The Raise the Wage Act would have the following benefits:
Gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would lift pay for 32 million workers—21% of the U.S. workforce.
Affected workers who work year round would earn an extra $3,300 a year—enough to make a tremendous difference in the life of a cashier, home health aide, or fast-food worker who today struggles to get by on less than $25,000 a year.
A majority (59%) of workers whose total family income is below the poverty line would receive a pay increase if the minimum wage were raised to $15 by 2025.
A $15 minimum wage would begin to reverse decades of growing pay inequalitybetween the most underpaid workers and workers receiving close to the median wage, particularly along gender and racial lines. For example, minimum wage increases in the late 1960s explained 20% of the decrease in the Black–white earnings gap in the years that followed, whereas failures to adequately increase the minimum wage after 1979 account for almost half of the increase in inequality between women at the middle and bottom of the wage distribution.
A $15 minimum wage by 2025 would generate $107 billion in higher wages for workers and would also benefit communities across the country. Because underpaid workers spend much of their extra earnings, this injection of wages will help stimulate the economy and spur greater business activity and job growth.
Nearly one-third (31%) of African Americans and one-quarter (26%) of Latinoswould get a raise if the federal minimum wage were increased to $15.
Almost one in four (23%) of those who would benefit is a Black or Latina woman.
African Americans and Latinos are paid 10%–15% less than white workers with the same characteristics, so The Raise the Wage Act will deliver the largest benefits to Black and Latino workers: about $3,500 annually for a year-round worker.
Minimum wage increases in the 1960s Civil Rights Era significantly reduced Black–white earnings inequality and are responsible for more than 20% of the overall reduction in later years.
More than half (51%) of workers who would benefit are adults between the ages of 25 and 54; only one in 10 is a teenager.
Nearly six in 10 (59%) are women.
More than half (54%) work full time.
More than four in 10 (43%) have some college experience.
More than a quarter (28%) have children.
Essential and front-line workers make up a majority (60%) of those who would benefit from a $15 minimum wage. The median pay is well under $15 an hour for many essential and front-line jobs; examples include substitute teachers($13.84), nursing assistants ($14.26), and home health aides ($12.15).
More than one-third (35%) of those working in residential or nursing care facilities would see their pay increase, in addition to home health aides and other health care support workers.
One in three retail-sector workers (36%) would get a raise, including 42% of workers in grocery stores.
More than four in 10 (43% of) janitors, housekeepers, and other cleaning workers would benefit.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of servers, cooks, and other food preparation workerswould see their earnings rise by $5,800 on a year-round basis.
Ten million workers in health care, education, construction, and manufacturing would see a raise—representing nearly one-third (31%) of the workers who would see a raise.
There are 1.3 million tipped workers throughout the country who are paid as little as $2.13 per hour because Congress has not lifted the federal tipped wage in 30 years. Another 1.8 million tipped workers receive wages above $2.13, but still less than their state’s regular minimum wage.
Seven states (Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) have already eliminated their lower tipped minimum wage. In these “one-fair-wage” states, tipped workers in these states are paid the same minimum wage as everyone else before tips. For restaurant servers and bartenders, take-home pay in one-fair-wage states is 21% higher, on average, than in $2.13 states.
Having a lower minimum wage for tipped jobs results in dramatically higher poverty rates for tipped workers. In states that use the federal $2.13 tipped minimum wage, the poverty rate among servers and bartenders is 13.3%—5.6 percentage points higher than the 7.7% poverty rate among servers and bartenders in one-fair-wage states.
Eliminating the lower tipped minimum wage has not harmed growth in the restaurant industry or tipped jobs. From 2011 to 2019, one-fair-wage states had stronger restaurant growth than states that had a lower tipped minimum wage—both in the number of full-service restaurants (17.5% versus 11.1%) and in full-service restaurant employment (23.8% versus 18.7%).
High-quality academic scholarship confirms that modest increases in the minimum wage have not led to detectable job losses.
After the federal minimum wage was raised to its highest historical peak in 1968, wages grew and racial earnings gaps closed without constricting employment opportunities for underpaid workers overall.
Comprehensive research on 138 state-level minimum wage increases shows that all underpaid workers benefit from minimum wage increases, not just teenagers or restaurant workers.
Multiple studies conclude that total annual incomes of families at the bottom of the income distribution rise significantly after a minimum wage increase. Workers in low-wage jobs and their families benefit the most from these income increases, reducing poverty and income inequality.
By providing families with higher incomes, minimum wage increases have improved infant health and also reduced child abuse and teenage pregnancy.