A $15.00 Federal Minimum Wage: Who Would Benefit?

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 per hour. In a PERI Research Brief, Jeannette Wicks-Lim shows that a $15.00 minimum wage could deliver raises to approximately 65 million workers—more than two-fifths of the U.S. workforce. Her research shows that large percentages of workers from every major demographic group would receive raises from this wage hike. At the same time, since working women, African-Americans, Latinos, and workers from low-income households disproportionately earn near or below $15 an hour, these groups would benefit the most from a $15 minimum wage.

The recent surge of state and local campaigns for a $15.00 minimum wage has reached the national stage: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders is calling for a $15.00 federal minimum wage, a more than doubling of its current $7.25 per hour level. This report shows that a $15.00 minimum wage has the potential to deliver raises to 65 million workers— more than two-fifths (44 percent) of the U.S. workforce.

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