Minimum Wage Statistics: Growth, Demographics, US vs. Worldwide in 2022

A minimum wage is a legally dictated minimum hourly wage on a federal level that an employer has to pay to covered employees. However, some states have their own legally mandated minimum wages that differ from the federal one.

In the past few years, the possible increase in the minimum wage has been a trendy topic, so let’s go through the newest available data.

Top Minimum Wage Statistics: Editor’s Choice

Why Was Minimum Wage Created?

The US Congress introduced the national minimum wage in 1938 under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The main goals were to protect the labor force, help those who are part of the lowest-paid group, and stabilize the post-depression economy.

1. The 2020 minimum wage stats reveal that 8% of all hourly-paid workers earning wages at or below the federal minimum were in the leisure and hospitality industry.

As has historically been the case, the significant number of minimum wage jobs in the US are primarily in the leisure and hospitality industry and retail. Workers who get paid at or below the federal minimum wage are almost entirely restaurant, bar, or other food service workers.

2. According to 2020 minimum wage demographics, females represent 37.9% of all part-time hourly-paid workers with wages at or below the federal minimum.

It’s a common misconception that most minimum wage workers are teenagers when more than 70% are adults and primarily women. Through the years, women have consistently earned less than men, and in 2021, this wage gap is still very present.

3. According to the minimum wage statistics, in 2021, there is an 18% decrease in the earnings of a full-time federal minimum wage worker.

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour for more than ten years. Today, a full-time minimum wage worker earns $15,080 annually after adjusting to the increasing living costs. According to the available minimum wage facts, that is 18% less than what her counterpart made in 2009 when the last increase happened.

4. About 50,000 African Americans were federal minimum wage workers in 2020, according to BLS’s data on minimum wage workers by race.

Race and ethnicity do not significantly impact the demographics of the hourly-paid workers with wages at or below the federal minimum. The percentage of minimum wage workers differs little among the major races and ethnicity groups, making White, African American, and Hispanic workers almost equally vulnerable groups.

5. In 2020, the federal minimum wage monthly income was $1,160.

When taking the current federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour, the total gross wage for a full-time worker, without deductions, is $1,256.67 per month. However, after applying the FICA taxes, the minimum wage pay is reduced by approximately $96 per month, leaving her $1,160.

6. The recent minimum wage and poverty statistics indicate that a $15 minimum wage would reduce the number of people living in poverty by 0.9 million by 2025.

The Congressional Budget Office issued a report stating that implementing the Raise of the Wage Act of 2021 would significantly impact poverty levels in the US. According to the available facts and figures, its 2021 estimation differs from the 2019 projections by $0.4 million.

7. Individuals under the age of 24 represented 47.6% of the workers that earn federal minimum wage or less, according to the 2020 data on minimum wage by age.

Many young people begin their first work experience as minimum wage workers. The recent data reveals that about 5% of the workers aged between 16 and 19 earned the minimum wage or less, compared to 1% of workers aged 25 and older.

How Many People in the US Make Minimum Wage?

In February 2021, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics released a report stating that 247,000 workers in 2020 earned the actual federal minimum wage. In other words, these workers earned $7.25 per hour, which represents the current federal minimum wage. These figures are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a significant employment decrease.

8. The percent of the American workers earning minimum wage or less declined from 1.9% in 2019 to 1.5% in 2020.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on these figures. The rapid increase of unemployed people, especially minimum wage workers, influenced the hourly earnings distribution.

9. In 2020, the highest percentage of minimum wage workers by the state was in South Carolina, with 4% of workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage.

Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, and Louisiana followed, with around 3% of the hourly-paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage. However, the majority of the other states had less than 1% of these workers.

10. The 2021 federal minimum wage would be $11.53 if the minimum wage kept up with the inflation rate from 1968 onwards.

Keeping the rising minimum wages in step with inflation protects minimum wage workers against higher prices and allows them to purchase the same number of goods or services over time. On the other hand, if the minimum wage followed productivity, it would amount to $24.00.

11. The latest minimum wage data reveals that raising the federal minimum wage could also cut 1.4 million jobs in the US by 2025.

The higher minimum wage would cause an increase in product prices and increased costs for consumers. Consequently, the decrease in consumerism would eventually cause the reduction of minimum wage workers.

12. The recently available characteristics of minimum wage workers in 2020 reveal that 1% of the hourly-paid workers had a bachelor’s degree and higher.

A closer look at these figures shows that 170,000 minimum wage workers older than 15 years had less than a high school diploma, and 390,000 were high school graduates. On the other hand, 308,000 had some college but no degree.

13. The US living wage statistics show that the 2019 living wage was $16.54 per hour or $68,808 per year before taxes for a family of four.

Establishing a minimum wage that is also a living wage would enable an average American family’s income to be financially independent. However, the current minimum wage does not provide a living wage for most American families.

14. The 2020 facts about minimum wage workers reveal that around 90,000 people in sales and related occupations earn minimum wage or less.

Earning a minimum wage while being a college student isn’t terrible because it’s just a temporary solution and usually not a primary financial source. However, many workers earning a minimum wage support their families, making this figure above grim looking.

What State Has the Highest Minimum Wage?

In recent years, the capital city of the US has continuously passed some very progressive wage legislation that made a significant impact. This practice has continued, and in January 2021, Washington, D.C, had the highest minimum wage in the US with the rate of $15 per hour. In July 2021, D.C’s minimum wage will increase again by 1.3%. 

However, not all states will follow this trend, leaving many minimum wage workers no other option but to search for the best online payday loans.

15. According to the Washington state minimum wage history, the minimum wage increased on average by $0.64 in the last five years.

