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April 2016 Report 1061

Characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2015

Characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2015 image

In 2015, 78.2 million workers age 16 and older in the United States were paid at hourly rates, representing 58.5 percent of all wage and salary workers. Among those paid by the hour, 870,000 workers earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 1.7 million had wages below the federal minimum. Together, these 2.6 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum made up 3.3 percent of all hourly paid workers.

The percentage of hourly paid workers earning the prevailing federal minimum wage or less declined from 3.9 percent in 2014 to 3.3 percent in 2015. This remains well below the percentage of 13.4 recorded in 1979, when data for hourly-paid were first collected on a regular basis. (See table 10.)

This report presents highlights and statistical tables describing workers who earned at or below the federal minimum wage in 2015. The data are obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a national monthly survey of approximately 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Information on earnings is collected from one-fourth of the CPS sample each month.

The CPS does not include questions on whether workers are covered by the minimum wage provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or by individual state or local minimum wage laws. The estimates of workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage are based solely on the hourly wage they report, which does not include overtime pay, tips, or commissions. See the accompanying technical notes section for more information, including a description of the source of the data and an explanation of the concepts and definitions used in this report.

Highlights

The following are highlights from the 2015 data:

Age. Minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up about half of those paid the federal minimum wage or less. Among employed teenagers (ages 16 to 19) paid by the hour, about 11 percent earned the minimum wage or less, compared with about 2 percent of workers age 25 and older. (See tables 1 and 7.)

Gender. Among workers who were paid hourly rates in 2015, about 4 percent of women and about 3 percent of men had wages at or below the prevailing federal minimum. (See table 1.)

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. The major race and ethnicity groups had similar percentages of hourly workers paid wages at or below the federal minimum. About 3 percent of White, Asian, and Hispanic or Latino workers earned the federal minimum wage or less. Among Black workers, the percentage was about 4 percent. (See table 1.)

Education. Among hourly paid workers age 16 and older, about 6 percent of those without a high school diploma earned the federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 3 percent of those who had a high school diploma (with no college), 3 percent of those with some college or an associate degree, and about 2 percent of college graduates. (See table 6.)

Marital status. Of those paid an hourly wage, never-married workers, who tend to be young, were more likely (5 percent) than married workers (2 percent) to earn the federal minimum wage or less. (See table 8.)

Full- and part-time status. About 7 percent of part-time workers (those who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week) were paid at or below the federal minimum wage, compared with about 2 percent of full-time workers. (See tables 1 and 9.)

Occupation. Among major occupational groups, the highest percentage of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage was in service occupations, at about 9 percent. Almost two-thirds of workers earning the minimum wage or less in 2015 were employed in service occupations, mostly in food preparation and serving related jobs. (See table 4.)

Industry. The industry with the highest percentage of workers earning hourly wages at or below the federal minimum wage was leisure and hospitality (15 percent). Nearly three-fifths of all workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, the vast majority in restaurants and other food services. For many of these workers, tips may supplement the hourly wages received. (See table 5.)

State of residence. The states with the highest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were in the South: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia (all were about 6 percent). The states with the lowest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were in the West: Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington (all were about 1 percent). It should be noted that some states have laws establishing higher minimum wage rates than the federal minimum wage. (See tables 2 and 3.)

Statistical Tables

Table 1. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by selected characteristics, 2015 annual averages
Characteristic Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below the minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below the minimum age
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Age and gender

 

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

16 to 24 years

15,562 1,153 475 678 19.9 45.0 54.6 40.1 7.4 3.1 4.4

16 to 19 years

4,355 487 258 229 5.6 19.0 29.6 13.6 11.2 5.9 5.3

25 years and older

62,670 1,408 395 1,013 80.1 55.0 45.4 59.9 2.2 0.6 1.6

Men, 16 years and older

38,732 959 330 629 49.5 37.4 37.9 37.2 2.5 0.9 1.6

16 to 24 years

7,778 417 193 224 9.9 16.3 22.1 13.3 5.4 2.5 2.9

16 to 19 years

2,124 194 107 87 2.7 7.6 12.3 5.1 9.1 5.1 4.1

25 years and older

30,954 542 137 404 39.6 21.2 15.8 23.9 1.8 0.4 1.3

Women, 16 years and older

39,500 1,602 540 1,062 50.5 62.6 62.1 62.8 4.1 1.4 2.7

16 to 24 years

7,784 736 282 454 10.0 28.7 32.5 26.8 9.5 3.6 5.8

16 to 19 years

2,231 293 150 143 2.9 11.4 17.3 8.4 13.1 6.7 6.4

25 years and older

31,716 866 258 608 40.5 33.8 29.6 36.0 2.7 0.8 1.9

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

 

White(1)

60,306 1,872 561 1,311 77.1 73.1 64.4 77.5 3.1 0.9 2.2

Men

30,448 667 218 450 38.9 26.1 25.0 26.6 2.2 0.7 1.5

Women

29,858 1,205 343 862 38.2 47.0 39.4 51.0 4.0 1.1 2.9

Black or African American(1)

11,178 481 247 234 14.3 18.8 28.4 13.9 4.3 2.2 2.1

Men

5,015 212 85 127 6.4 8.3 9.8 7.5 4.2 1.7 2.5

Women

6,163 270 162 108 7.9 10.5 18.6 6.4 4.4 2.6 1.7

Asian(1)

3,690 109 32 78 4.7 4.3 3.6 4.6 3.0 0.9 2.1

Men

1,715 35 12 23 2.2 1.4 1.4 1.4 2.0 0.7 1.3

Women

1,975 74 20 55 2.5 2.9 2.3 3.2 3.8 1.0 2.8

Hispanic or Latino(1)

