- 39.9% of self-identified women in the workforce (30.8 million) are making less than $15 an hour.
- 50% of self-identified women of color in the workforce (14.7 million) are making less than $15 an hour.
- Four in 10—41.8 percent (25.7 million)—of self-identified people of color in the workforce are making less than $15 an hour.
- Well over half of self-identified single parents—57.5 percent (11.2 million people—make less than $15 an hour.
- The overwhelming majority of people who would benefit from a raise in wages are not teenagers, but adults. While some 5.8 million teenagers (ages 16–19) make less than $15 per hour, 46.1 million adults (ages 20 and up) make less than $15 per hour.
The picture also varies dramatically according to where you live. In Mississippi, 45.3% of all workers, 62.9% of Black workers, 55.2% of women workers, and 69.7% of women of color earn less than $15. In Washington, D.C., just 8.5% of workers and 11.6% of women workers make less than $15. In fact, the minimum wage there is over $15, so only workers making the tipped subminimum wage earn less.
We hear so much about inflation these days and so little about why it’s hitting so many people so hard: because wages were too low before inflation rose. Because there are few places in the country where the minimum wage is a living wage even for one lone adult. And yet when Democrats press to raise the minimum wage, we hear so much about how maybe $15 an hour is reasonable in New York City, but it’s just Too Much for the heartland. Except that it turns out, if you even glance at information about a living wage, $15 is pretty much the minimum needed everywhere. Just because something is happening to a lot of people doesn’t make it right, and that’s the situation with 31.9% of U.S. workers being paid less than $15 an hour. It’s still wrong, and it ensures economic instability and a constant struggle for tens of millions of people, disproportionately people of color and women and most of all women of color.
Check out Oxfam's interactive map to see where your state stands.
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