Is the U.S. Minimum Wage Too Low? (Infographic)

In the U.S., the 2012 federal minimum wage is $7.25 per houróthat’s 2.7 times less than the average worker makes. Is this realistic, or does it need to change?

This new infographic, from Mint and Column Five Media, compares the average hourly earnings in the U.S. with the minimum wage, over the last 50 years. It’s a clear illustration of how much the gap between the two has been widening. Check it out below, and then tell us your thoughts on the minimum wage in the comments.

(Click on image to view it larger.)

Courtesy of Mint



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Latoya Brookins
Latoya Brookins4 years ago

Adding up basic bills, making $7.25 an hour full-time, would barely be scraping by. Not even enough to shop at thrift store.

It comes out to a little over $1000 a month. $1300-1500 a month would be better.

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago

The connection between low wages, bad economy , psychological and societal ills are clear.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

Sorry...But heck yes it's beyond to low!!! Now if it is at the last I heard which was $8.25...Now that is Chicago. What it is else where I think by fed regs is $7.45 or so. Does not matter, the 8 is really no different than the 7 ...NO reasonable adult can support themselves on that, let alone a family. You would need 25 people all in one home, full 40 hr. work weeks to cover the rent, food, utility's etc...But, you wouldn't have enough for the shrink you'd need for living with 24 other people!

paul m.
paul m5 years ago

way too low ,,,,Let some Polititions live off minimum wage ,, only thing is , they would be over paid,,,

Chad A.
Chad Anderson5 years ago

Kimberlee W. makes some good points about sub-minimum wages paid where women (usually women) are given tips. The minimum should be the minimum wage. Tips should be extra and not something to help marginal businesses get by.

Chad A.
Chad Anderson5 years ago

Increasing the national minimum wage would be a good way to help out the economy. People who earn minimum wage consume almost all of it so the multiplier effect is much greater than many other policies (like tax cuts). A boost to the minimum wage, extension and increase of unemployment benefits, expansion of medicaid, and more generous funding to expand food stamps would all really make a positive difference in fighting poverty right now.

Mary Donnelly
Mary Donnelly5 years ago

I agree with Robert O, and am amazed how few comments there have been on this post since I commented the first time.

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

Much too low. Nobody can realistically survive on that with skyrocketing inflation. Too many people are relegated to paying today's prices on yesterday's wages as it is, but for people earning minimum wage it's much worse.

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W5 years ago

And if you think this is bad, consider jobs where min. wage is not paid, like waitresses. Matter of fact, the min. pay there for the vast majority of states is 1/3 of min. wage. And Yes,
Tips are taxed. Tip your server in CASH. Otherwise, they have to turn somewhere between 8% and 12% to the gov't. which is still taking taxes out of their $2.35/hr.
And remember - they DON'T just serve your food. Most places, they also have to clean up after you, clean the restaurant seating areas, parking lot, prepare the entire line and make your salads and sides. For most shifts, that's about 1/4 to 1/3 the time you're there.
And also remember that most min. wage jobs are now going part-time so the employers won't be beholden to giving them any benefits of the ACA.
Walmart is currently in the process of eliminating their full-timers and offering them part-time. If they refuse, Walmart contacts unemployment to tell them that they were offered their jobs, just not their hours so the employee who really needs full-time can't even get that!
Boycott The Bastards!!

Heather M
Heather Marv5 years ago

That is way too low. People have to pay for food, accommodation, utilities.......etc.etc.etc.