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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: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or lbartolomeo@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Talk Poverty, faith)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or eshulman@americanprogress.org

Print: Katie Murphy (Legal Progress)
202.495.3682 or kmurphy@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or jmolina@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