Ending Hunger in America

The 2014 Hunger Report

Raise the Minimum Wage

Income from work is the primary buffer against hunger for the vast majority of American families. Yet increasing numbers of jobs pay poverty-level wages.

For most workers, wages are eroding in real value even as their productivity rises. When the economy grows, the top earners capture far more than their share of the gains. Nowhere does income inequality come into sharper focus than at the bottom of the income distribution, where the minimum wage sets the floor. Had wages and productivity risen at the same rate for everyone, as in the past, the poverty rate in 2007 would have been 44 percent lower than it was.

It’s time to give workers a fair deal and raise the minimum wage.

Key Facts:

  • If it kept up with productivity growth, the minimum wage would be $18.67.
  • Congress has raised the minimum wage only three times in the past 30 years.
  • 80 percent of minimum wage earners are age 20 or older.
  • Two-thirds of restaurant workers who earn the “tipped minimum wage” of only $2.13 (frozen since 1991) an hour are women.

Learn more about this issue in Chapter 2 of the 2014 Hunger Report: