low wage map report cover 2022

The crisis of low wages in the US

New research reveals that nearly a third of all workers in the US earn under $15 an hour. But women and people of color do much more than their fair share of low-wage jobs, and as wages lose value, it's becoming a civil rights crisis in this country.

Nearly a third of the workforce (31.9 percent) is earning less than $15 an hour: roughly 52 million workers and their families are struggling to get by on wages of declining value.

Please visit the interactive map on low wages by state.

The impact on historically marginalized workers is significant.

  • Gender: While 25 percent of men earn less than $15, 40 percent of women do (31 million people).
  • Race: While 26 percent of white workers earn less than $15, 46 percent of Hispanic/Latinx workers do, and 47 percent of Black workers do.
  • Race and gender: Women of color (includes women who do not self identify as white) are disproportionately represented in the low-wage workforce. While 25 percent of men earn less than $15, and 40 percent of women do, HALF of working women of color earn less than $15. In 25 states, at least 60 percent of working women of color earn under $15.
  • Age: The vast majority of the workers earning less than $15 are NOT teenagers: 89 percent are age 20 or older.
  • Parents: Millions of low-wage workers are parents, struggling to raise children on low wages. Among working single parents, 57 percent (11.2 million people) earn less than $15.


Dr. Kaitlyn Henderson

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