15,809 459 159 300 20.2 17.9 18.3 17.7 2.9 1.0 1.9

Men

8,825 188 67 121 11.3 7.3 7.7 7.1 2.1 0.8 1.4

Women

6,984 272 92 179 8.9 10.6 10.6 10.6 3.9 1.3 2.6

Full- and part-time status

 

Full-time workers(2)

57,809 1,075 288 787 73.9 42.0 33.1 46.6 1.9 0.5 1.4

Men

31,662 469 118 351 40.5 18.3 13.6 20.8 1.5 0.4 1.1

Women

26,146 606 170 436 33.4 23.7 19.6 25.8 2.3 0.7 1.7

Part-time workers(2)

20,285 1,477 579 898 25.9 57.7 66.6 53.1 7.3 2.9 4.4

Men

6,989 486 212 274 8.9 19.0 24.4 16.2 7.0 3.0 3.9

Women

13,296 991 367 624 17.0 38.7 42.2 36.9 7.5 2.8 4.7

(1) Estimates for the above race groups—White, Black or African American, and Asian—do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

(2) The distinction between full- and part-time workers is based on hours usually worked. These data will not sum to totals because full- or part-time status on the principal job is not identifiable for a small number of multiple jobholders. Full time is 35 hours or more per week; part time is less than 35 hours.

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 2. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by census region and division, 2015 annual averages
Region and division Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

Northeast

13,133 406 106 300 16.8 15.8 12.2 17.7 3.1 0.8 2.3

New England

3,790 108 20 88 4.8 4.2 2.3 5.2 2.9 0.5 2.3

Middle Atlantic

9,343 298 86 212 11.9 11.6 9.9 12.5 3.2 0.9 2.3

Midwest

18,593 600 169 431 23.8 23.4 19.4 25.5 3.2 0.9 2.3

East North Central

12,640 425 106 319 16.2 16.6 12.2 18.9 3.4 0.8 2.5

West North Central

5,953 175 62 112 7.6 6.8 7.2 6.7 2.9 1.0 1.9

South

27,583 1,242 501 741 35.3 48.5 57.6 43.8 4.5 1.8 2.7

South Atlantic

14,093 607 211 397 18.0 23.7 24.2 23.5 4.3 1.5 2.8

East South Central

4,646 226 117 109 5.9 8.8 13.4 6.5 4.9 2.5 2.4

West South Central

8,843 409 174 235 11.3 16.0 20.0 13.9 4.6 2.0 2.7

West

18,923 313 94 219 24.2 12.2 10.8 12.9 1.7 0.5 1.2

Mountain

5,881 159 53 106 7.5 6.2 6.1 6.3 2.7 0.9 1.8

Pacific

13,042 153 41 113 16.7 6.0 4.7 6.7 1.2 0.3 0.9

Note: Data exclude all self-employed persons whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

The four major regions and nine census divisions of the United States are as follows:

Northeast

New England: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

Middle Atlantic: New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

Midwest

East North Central: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin

West North Central: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota

South

South Atlantic: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia

East South Central: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee

West South Central: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas

West

Mountain: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming

Pacific: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 3. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by state, 2015 annual averages
State Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

