Nationwide, 9.3% of U.S. workers make at or near their state’s minimum wage, according to estimates from the Economic Policy Institute.
That 9.3% includes people who actually make less than the minimum wage because they’re among the groups of low-wage workers who aren’t protected by minimum wage laws, such as the disabled and teenagers.
Most states have minimum wages above the federal level
The federal minimum wage has not increased since 2009 and is currently set at $7.25 an hour. But 29 states and D.C. have higher minimums.
For tipped workers, the federal minimum wage is $2.13 — 18 states use this rate; the other 32 set a higher minimum wage for tipped workers.
Some states are going even further
Since 2012, workers have staged strikes and demanded a living wage as they “Fight for $15.” In the U.S., more than 40% of all workers earn less than $15 an hour.
In California, Governor Jerry Brown reached a deal with lawmakers and labor unions to raise the minimum wage from $10 to $15 by 2022. With 2.5% inflation, $15 an hour would amount to an annual salary of about $36,200 in 2022.
The deal was announced Monday but must still be approved by the state’s legislature.
New York is also considering a minimum wage hike. Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a 67% increase from $9 an hour to $15 over the next several years. The increase could be included in the annual state budget which may be voted on this week.
If either New York or California adopts an increase, that state it would be the first to have a $15 minimum wage.
Some cities have their own minimum wages
Around the country there are 22 cities and counties that have minimum wages that are higher than their state’s levels. Among them are Albuquerque, New Mexico, Louisville, Kentucky and Emeryville, California. At $14.14 an hour, Emeryville’s minimum wage is currently the highest in the country.
North Carolina and Alabama have recently passed laws to keep their cities from raising the minimum wage.
Birmingham, Alabama had voted to raise its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. But that was struck down before it could take effect when Alabama passed a law preventing cities from enacting their own minimum wages.
Several cities and counties in North Carolina had minimum wages that were higher than the state’s $7.25 an hour. However, last week the state enacted a law striking them down.