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Idea of the Day: How Increasing the Minimum Wage Would Help People of Color

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How much does a full-time worker earning the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour make in one year? This worker earns only $15,080, which is $4,000 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Most people would agree that this is not a livable salary anywhere in the nation, especially for families with children. Raising the minimum wage would make a significant difference for all Americans—and people of color in particular; it would increase the total combined wages of people of color by $16.1 billion.

The federal minimum wage has stagnated at $7.25 per hour since 2009. This has resulted in millions of Americans struggling in poverty despite having a full-time job. Although many Americans work 40 hours or more each week, their wages are low enough that they must rely on benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, as well as other public assistance, to sustain themselves and their families. The current minimum wage economically marginalizes millions of Americans who have the capacity to generate growth in the economy.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund, women's issues)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention, the National Security Agency)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (energy and environment, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

For more from the same column, click here