Rich States, Poor States: How a Federal Minimum Wage Hike Would Widen the Gap

By Yandle, Bruce | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, June 3, 2019 | Go to article overview

Rich States, Poor States: How a Federal Minimum Wage Hike Would Widen the Gap


Yandle, Bruce, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


With growing enthusiasm for lifting the federal minimum wage in Congress, it’s time to consider some data on wages and differences in the cost of living across the 50 states. The Raise the Wage Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., in January with broad support from his party, would raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour (where it has been since 2009) to $15.00 in 2024.

Anyone fresh to these shores, reading this last sentence with no knowledge on the topic, would likely be shocked: “Do you mean to say the U.S. minimum wage is $7.25 and has not been changed in 10 years? How do entry-level workers make it?”

Well, there is far more to the story. First off, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 542,000 out of 84 million U.S. wage earners were paid $7.25 per hour in 2017 — less than 1%. Of course, any one of these workers would be happy to see a paycheck based on a $15 hourly wage.

Remember, though, that any state or municipal government can independently establish its own unique minimum wage laws. As of January, some 30 states and the District of Columbia had minimum wage mandates exceeding the federal level, from a high of $13.25 in D.C. to $12.00 in California and Massachusetts to $11.10 in Colorado and New York to $10.10 in Connecticut and Hawaii.

As might be expected, differences in the mandated state wage levels closely reflect differences in state cost of living. Consider the comparative cost-of-living data in the accompanying Department of Commerce chart. Data points for each state show how that state’s cost compares with the U.S. average. Hawaii, the District of Columbia, New York, and California are positioned at the top. Their living costs are more than 14% higher than the U.S. average. As just noted, their minimum wage laws are also substantially higher than the $7.25 U.S. minimum.

Yandle Prices.jpg

At the lower end of the data, one finds states with substantially lower living costs than the U.S. average: Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia. The minimum wage rates in those states are $8.25, $7.25, and $9.25 respectively. The federal $7.25 minimum applies in another large group of generally lower-cost states: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Of course, each state and locality is unique, and there is more going on in each than just cost-of-living differences. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Rich States, Poor States: How a Federal Minimum Wage Hike Would Widen the Gap
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.