • 65% were in service occupations, with 50% in food preparation and serving related occupations


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2014. (PDF) 2013. Accessed 11/3/2015