Alabama

1,182 66 40 26 1.5 2.6 4.6 1.6 5.6 3.4 2.2

Alaska

209 3 1 2 0.3 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.2 0.4 0.8

Arizona

1,627 44 6 38 2.1 1.7 0.7 2.2 2.7 0.4 2.3

Arkansas

712 22 10 12 0.9 0.9 1.1 0.7 3.1 1.4 1.7

California

9,667 115 25 90 12.4 4.5 2.9 5.3 1.2 0.3 0.9

Colorado

1,242 22 3 19 1.6 0.9 0.3 1.1 1.8 0.2 1.5

Connecticut

904 27 3 23 1.2 1.0 0.4 1.4 2.9 0.4 2.6

Delaware

236 6 2 4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 2.6 0.7 1.9

District of Columbia

112 3 1 2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.0 0.8 2.2

Florida

4,238 160 13 147 5.4 6.2 1.5 8.7 3.8 0.3 3.5

Georgia

2,173 95 46 49 2.8 3.7 5.3 2.9 4.4 2.1 2.3

Hawaii

356 10 5 5 0.5 0.4 0.6 0.3 2.8 1.5 1.3

Idaho

458 21 15 6 0.6 0.8 1.7 0.4 4.6 3.2 1.4

Illinois

3,154 101 15 86 4.0 3.9 1.7 5.1 3.2 0.5 2.7

Indiana

1,779 69 32 37 2.3 2.7 3.7 2.2 3.9 1.8 2.1

Iowa

931 35 17 18 1.2 1.4 2.0 1.0 3.7 1.8 1.9

Kansas

794 33 16 17 1.0 1.3 1.8 1.0 4.1 2.0 2.1

Kentucky

1,090 38 15 23 1.4 1.5 1.7 1.4 3.5 1.4 2.1

Louisiana

1,094 70 38 32 1.4 2.8 4.4 1.9 6.4 3.5 2.9

Maine

359 10 2 8 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.5 2.7 0.5 2.2

Maryland

1,418 31 5 25 1.8 1.2 0.6 1.5 2.2 0.4 1.8

Massachusetts

1,651 48 9 39 2.1 1.9 1.1 2.3 2.9 0.6 2.3

Michigan

2,706 101 13 88 3.5 4.0 1.5 5.2 3.7 0.5 3.3

Minnesota

1,603 26 10 16 2.0 1.0 1.2 0.9 1.6 0.6 1.0

Mississippi

726 45 27 18 0.9 1.8 3.1 1.1 6.2 3.7 2.5

Missouri

1,583 57 13 44 2.0 2.2 1.5 2.6 3.6 0.8 2.8

Montana

294 6 2 4 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.2 2.0 0.7 1.3

Nebraska

558 13 4 9 0.7 0.5 0.5 0.5 2.3 0.7 1.6

Nevada

794 20 9 10 1.0 0.8 1.1 0.6 2.5 1.2 1.3

New Hampshire

389 16 5 11 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.7 4.1 1.2 2.9

New Jersey

1,803 50 8 42 2.3 2.0 0.9 2.5 2.8 0.4 2.3

New Mexico

511 16 3 13 0.7 0.6 0.3 0.8 3.1 0.5 2.5

New York

4,015 97 24 74 5.1 3.8 2.7 4.4 2.4 0.6 1.8

North Carolina

2,374 122 55 66 3.0 4.8 6.4 3.9 5.1 2.3 2.8

North Dakota

222 5 2 4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 2.3 0.7 1.6

Ohio

3,219 93 16 77 4.1 3.6 1.8 4.6 2.9 0.5 2.4

Oklahoma

967 29 15 15 1.2 1.1 1.7 0.9 3.0 1.5 1.5

Oregon

1,015 7 3 5 1.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.7 0.3 0.5

Pennsylvania

3,524 150 54 96 4.5 5.9 6.2 5.7 4.3 1.5 2.7

Rhode Island

312 5 0 5 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.3 1.5 0.1 1.5

South Carolina

1,191 56 34 22 1.5 2.2 4.0 1.3 4.7 2.9 1.8

South Dakota

261 6 1 5 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.3 2.4 0.4 2.1

Tennessee

1,649 77 35 42 2.1 3.0 4.0 2.5 4.7 2.1 2.5

Texas

6,070 287 111 176 7.8 11.2 12.8 10.4 4.7 1.8 2.9

Utah

776 25 13 12 1.0 1.0 1.5 0.7 3.3 1.7 1.5

Vermont

175 3 0 3 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.2 1.9 0.2 1.6

Virginia

1,919 120 50 69 2.5 4.7 5.8 4.1 6.2 2.6 3.6

Washington

1,795 19 7 12 2.3 0.7 0.8 0.7 1.1 0.4 0.7

West Virginia

433 15 5 10 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.6 3.4 1.0 2.3

Wisconsin

1,781 61 30 31 2.3 2.4 3.5 1.8 3.4 1.7 1.7

Wyoming

179 6 3 4 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 3.5 1.4 2.1

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated. These data are based on a sample and therefore are subject to sampling error; the degree of error may be quite large for less populous states.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 4. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by occupation, 2015 annual averages
Occupation Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

Management, professional, and related occupations

17,187 125 51 73 22.0 4.9 5.9 4.3 0.7 0.3 0.4

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

4,954 36 9 27 6.3 1.4 1.1 1.6 0.7 0.2 0.5

Professional and related occupations

12,232 89 42 47 15.6 3.5 4.8 2.8 0.7 0.3 0.4

Service occupations

18,879 1,664 381 1,283 24.1 65.0 43.8 75.9 8.8 2.0 6.8

Healthcare support occupations

2,853 63 30 33 3.6 2.5 3.4 2.0 2.2 1.0 1.2

Protective service occupations

1,965 49 7 41 2.5 1.9 0.9 2.4 2.5 0.4 2.1

Food preparation and serving related occupations

7,117 1,270 214 1,056 9.1 49.6 24.6 62.5 17.8 3.0 14.8

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations

3,932 133 64 69 5.0 5.2 7.4 4.1 3.4 1.6 1.7

Personal care and service occupations

3,012 150 66 84 3.9 5.9 7.6 5.0 5.0 2.2 2.8

Sales and office occupations

20,151 457 303 153 25.8 17.8 34.9 9.1 2.3 1.5 0.8

Sales and related occupations

7,996 312 211 101 10.2 12.2 24.2 6.0 3.9 2.6 1.3

Office and administrative support occupations

12,154 145 93 52 15.5 5.7 10.7 3.1 1.2 0.8 0.4

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

8,758 82 25 57 11.2 3.2 2.9 3.4 0.9 0.3 0.7

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

693 34 13 21 0.9 1.3 1.5 1.2 4.9 1.9 3.0

Construction and extraction occupations

4,745 27 7 19 6.1 1.0 0.9 1.1 0.6 0.2 0.4

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

3,319 22 4 17 4.2 0.8 0.5 1.0 0.7 0.1 0.5

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

13,258 233 109 124 16.9 9.1 12.5 7.3 1.8 0.8 0.9

Production occupations

6,824 77 37 41 8.7 3.0 4.2 2.4 1.1 0.5 0.6

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,434 155 72 83 8.2 6.1 8.3 4.9 2.4 1.1 1.3

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 5. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by industry, 2015 annual averages
Industry Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below the minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below the minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

