Increases in the minimum wage are associated with better outcomes on a variety of health measures and could help improve the wellbeing of low-wage workers and their families.
The federal minimum wage has not increased in nearly 15 years, remaining at $7.25 since 2009.
In 2019, about 9.9 million workers had hourly wages at or below the effective minimum wage. - Younger people, women, Hispanic individuals, and people with lower levels of education were more likely to receive minimum wage.
Minimum wage increases have a positive effect on health and are associated with reduced rates of mortality due to suicides, alcohol or drugs, and improved parent-reported health among young children, among other key health indicators.
Increases in the minimum wage are associated with reduced racial and ethnic disparities in income and therefore may play a role in advancing health equity.
Researchers conclude minimum wage increases are associated with better health outcomes and that recent proposals to raise the minimum wage have potential for large, meaningful economic and health impacts on low-wage workers and their families.
About the Urban Institute
The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and its recent research.
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