Does raising the minimum wage lift you out of poverty?

by vjkajoyce on December 2, 2016 - 3:53pm









The purpose of this research post is to investigate if raising the minimum wage decreases the poverty level in an area. The reason for this investigation is that politicians pontificate that families cannot live on the minimum wage.

We are told a raise in the minimum wage will raise families out of poverty.

 Is that true?

We will create a statistical data table to examine this phenomenon.

Statistic and data will be taken from The United States Census Bureau and the United States Department of Labor.

The United States has a plethora of statics available at one’s fingertips

Six states will be studied is this project: Wisconsin and Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York, Texas and New Mexico, Michigan and Wisconsin.

These states were selected because of their geographical positioning and population.

The capitols of the states was selected will be examined.

 Capitols are selected because they pretty much have the same industry in the area: state government.

The population studied will be the age group between 15 and 24.This age group was selected because they are more apt to be working at low skill entry level jobs. These types of jobs are what government workers need. Restaurants, transportation and office services are some of the services most needed by these employees and the 15 to 24 years old are the most apt to accept these low paying entry level jobs.

We also studied the percentage of younger people (under 24) who still live at home. We deemed this important because one usually strikes out on their own once they turn 18.If you cannot make it on your own after 18 years of age; you are more apt to live at home. If the economy is not thriving you are likely to stay living at home because you cannot afford rent, mortgage etc. We feel that this is an important statistic.

It should be noted that Lansing, Michigan, Austin, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin all have their state universities located there. State universities tend to raise the income level because of the faculty and staff who reside there.

One aberration to this fact is Michigan. You would think that with a huge university in that town, it would match Austin, Texas and Madison, Wisconsin. However the statistics don’t support that. One can only deduce that the whole state of Michigan is depressed as well. Michigan also has the second highest minimum wage in our study.

Wisconsin has the lowest percentage of 15-24 year olds living at home, the lowest in the poverty level and the second highest of median income.

New York has the highest minimum wage, the highest of 15 to 24 year olds living at home and the second highest poverty rate. It also was second to last as far as median income.

The conclusion of this data table is that minimum wage does not lift you out of poverty.

It is realized that there are other forced and issues that keeps one in the poverty. The data show that the states with the two highest minimum wages also have one of the state’s highest poverty level.


U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division Minimum Wage Laws Retrieved from August 1, 2016


U.S. Census Bureau Fact finder/ Poverty/Children Characteristics

Austin, Texas:

Madison, Wisconsin:

Albany, New York:

Lansing, Michigan:

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:

Sante Fe, New Mexico:






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