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How minimum wage has changed in your state

  • How minimum wage has changed in your state

    When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standard Act into law in 1938, the federal minimum wage was 25 cents an hour. Fast forward 80 years and the federal minimum wage has jumped to $7.25 and created swirls of debate across the country. Twenty-one states use that $7.25 federal minimum wage, while 14 states and DC have minimum wages above $10 an hour.

    The political action organization Fight for $15 is among the largest activist groups working on raising the minimum wage; as the name suggests, the group organizes protests, strikes, and mass media campaigns working towards the goal of more than doubling the minimum wage to $15 an hour. All the major Democratic candidates for president have backed this plan, and President Trump has stated that he's considering it, though his history on the issue has been contradictory and unclear

    The academic debate surrounding minimum wage attempts to understand whether raising the minimum wage will cause job losses at retailers that employ many people at minimum wage: While some employees may earn more, overall well-being goes down when layoffs occur. A report released by the Congressional Budget Office states raising the minimum wage gradually to $15 by 2025 could cost 1.3 million jobs, while academics at the University of California Berkeley have predicted low effects on job loss and significant progress in combatting wealth inequality were the law to pass. 

    Stacker took a look at all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to explore the varying pay wages of hourly workers, how they compare to the living wage, and where voters and lawmakers are seeing the minimum wage go in the future. 

    Combining data from the NCSL's website and the site of the U.S. DOL and inflation-adjusted wages calculated using the CPI calculator with research from news and trusted sources, we discovered each state’s minimum wage, what has changed in 2018, and what the future looks like for America’s hourly workers.

    Take a tour from the lowest minimum wage of $5.15 in Georgia and Wyoming to the highest rate of $13.25 being paid to hourly workers in the District of Columbia. 

    You may also like: Can you live on minimum wage in your state?

    Updated by Zack Abrams

  • Alabama

    - Current minimum wage: no state-level minimum
    - Minimum wage in 2000: no state-level minimum
    - Minimum wage in 1980: no state-level minimum

    While 29 states (plus Washington D.C.) have set minimum wage levels above the federally mandated $7.25 an hour, Alabama is not one of them. Birmingham workers have been locked in battle with state legislators since 2016, when the city voted in favor of a 10-cent wage increase that was never put into practice; soon after, the legislature passed a law restricting cities and towns in Alabama from setting their own minimum wage.

  • Alaska

    - Current minimum wage: $9.89
    - Minimum wage in 2000: $5.65 ($8.59 inflation-adjusted)
    - Minimum wage in 1980: $3.60 ($11.88 inflation-adjusted)

    Alaska's minimum wage rose on Jan. 1, 2019 to $9.89 an hour, after rising from $9.84 in 2018, because of a 2014 law that increases the minimum wage with inflation. According to state law, public school bus drivers are paid at least twice the minimum wage, and the Alaska Permanent Fund sends yearly payments to all Alaskans, regardless of income

  • Arizona

    - Current minimum wage: $11.00
    - Minimum wage in 2000: no state-level minimum
    - Minimum wage in 1980: no state-level minimum

    Arizona’s minimum wage of $11.00 an hour exceeds the federal minimum wage by over $3, but still is almost 70 cents below what is considered a living wage for an individual. As recent as 2016 the minimum wage was $8.05.

  • Arkansas

    - Current minimum wage: $9.25
    - Minimum wage in 2000: $5.15 ($7.83 inflation-adjusted)
    - Minimum wage in 1980: $2.55 ($8.42 inflation-adjusted)

    The minimum wage in Arkansas is $2 over the federal minimum wage, as well as higher than its surrounding states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. In the 2018 midterm elections, voters approved an increase to the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021, a 29% increase over three years.

  • California

    - Current minimum wage: $12.00
    - Minimum wage in 2000: $5.75 ($8.74 inflation-adjusted)
    - Minimum wage in 1980: $2.90 ($9.57 inflation-adjusted)

    California’s minimum wage will continue to rise a dollar a year until it reaches $15 for large employers in 2022. Employers with 26 employees or fewer will see the hike to $15 an hour in 2023. The current wage is almost $3 under the living wage for an adult in the Golden State.

  • Colorado

    - Current minimum wage: $11.10
    - Minimum wage in 2000: $5.15 ($7.83 inflation-adjusted)
    - Minimum wage in 1980: $1.90 ($6.27 inflation-adjusted)

    Colorado is one of 11 states that increased its rates because of previously approved legislation or ballot initiatives. Over 2,000 employees of Amazon are slated to make $15 an hour, almost 50% more than the minimum wage.

  • Connecticut

    - Current minimum wage: $10.10
    - Minimum wage in 2000: $6.15 ($9.35 inflation-adjusted)
    - Minimum wage in 1980: $3.12 ($10.30 inflation-adjusted)

    The minimum wage is $2.85 higher than the federally mandated rate of $7.25. Governor Ned Lamont in May 2019 signed a bill to increase minimum wage to $15 incrementally between 2019 and 2023, with the first increase to $11 scheduled for October 2019.

  • Delaware

    - Current minimum wage: $8.75
    - Minimum wage in 2000: $5.65 ($8.59 inflation-adjusted)
    - Minimum wage in 1980: $2.00 ($6.60 inflation-adjusted)

    In July, Delaware joined the states increasing their minimum wages in 2018. The minimum wage will increase incrementally over four years, starting with $8.75 and ending at $10.25 an hour. The increase is still well below the living wage of $12.68 for an individual.

  • Florida

    - Current minimum wage: $8.46
    - Minimum wage in 2000: no state-level minimum
    - Minimum wage in 1980: no state-level minimum

    Florida’s minimum wage increased by 21 cents to $8.46 on Jan.1, 2019. The 2.5% increase is still more than $3 under the living wage for a Florida resident.

  • Georgia

    - Current minimum wage: $5.15
    - Minimum wage in 2000: $3.25 ($4.94 inflation-adjusted)
    - Minimum wage in 1980: $1.25 ($4.13 inflation-adjusted)

    Georgia’s state minimum wage is over $2 under the federally mandated rate of $7.25 an hour, the lowest minimum wage in the country along with Wyoming. At this rate, a resident would need to work 83 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.

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