Demographics of Low-Wage Workers

The overwhelming majority of low-wage earners who would receive a raise by restoring the minimum wage to its historic value are adults who spend their careers in frontline low-wage industries that make our economy run.  Fast-growing low-wage jobs like home care are disproportionately held by female and older workers.

Contrary to stereotypes and the repeated claims of minimum wage opponents, the overwhelming majority of low-wage workers are adults, not teens, and they contribute a substantial portion of their households’ incomes.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, three quarters of minimum wage earners are 20 or older.

According to the Economic Policy Institute’s State of Working America, a stunning 35 million Americans – 26 percent of our workforce – earn less than $10.55 an hour. 

The following table, courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute, shows the demographics of workers making less than $9.72 an hour: