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InsiderOnline Blog: March 2013

Who Really Earns the Minimum?

Earning the minimum wage doesn’t mean you’re living in poverty. Most likely it means you’re a teenager working an after-school job. James Sherk reports that just over half of all minimum wage earners are between ages 16 and 24:

Minimum-wage workers under 25 are typically not their family’s sole breadwinners. Rather, they tend to live in middle-class households that do not rely on their earnings. Generally, they have not finished their schooling and are working part-time jobs. Over three-fifths of them (62 percent) are currently enrolled in school. [Internal citation omitted.]

Those part-time jobs that can help young people gain the work skills they need to be successful and earn more when they get older—if their employers don’t respond to a higher minimum wage by replacing them with higher-skilled workers or substituting more capital for their labor.

And raising the minimum wage isn’t likely to help adults in poverty, either, says Sherk. Only one-quarter of those earning the minimum wage live in poverty. Two-thirds of those living in poverty don’t even work. [The Heritage Foundation, February 28]

Posted on 03/07/13 08:18 PM by Alex Adrianson

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