Fact Sheet: Who Benefits from a Minimum Wage Increase?

Increasing New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour would give 537,535 New Jersey workers an average raise of $816 per year, giving struggling low-wage workers a crucial leg up in high-cost New Jersey while stimulating the state’s economy through increased consumer spending.

If someone making $7.25 per hour works 40 hours a week, every week, they earn only $15,080 a year before taxes – not nearly enough to meet essential needs of food and shelter.

While opponents of raising the minimum wage suggest that most workers who would benefit from a minimum wage increase are teenagers working part-time to finance their nights out or upgrade their cell phones, the facts paints a very different picture.

The beneficiaries of the wage increase can be broken down into two categories: directly affected (those making between $7.25 and $8.50 per hour who would see an immediate raise) and indirectly affected (those making between $8.50 and $9.75 per hour who would see a raise as pay scales are adjusted upwards).

In both categories, the workers who will benefit from an increase are overwhelmingly adults:

About one of every four affected workers has children:

Few affected workers are working part-time (under 20 hours per week); about half are working full-time (35 or more hours per week) and many are working between 20 and 35 hours per week:

Many of the workers affected by a wage increase have either a college degree or have attended some college:

Data Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of 2011 Current Population Survey, Outgoing Rotation Group.