Private sector

68,895 2,440 830 1,610 88.1 95.3 95.4 95.2 3.5 1.2 2.3

Agriculture and related industries

825 29 11 18 1.1 1.1 1.3 1.1 3.5 1.3 2.2

Nonagricultural industries

68,070 2,411 819 1,593 87.0 94.2 94.1 94.2 3.5 1.2 2.3

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

475 3 2 1 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.6 0.3 0.3

Construction

4,807 25 8 18 6.1 1.0 0.9 1.0 0.5 0.2 0.4

Manufacturing

9,094 89 33 55 11.6 3.5 3.8 3.3 1.0 0.4 0.6

Durable goods

5,726 50 16 34 7.3 2.0 1.8 2.0 0.9 0.3 0.6

Nondurable goods

3,368 39 17 21 4.3 1.5 2.0 1.3 1.1 0.5 0.6

Wholesale and retail trade

13,021 346 230 116 16.6 13.5 26.4 6.8 2.7 1.8 0.9

Wholesale trade

1,675 24 9 15 2.1 0.9 1.0 0.9 1.4 0.5 0.9

Retail trade

11,346 322 221 100 14.5 12.6 25.4 5.9 2.8 1.9 0.9

Transportation and utilities

3,395 43 15 28 4.3 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.3 0.4 0.8

Information

1,079 18 15 3 1.4 0.7 1.7 0.2 1.7 1.4 0.3

Financial activities

3,499 23 8 15 4.5 0.9 1.0 0.9 0.7 0.2 0.4

Professional and business services

6,336 91 41 50 8.1 3.6 4.7 3.0 1.4 0.6 0.8

Education and health services

13,283 213 110 102 17.0 8.3 12.7 6.1 1.6 0.8 0.8

Leisure and hospitality

9,828 1,459 323 1,136 12.6 57.0 37.2 67.2 14.8 3.3 11.6

Other services

3,254 101 34 67 4.2 4.0 3.9 4.0 3.1 1.0 2.1

Public sector

9,337 121 40 80 11.9 4.7 4.6 4.8 1.3 0.4 0.9

Federal

1,819 16 6 10 2.3 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.9 0.3 0.6

State

2,841 40 15 25 3.6 1.6 1.7 1.5 1.4 0.5 0.9

Local

4,678 65 20 45 6.0 2.5 2.3 2.7 1.4 0.4 1.0

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 6. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by educational attainment, 2015 annual averages
Educational attainment Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

Less than a high school diploma

9,670 556 310 246 12.4 21.7 35.7 14.5 5.8 3.2 2.5

Less than 1 year of high school

2,920 77 43 34 3.7 3.0 4.9 2.0 2.6 1.5 1.2

1 to 3 years of high school

5,372 408 229 179 6.9 15.9 26.3 10.6 7.6 4.3 3.3

4 years of high school, no diploma

1,378 72 39 33 1.8 2.8 4.5 1.9 5.2 2.8 2.4

High school graduates or more

68,562 2,005 560 1,445 87.6 78.3 64.3 85.5 2.9 0.8 2.1

High school graduates, no college

26,554 873 288 585 33.9 34.1 33.2 34.6 3.3 1.1 2.2

Some college or associate's degree

27,285 860 236 624 34.9 33.6 27.1 36.9 3.2 0.9 2.3

Some college, no degree

17,916 668 179 488 22.9 26.1 20.6 28.9 3.7 1.0 2.7

Associate's degree

9,369 192 56 136 12.0 7.5 6.5 8.0 2.1 0.6 1.4

Occupational program

4,133 70 25 45 5.3 2.8 2.9 2.7 1.7 0.6 1.1

Academic program

5,236 122 31 91 6.7 4.7 3.6 5.4 2.3 0.6 1.7

Bachelor's degree and higher

14,723 272 36 236 18.8 10.6 4.1 14.0 1.8 0.2 1.6

Bachelor's degree

11,324 224 31 193 14.5 8.7 3.5 11.4 2.0 0.3 1.7

Master's degree

2,725 33 5 28 3.5 1.3 0.5 1.7 1.2 0.2 1.0

Professional degree

342 7 0 6 0.4 0.3 0.0 0.4 1.9 0.1 1.8

Doctoral degree

332 8 0 8 0.4 0.3 0.0 0.5 2.5 0.0 2.5

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 7. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by age and gender, 2015 annual averages
Age and gender Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total

 

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

16 to 24 years

15,562 1,153 475 678 19.9 45.0 54.6 40.1 7.4 3.1 4.4

16 to 19 years

4,355 487 258 229 5.6 19.0 29.6 13.6 11.2 5.9 5.3

20 to 24 years

11,207 666 217 449 14.3 26.0 25.0 26.5 5.9 1.9 4.0

25 years and older

62,670 1,408 395 1,013 80.1 55.0 45.4 59.9 2.2 0.6 1.6

25 to 34 years

18,302 596 157 439 23.4 23.3 18.0 26.0 3.3 0.9 2.4

25 to 29 years

9,862 359 92 267 12.6 14.0 10.5 15.8 3.6 0.9 2.7

30 to 34 years

8,440 237 65 172 10.8 9.3 7.5 10.2 2.8 0.8 2.0

35 to 44 years

14,530 316 73 243 18.6 12.3 8.4 14.4 2.2 0.5 1.7

35 to 39 years

7,436 173 38 135 9.5 6.8 4.4 8.0 2.3 0.5 1.8

40 to 44 years

7,094 143 35 108 9.1 5.6 4.0 6.4 2.0 0.5 1.5

45 to 54 years

14,917 260 63 197 19.1 10.1 7.2 11.7 1.7 0.4 1.3

45 to 49 years

7,381 141 30 111 9.4 5.5 3.5 6.5 1.9 0.4 1.5

50 to 54 years

7,536 119 33 86 9.6 4.6 3.8 5.1 1.6 0.4 1.1

55 to 64 years

11,400 186 81 106 14.6 7.3 9.3 6.2 1.6 0.7 0.9

55 to 59 years

6,780 104 39 66 8.7 4.1 4.5 3.9 1.5 0.6 1.0

60 to 64 years

4,621 82 42 40 5.9 3.2 4.8 2.4 1.8 0.9 0.9

65 years and older

3,520 50 22 28 4.5 2.0 2.5 1.7 1.4 0.6 0.8

65 to 69 years

2,103 36 17 19 2.7 1.4 1.9 1.1 1.7 0.8 0.9

70 years and older

1,418 14 5 9 1.8 0.6 0.6 0.5 1.0 0.4 0.7

Men

 

