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Majority of Low-Wage Workers Are Adults

March 4, 2014

Close your eyes and picture an average minimum wage worker. If you pictured a woman over 20 years old, then you’re on the right track. As reported by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in a December 2013 briefing paper, 87.5 percent of people making minimum wage are over the age of 20.

The EPI report goes into extensive detail about who minimum wage workers really are. Fifty-five percent of them are women; more than half are working full-time; and more than a quarter are parents. And on average, their income is covering half of total family income.

Corporations and lobbyists offer the falsehood that most people making minimum wage are just teenagers looking for some pocket change. They advance this mistruth because they’re more concerned about making an extra buck than fairly compensating their workers and improving conditions for their families. Their twisted logic seems to be the following: why pay the workers more when they can just apply for food stamps? (More on this in a future post!)

EPI’s research shows clearly that minimum wage workers are generally adults trying to provide for their families. Need a visual? Check out EPI’s awesome infographic. This is who will be helped by raising the minimum wage to a more livable wage.

As we say together with our partners in the Let Justice Roll living wage coalition, “A job should keep you out of poverty, not keep you in it.” A federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour — and $2.13 for tipped workers — is a moral outrage. Don’t let out-of-touch corporations and lobbyists make you think otherwise. Join us as we work to raise the minimum wage — it’s a moral imperative.

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