Washington State had a history of yearly increases in the minimum wage since 1961. In 2021, Washington’s minimum wage is $13.69 per hour, which is $6.44 higher than the current federal minimum wage.

16. The most recent raising of minimum wage statistics indicate that 39.7 million workers would benefit if the federal minimum wage rose to $15 by 2024.

According to the EPI, the proposed Raise the Wage Act would increase pay for about 26.6% of all US workers by 2024. According to the recent payday loan statistics, the higher minimum wage would also mean an increased supply of unsecured credit and lower payday loan usage.

17. The highest minimum wage in US history is $15 per hour.

However, in 2021, only New York City and Washington, D.C. have the minimum wage this high. There is a widespread opinion amongst many Americans that raising the federal minimum wage on a national level to $15 per hour would finally give many minimum wage workers some financial stability.

What State Has the Lowest Minimum Wage?

Even though every state in the US can decide the minimum wage amount for itself, the only condition is that it shouldn’t be below the federal level. However, according to the lowest minimum wage by state data, some states have a minimum wage way below the national marker.

These minimum wage differences among states signify how problematic this issue can be on every level.

18. Georgia and Wyoming have the lowest minimum wage in the US at $5.15 per hour.

However, even if the state law in Georgia dictates lower minimum wage, the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act applies, which means that most workers earn a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

For instance, Wisconsin avoided the potential confusion by declaring $7.25 as the minimum wage per hour. 

19. According to the latest California minimum wage statistics, only 0.6% of hourly-paid workers earned federal minimum wage or less in 2020.

California has two minimum wage rates that depend on the number of employees. If the company has 25 employees or less, their minimum wage is $13 per hour. Minimum wage workers who are part of a company with over 26 employees earn $14 per hour.

20. The most recent data reveal that Mexico has the lowest minimum wage in the world, with $1.05 per hour.

Mexico’s minimum wage kept up with inflation in recent years. So this country successfully avoided sudden wage increases followed by increased prices. However, the minimum wage rate has been so low for many years, making life hard for a single person, let alone a whole family.

Worldwide Statistics About Minimum Wage

Hundreds of million workers earn less than minimum wage, usually because they are not legally covered or because of non-compliance. Let’s dive into these statistics of different countries worldwide.

21. 19% of all wage workers in the world earn the applicable hourly minimum wage or below.

A high percentage of minimum wage workers is partly or not protected at all by legal and regulatory frameworks. Even though men represent the majority of the minimum wage workers, women make up around 47% of the world’s sub-minimum and minimum wage earners.

22. According to the recent EU statistics on countries without a minimum wage, 6 out of 27 member states didn’t have a national wage in 2021.

European Union members who didn’t have a national minimum wage in 2021 were Sweden, Finland, Cyprus, Denmark, Italy, and Austria. In many of these countries, collective agreements defined the minimum wage for a range of specific sectors.

23. The available 2020 statistics show that Japan’s minimum wage increased to 902 JPY, or approximately $8.28 per hour.

The 2020 minimum wage increase of 1 Yen was the lowest one in 16 years in Japan. The Japanese Central Minimum Wages Council issued a recommendation stating that minimum wage levels should not change until the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

24. The latest statistics on minimum wage indicate that 90% of the 187 ILO member states have minimum wages, statutory or negotiated.

The minimum wage rates, in general, vary across countries around the world. Many countries have a single national minimum wage, while other countries have a more complicated system with multiple wages.

Minimum Wage Statistics: The Takeaway

A minimum wage is a critical labor market factor that, if correctly maintained, can provide the base for fair and adequate pay for American workers. However, the failure to raise appropriately and frequently the federal minimum wage in recent years is one of several reasons that have denied a generation of American workers a more significant improvement in their quality of life.

According to available minimum wage statistics, the stagnation of the minimum wage and ever-rising living costs left many minimum wage workers today in a significantly worse situation than their counterparts 50 years ago.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people make minimum wage?

Around 61 million people in the world are minimum wage workers, earning the existing hourly minimum wage. However, around 266 million wage workers usually earn less because they are not legally covered. 

In many countries, agricultural and domestic workers are the ones that most frequently get excluded from the minimum wage system, earning less than minimum wage. The high degree of informal economy is one of the main reasons why the rights of these workers aren’t enough for the enforcement of minimum wages. 

How much do minimum wage workers make a year?

On average, minimum wage workers working full-time (40 hours a week) earn $15,078 a year. Being in the group of minimum wage earners dramatically impacts the quality of life for an average American, which is why around 7.8% of them have two or more jobs.

What percent of jobs are minimum wage?

Recent studies show that almost 44% of the jobs in the USA are qualified as low and minimum wage. In other words, nearly 55 million Americans earn between $15,000 and $18,000 a year, which is strange for one of the biggest economies in the world.

Does minimum wage apply to part-time?

Recent studies show that almost 44% of the jobs in the USA are qualified as low and minimum wage. In other words, nearly 55 million Americans earn

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that the minimum wage affects full-time and part-time employment in private and government sectors (including federal, state, and local government). 

Of course, there are some exceptions to this federal law, such as workers with disabilities, full-time students, employees under 20, tipped employees, student learners, apprentices, and messengers.

What percentage of workers earn minimum wage?

According to 2020 minimum wage statistics, there was a decline in the number of workers earning a minimum wage that amounts to 1.5% of all workers paid by the hour. This decline is probably largely influenced by the global COVID-19 pandemic, affecting the labor market in many different ways.


BLS, Congressional Budget Office, Economic Policy Institute, Eurostat, ILO, L&I, Living Wage Calculator, NBC News, Sapling, Statista, Statista, Statista, Statista, Statista, Trading Economics, World Population Review