Total, 16 years and older

38,732 959 330 629 49.5 37.4 37.9 37.2 2.5 0.9 1.6

16 to 24 years

7,778 417 193 224 9.9 16.3 22.1 13.3 5.4 2.5 2.9

16 to 19 years

2,124 194 107 87 2.7 7.6 12.3 5.1 9.1 5.1 4.1

20 to 24 years

5,654 223 85 138 7.2 8.7 9.8 8.1 3.9 1.5 2.4

25 years and older

30,954 542 137 404 39.6 21.2 15.8 23.9 1.8 0.4 1.3

25 to 34 years

9,689 248 67 181 12.4 9.7 7.7 10.7 2.6 0.7 1.9

25 to 29 years

5,239 147 38 109 6.7 5.7 4.4 6.4 2.8 0.7 2.1

30 to 34 years

4,449 101 29 72 5.7 3.9 3.3 4.3 2.3 0.6 1.6

35 to 44 years

7,308 113 23 91 9.3 4.4 2.6 5.4 1.6 0.3 1.2

35 to 39 years

3,770 66 14 53 4.8 2.6 1.6 3.1 1.8 0.4 1.4

40 to 44 years

3,538 47 9 38 4.5 1.8 1.0 2.3 1.3 0.2 1.1

45 to 54 years

7,051 90 15 76 9.0 3.5 1.7 4.5 1.3 0.2 1.1

45 to 49 years

3,582 52 8 43 4.6 2.0 1.0 2.6 1.4 0.2 1.2

50 to 54 years

3,468 38 6 32 4.4 1.5 0.7 1.9 1.1 0.2 0.9

55 to 64 years

5,307 70 28 42 6.8 2.7 3.2 2.5 1.3 0.5 0.8

55 to 59 years

3,144 39 12 27 4.0 1.5 1.4 1.6 1.3 0.4 0.9

60 to 64 years

2,163 30 15 15 2.8 1.2 1.8 0.9 1.4 0.7 0.7

65 years and older

1,598 20 6 14 2.0 0.8 0.7 0.8 1.3 0.4 0.9

65 to 69 years

941 15 5 10 1.2 0.6 0.6 0.6 1.6 0.5 1.0

70 years and older

658 5 1 4 0.8 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.8 0.2 0.7

Women

 

Total, 16 years and older

39,500 1,602 540 1,062 50.5 62.6 62.1 62.8 4.1 1.4 2.7

16 to 24 years

7,784 736 282 454 10.0 28.7 32.5 26.8 9.5 3.6 5.8

16 to 19 years

2,231 293 150 143 2.9 11.4 17.3 8.4 13.1 6.7 6.4

20 to 24 years

5,553 443 132 311 7.1 17.3 15.2 18.4 8.0 2.4 5.6

25 years and older

31,716 866 258 608 40.5 33.8 29.6 36.0 2.7 0.8 1.9

25 to 34 years

8,613 348 90 258 11.0 13.6 10.3 15.3 4.0 1.0 3.0

25 to 29 years

4,622 212 54 158 5.9 8.3 6.2 9.3 4.6 1.2 3.4

30 to 34 years

3,991 136 36 100 5.1 5.3 4.2 5.9 3.4 0.9 2.5

35 to 44 years

7,222 202 50 152 9.2 7.9 5.8 9.0 2.8 0.7 2.1

35 to 39 years

3,666 107 24 82 4.7 4.2 2.8 4.9 2.9 0.7 2.3

40 to 44 years

3,556 96 26 70 4.5 3.7 3.0 4.1 2.7 0.7 2.0

45 to 54 years

7,866 169 48 121 10.1 6.6 5.5 7.2 2.2 0.6 1.5

45 to 49 years

3,798 89 22 67 4.9 3.5 2.5 4.0 2.3 0.6 1.8

50 to 54 years

4,068 81 26 54 5.2 3.1 3.0 3.2 2.0 0.6 1.3

55 to 64 years

6,093 116 53 63 7.8 4.5 6.1 3.7 1.9 0.9 1.0

55 to 59 years

3,635 65 27 38 4.6 2.5 3.1 2.3 1.8 0.7 1.1

60 to 64 years

2,458 51 26 25 3.1 2.0 3.0 1.5 2.1 1.1 1.0

65 years and older

1,922 30 16 14 2.5 1.2 1.9 0.8 1.6 0.8 0.7

65 to 69 years

1,162 21 12 9 1.5 0.8 1.4 0.5 1.8 1.0 0.8

70 years and older

760 9 4 5 1.0 0.4 0.5 0.3 1.2 0.6 0.6

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 8. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by marital status, age, and gender, 2015 annual averages
Marital status, age, and gender Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total

 

