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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