by David R. Henderson
National Center for Policy Analysis
June 10, 2014
Many believe that minimum wage-earners are the only earners in their households and are therefore poor. Thus, their reasoning goes, raising the minimum wage is a well-targeted way of helping poor people. This conventional “wisdom” is wrong on both counts. Most workers earning at or close to the minimum wage are not the sole earners in a household, and most of them are not in poor households. For those two reasons, raising the minimum wage is not a targeted way to help poor people. Numerous studies have not only failed to uncover evidence that minimum wage increases lower state poverty rates, but have suggested that the additional cost imposed on employers by a higher minimum wage results in widespread job loss and a loss of income to poorer households.