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

Never married

30,332 1,629 591 1,038 38.8 63.6 67.9 61.4 5.4 1.9 3.4

16 to 24 years

14,092 1,071 441 630 18.0 41.8 50.7 37.2 7.6 3.1 4.5

25 years and older

16,240 558 149 409 20.8 21.8 17.2 24.2 3.4 0.9 2.5

25 to 54 years

14,843 521 130 391 19.0 20.3 15.0 23.1 3.5 0.9 2.6

Married, spouse present

34,804 601 185 417 44.5 23.5 21.2 24.6 1.7 0.5 1.2

16 to 24 years

1,091 57 24 33 1.4 2.2 2.8 1.9 5.2 2.2 3.0

25 years and older

33,714 544 161 384 43.1 21.3 18.5 22.7 1.6 0.5 1.1

25 to 54 years

24,515 432 112 320 31.3 16.9 12.9 18.9 1.8 0.5 1.3

Other marital status

13,096 330 94 236 16.7 12.9 10.9 13.9 2.5 0.7 1.8

16 to 24 years

379 25 10 15 0.5 1.0 1.1 0.9 6.5 2.5 4.0

25 years and older

12,716 305 85 221 16.3 11.9 9.8 13.0 2.4 0.7 1.7

25 to 54 years

8,391 218 49 169 10.7 8.5 5.7 10.0 2.6 0.6 2.0

Men

 

Total, 16 years and older

38,732 959 330 629 49.5 37.4 37.9 37.2 2.5 0.9 1.6

Never married

15,908 641 235 406 20.3 25.0 27.0 24.0 4.0 1.5 2.6

16 to 24 years

7,153 395 179 215 9.1 15.4 20.6 12.7 5.5 2.5 3.0

25 years and older

8,754 246 55 191 11.2 9.6 6.4 11.3 2.8 0.6 2.2

25 to 54 years

8,095 229 48 181 10.3 8.9 5.5 10.7 2.8 0.6 2.2

Married, spouse present

17,782 232 76 157 22.7 9.1 8.7 9.3 1.3 0.4 0.9

16 to 24 years

472 17 13 4 0.6 0.7 1.5 0.2 3.7 2.8 0.8

25 years and older

17,309 215 62 153 22.1 8.4 7.1 9.0 1.2 0.4 0.9

25 to 54 years

12,516 166 42 124 16.0 6.5 4.8 7.4 1.3 0.3 1.0

Other marital status

5,042 86 20 66 6.4 3.4 2.3 3.9 1.7 0.4 1.3

16 to 24 years

153 5 0 5 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.3 3.1 0.0 3.1

25 years and older

4,890 81 20 61 6.3 3.2 2.3 3.6 1.7 0.4 1.3

25 to 54 years

3,437 57 14 43 4.4 2.2 1.6 2.5 1.7 0.4 1.2

Women

 

Total, 16 years and older

39,500 1,602 540 1,062 50.5 62.6 62.1 62.8 4.1 1.4 2.7

Never married

14,425 988 356 632 18.4 38.6 40.9 37.4 6.9 2.5 4.4

16 to 24 years

6,939 676 262 414 8.9 26.4 30.1 24.5 9.7 3.8 6.0

25 years and older

7,486 312 94 218 9.6 12.2 10.8 12.9 4.2 1.3 2.9

25 to 54 years

6,748 293 82 210 8.6 11.4 9.5 12.4 4.3 1.2 3.1

Married, spouse present

17,023 369 109 260 21.8 14.4 12.6 15.4 2.2 0.6 1.5

16 to 24 years

618 40 11 29 0.8 1.6 1.3 1.7 6.4 1.8 4.7

25 years and older

16,404 329 98 231 21.0 12.9 11.3 13.7 2.0 0.6 1.4

25 to 54 years

11,999 266 70 195 15.3 10.4 8.1 11.5 2.2 0.6 1.6

Other marital status

8,053 244 75 170 10.3 9.5 8.6 10.0 3.0 0.9 2.1

16 to 24 years

227 20 10 10 0.3 0.8 1.1 0.6 8.8 4.2 4.6

25 years and older

7,826 224 65 159 10.0 8.8 7.5 9.4 2.9 0.8 2.0

25 to 54 years

4,954 162 35 126 6.3 6.3 4.1 7.5 3.3 0.7 2.5

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated. Other marital status includes married, spouse absent; divorced; separated; and widowed persons.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 9. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage, by usual hours worked per week on primary job, 2015 annual averages
Usual hours worked per week on primary job Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid hourly rates
Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage Total paid hourly rates At or below minimum wage At or below minimum wage
Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage Total At minimum wage Below minimum wage

Total, 16 years and older

78,232 2,561 870 1,691 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 3.3 1.1 2.2

