Economic Snapshot | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

Between 2013 and 2017, wage growth at the bottom was strongest in states with minimum wage increases

In 2017, the minimum wage was increased in 14 states and the District of Columbia through legislation. In seven more states, the minimum wage increased automatically because it is indexed to inflation. These changes came on the heels of other minimum wage increases in many of the same states over the previous couple of years. In fact, when we compare states with any minimum wage change since 2013 with those without any, as shown in the figure, the association between states with at least one minimum wage change and growth in wages for low-wage workers is quite strong.

Wage growth at the 10th percentile in states with at least one minimum wage increase from 2013 to 2017 was more than twice as fast as in states without any minimum wage increases (5.2 percent vs. 2.2 percent). As expected given women’s lower wages in general, this result is even stronger for women (5.1 percent vs. 0.8 percent).

Figure A

Wage growth at the bottom was strongest in states with minimum wage increases between 2013 and 2017: 10th-percentile wage growth from 2013 to 2017, by presence of state minimum wage increase between 2013 and 2017 and by gender

States with minimum wage increases between 2013 and 2017 States with no minimum wage increases between 2013 and 2017
Overall 5.2% 2.2%
Men 4.0% 3.0%
Women 5.1% 0.8%
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Notes: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia increased their minimum wages at some point between 2013 and 2017. Sample based on all workers ages 18–64.

Source: EPI analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group microdata

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Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would disproportionately raise pay for women. Although men are a larger share of the overall U.S. workforce, the majority of workers affected by raising the minimum wage (55.6 percent) are women.

Among working parents with children in their home, 32.0 percent of working mothers would receive a raise, as would 16.8 percent of working fathers. Among single parents, the effects are more dramatic: 44.6 percent of all single mothers would receive a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15 by 2024, as would nearly a third (31.0 percent) of single fathers. Large shares of minority workers would also benefit: 37.1 percent of women of color would receive a raise, along with 29.1 percent of men of color.

See related work on Minimum Wage | Women

See more work by Elise Gould