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What the Research Says About a $15 Minimum Wage

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U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) waits on a table at the Queensboro Restaurant, on May 31st, 2019, in the Queens borough of New York City. Ocasio-Cortez participated in an event to raise awareness for the One Fair Wage campaign, which calls to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers to a full minimum wage at the federal level.

The United States House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, higher than any current state minimum wage and more than double the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The bill is likely to face challenges in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009, and its value has been decreasing with inflation over the last 10 years. A yearly salary on $7.25 per hour comes out to about $15,000 per year, putting workers with families of two or more with no second source of income below the federal poverty level

Although the federal government sets a base minimum wage, states can pass laws to implement a higher minimum wage. Currently, 16 states and Puerto Rico have set a state minimum wage equal to the federal minimum wage, and another five have no set minimum wage, thus defaulting to the federal minimum wage.

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