Hours vary

4,831 314 107 207 6.2 12.3 12.4 12.2 6.5 2.2 4.3

0 to 34 hours

18,401 1,324 516 808 23.5 51.7 59.3 47.8 7.2 2.8 4.4

0 to 4 hours

338 31 11 20 0.4 1.2 1.3 1.2 9.2 3.4 5.8

5 to 9 hours

980 90 48 42 1.3 3.5 5.5 2.5 9.2 4.9 4.3

10 to 14 hours

1,586 120 58 61 2.0 4.7 6.7 3.6 7.5 3.7 3.9

15 to 19 hours

2,286 176 85 91 2.9 6.9 9.8 5.4 7.7 3.7 4.0

20 to 24 hours

5,297 355 136 220 6.8 13.9 15.6 13.0 6.7 2.6 4.1

25 to 29 hours

2,991 230 79 152 3.8 9.0 9.0 9.0 7.7 2.6 5.1

30 to 34 hours

4,922 322 99 223 6.3 12.6 11.4 13.2 6.5 2.0 4.5

35 hours or more

55,000 922 246 676 70.3 36.0 28.3 40.0 1.7 0.4 1.2

35 to 39 hours

5,905 255 63 192 7.5 9.9 7.3 11.3 4.3 1.1 3.2

40 hours or more

49,095 668 183 485 62.8 26.1 21.0 28.7 1.4 0.4 1.0

40 hours

42,492 578 164 414 54.3 22.6 18.9 24.5 1.4 0.4 1.0

41 hours or more

6,604 89 19 71 8.4 3.5 2.1 4.2 1.4 0.3 1.1

41 to 44 hours

707 13 1 11 0.9 0.5 0.1 0.7 1.8 0.2 1.6

45 to 48 hours

2,224 24 4 19 2.8 0.9 0.5 1.2 1.1 0.2 0.9

49 to 59 hours

2,504 32 4 28 3.2 1.2 0.5 1.6 1.3 0.2 1.1

60 hours or more

1,167 21 9 12 1.5 0.8 1.0 0.7 1.8 0.7 1.1

Note: Data exclude all self-employed workers, whether or not their businesses are incorporated. Estimates of usual hours worked presented in this table differ from usual full- or part-time status (as shown in table 1) because of a sizable number of workers whose usual hours vary on the primary job.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Table 10. Wage and salary workers paid hourly rates with earnings at or below prevailing federal minimum wage, by gender, 1979–2015 annual averages
(numbers in thousands)
Year and gender Total wage
and salary workers
Workers paid hourly rates
Total Percentage of total wage and salary workers At prevailing federal minimum wage(1) Below prevailing
federal minimum
wage(1)
Total at or below prevailing federal minimum wage
Number Percentage of hourly paid workers

Total

 

1979

87,529 51,721 59.1 3,997 2,916 6,912 13.4

1980

87,644 51,335 58.6 4,686 3,087 7,773 15.1

1981

88,516 51,869 58.6 4,311 3,513 7,824 15.1

1982

87,368 50,846 58.2 4,148 2,348 6,496 12.8

1983

88,290 51,820 58.7 4,261 2,077 6,338 12.2

1984

92,194 54,143 58.7 4,125 1,838 5,963 11.0

1985

94,521 55,762 59.0 3,899 1,639 5,538 9.9

1986

96,903 57,529 59.4 3,461 1,599 5,060 8.8

1987

99,303 59,552 60.0 3,229 1,468 4,698 7.9

1988

101,407 60,878 60.0 2,608 1,319 3,927 6.5

1989

103,480 62,389 60.3 1,790 1,372 3,162 5.1

1990

104,876 63,172 60.2 1,096 2,132 3,228 5.1

1991

103,723 62,627 60.4 2,906 2,377 5,283 8.4

1992

104,668 63,610 60.8 2,982 1,939 4,921 7.7

1993

106,101 64,274 60.6 2,625 1,707 4,332 6.7

1994

107,989 66,549 61.6 2,132 1,995 4,128 6.2

1995

110,038 68,354 62.1 1,956 1,699 3,656 5.3

1996

111,960 69,255 61.9 1,861 1,863 3,724 5.4

1997

114,533 70,735 61.8 1,764 2,990 4,754 6.7

1998

116,730 71,440 61.2 1,593 2,834 4,427 6.2

1999

118,963 72,306 60.8 1,146 2,194 3,340 4.6

2000

122,089 73,496 60.2 898 1,752 2,650 3.6

2001

122,229 73,392 60.0 656 1,518 2,174 3.0

2002

121,826 72,508 59.5 567 1,579 2,146 3.0

2003

122,358 72,946 59.6 545 1,555 2,100 2.9

2004

123,554 73,939 59.8 520 1,483 2,003 2.7

2005

125,889 75,609 60.1 479 1,403 1,882 2.5

2006

128,237 76,514 59.7 409 1,283 1,692 2.2

2007

129,767 75,873 58.5 267 1,462 1,729 2.3

2008

129,377 75,305 58.2 286 1,940 2,226 3.0

2009

124,490 72,611 58.3 980 2,592 3,572 4.9

2010

124,073 72,902 58.8 1,820 2,541 4,361 6.0

2011

125,187 73,926 59.1 1,677 2,152 3,829 5.2

2012

127,577 75,276 59.0 1,566 1,984 3,550 4.7

2013

129,110 75,948 58.8 1,532 1,768 3,301 4.3

2014

131,431 77,207 58.7 1,255 1,737 2,992 3.9

2015

133,743 78,232 58.5 870 1,691 2,561 3.3

Men

 

