Up to 35 million workers—nearly a third of the U.S. workforce—would see their incomes increase with a raise in the minimum wage, according to a new study by The Hamilton Project that details the “ripple effect”: that an increase in minimum wage also tends to bump up pay for workers who earn slightly more than the minimum wage.
Less than 3 percent of workers are paid exactly minimum wage, but close to 30 percent earn equal to or below 150 percent of the minimum wage ($10.88 for states where the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is the base). The study uses data from 2012, when 18 states and Washington, D.C. fixed minimum hourly pay above the federal threshold of $7.25. (In 2014, that number rose to 21 states plus D.C.) The Hamilton Project estimates that 16 million workers in these states could gain from a minimum wage hike; the other 32 states could see up to 18.9 million workers earning more.
In Montana, where the minimum wage in 2012 was $7.65, the highest share of workers—37.2 percent—made equal to or less than 150 percent of the minimum wage. Where does your state stand? (Click to enlarge.)