Anytime the topic of discussion is minimum wage, it never fails that someone will vehemently cite that "only 1.5% of US workers make minimum wage." While this may seem rather insignificant with no context, when you start to look further at this and other statistic, you start to see a fuller picture that tells a different story.
What they all to often neglect to explain or maybe even realize themselves is that 1.5% represents roughly 1.1 million US citizens and in all actuality 1.2% or roughly 900,000 US citizens make UNDER federal minimum wage. This is due mostly to gig work and/or the food/beverage industry still utilizing the archaic tipping system, which is rooted in racism, as a loophole to legally pay under minimum.
If you analyze the numbers a little deeper, you see that despite labor trends calling for a minimum wage increase to catch up with inflation, 32% or roughly 52 million US citizens continue to make under the recommended amount of $15 and hour.
Even further if you begin to consider poverty in the US, these numbers begin to look even more grim. According to the 2020 US Census, our poverty rate is 11.4% which represents roughly 37 million US citizens. Even if you consider that 16.1% of those 37 million are under legal working age, the numbers are still quite staggering.
"FLSA was a comprehensive federal scheme which provided for minimum wages, overtime pay, record keeping requirements, and child labor regulations. The purpose of the minimum wage was to stabilize the post-depression economy and protect the workers in the labor force. The minimum wage was designed to create a MINIMUM STANDARD OF LIVING to protect the health and well-being of employees." - Cornell Law
While minimum wage has been previously utilized to lock out certain demographics from labor, we must also realize that it's impacts are still felt today. It's paramount to understand that to this day women and minorities are disproportionately effected by wage gaps. The federal minimum wage was and continues to be a critical tool for addressing my wage inequities.
Statistics aside a large number of our fellow humans are suffering right in our own backyards. The federal minimum wage hasn't been increased since 2009. If the current minimum wage is unable to adequately live up to a minimum standard of living in the modern time, then maybe it's time to consider an increase.