1979

49,400 28,392 57.5 1,353 846 2,199 7.7

1980

48,700 27,709 56.9 1,696 983 2,678 9.7

1981

48,844 27,576 56.5 1,533 1,119 2,652 9.6

1982

47,591 26,481 55.6 1,587 697 2,284 8.6

1983

47,856 26,831 56.1 1,658 585 2,243 8.4

1984

50,022 28,140 56.3 1,626 490 2,116 7.5

1985

51,015 28,893 56.6 1,544 440 1,984 6.9

1986

51,942 29,666 57.1 1,336 408 1,743 5.9

1987

52,938 30,474 57.6 1,283 364 1,647 5.4

1988

53,912 31,058 57.6 1,066 311 1,377 4.4

1989

54,789 31,687 57.8 733 379 1,112 3.5

1990

55,553 32,104 57.8 385 712 1,097 3.4

1991

54,618 31,639 57.9 1,114 795 1,909 6.0

1992

54,826 32,155 58.6 1,231 653 1,885 5.9

1993

55,475 32,337 58.3 1,091 573 1,664 5.1

1994

56,570 33,528 59.3 891 674 1,565 4.7

1995

57,669 34,420 59.7 796 542 1,338 3.9

1996

58,473 34,838 59.6 755 619 1,374 3.9

1997

59,825 35,521 59.4 673 1,147 1,820 5.1

1998

60,973 35,761 58.7 628 1,039 1,667 4.7

1999

61,914 36,073 58.3 446 768 1,214 3.4

2000

63,662 36,720 57.7 319 582 901 2.5

2001

63,647 36,544 57.4 247 497 744 2.0

2002

63,272 36,000 56.9 217 582 799 2.2

2003

63,236 35,853 56.7 213 493 706 2.0

2004

64,145 36,806 57.4 210 470 680 1.8

2005

65,466 37,652 57.5 189 459 648 1.7

2006

66,811 38,193 57.2 146 422 568 1.5

2007

67,468 37,790 56.0 86 460 546 1.4

2008

66,846 37,334 55.9 90 638 728 1.9

2009

63,539 35,185 55.4 368 990 1,358 3.9

2010

63,531 35,498 55.9 669 943 1,612 4.5

2011

64,686 36,457 56.4 648 785 1,433 3.9

2012

65,898 37,113 56.3 567 696 1,263 3.4

2013

66,794 37,544 56.2 622 621 1,243 3.3

2014

68,048 38,405 56.4 516 598 1,114 2.9

2015

69,298 38,732 55.9 330 629 959 2.5

Women

 

1979

38,129 23,329 61.2 2,644 2,070 4,714 20.2

1980

38,944 23,626 60.7 2,990 2,104 5,095 21.6

1981

39,672 24,294 61.2 2,778 2,394 5,172 21.3

1982

39,777 24,365 61.3 2,561 1,651 4,212 17.3

1983

40,433 24,989 61.8 2,603 1,492 4,095 16.4

1984

42,172 26,003 61.7 2,499 1,348 3,847 14.8

1985

43,506 26,869 61.8 2,356 1,198 3,554 13.2

1986

44,961 27,863 62.0 2,125 1,192 3,317 11.9

1987

46,365 29,078 62.7 1,946 1,105 3,051 10.5

1988

47,495 29,820 62.8 1,542 1,008 2,550 8.6

1989

48,691 30,702 63.1 1,056 994 2,050 6.7

1990

49,323 31,069 63.0 711 1,420 2,131 6.9

1991

49,105 30,988 63.1 1,792 1,582 3,374 10.9

1992

49,842 31,454 63.1 1,751 1,286 3,036 9.7

1993

50,626 31,937 63.1 1,534 1,133 2,667 8.4

1994

51,419 33,021 64.2 1,241 1,322 2,563 7.8

1995

52,369 33,934 64.8 1,161 1,157 2,318 6.8

1996

53,488 34,418 64.3 1,106 1,244 2,350 6.8

1997

54,708 35,214 64.4 1,092 1,843 2,935 8.3

1998

55,757 35,680 64.0 965 1,794 2,760 7.7

1999

57,050 36,233 63.5 700 1,426 2,126 5.9

2000

58,427 36,777 62.9 579 1,170 1,749 4.8

2001

58,582 36,848 62.9 409 1,021 1,430 3.9

2002

58,555 36,508 62.3 350 997 1,347 3.7

2003

59,122 37,093 62.7 332 1,062 1,394 3.8

2004

59,408 37,133 62.5 310 1,013 1,323 3.6

2005

60,423 37,957 62.8 290 944 1,234 3.3

2006

61,426 38,321 62.4 263 861 1,124 2.9

2007

62,299 38,082 61.1 181 1,002 1,183 3.1

2008

62,532 37,972 60.7 196 1,302 1,498 3.9

2009

60,951 37,426 61.4 612 1,603 2,215 5.9

2010

60,542 37,404 61.8 1,151 1,598 2,749 7.3

2011

60,502 37,469 61.9 1,029 1,366 2,395 6.4

2012

61,679 38,163 61.9 999 1,288 2,287 6.0

2013

62,316 38,404 61.6 910 1,148 2,058 5.4

2014

63,383 38,802 61.2 739 1,139 1,878 4.8

2015

64,445 39,500 61.3 540 1,062 1,602 4.1

(1) Data for 1990–1991, 1996–1997, and 2007–2009 reflect changes in the minimum wage that took place in those years.

Note: The comparability of historical labor force data has been affected at various times by methodological and conceptual changes in the Current Population Survey (CPS). Information about historical comparability is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#comp.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Technical Notes

The estimates in this report were obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which provides information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment. The survey is conducted monthly for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the U.S. Census Bureau using a scientifically selected national sample of about 60,000 eligible households in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey also provides data on earnings, which are based on one-fourth of the CPS monthly sample and are limited to wage and salary workers. All self-employed workers, both incorporated and unincorporated, are excluded from these earnings estimates.

Upon request, the information in this article will be made available to individuals who are sensory impaired. Voice telephone: (202) 691-5200. Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339. This report is in the public domain and may be used without permission.

Concepts and definitions

The principal definitions for the main concepts presented in this report are below.

Wage and salary workers are those age 16 and older who receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payments in kind, or piece rates on their sole or principal job. This group includes employees in both the private and public sectors. All self-employed workers are excluded whether or not their businesses are incorporated.

Workers paid by the hour are wage and salary workers who report that they are paid at an hourly rate on their job. Historically, workers paid an hourly wage have made up approximately three-fifths of all wage and salary workers. Estimates of workers paid by the hour include both full- and part-time workers unless otherwise specified.

Hourly earnings data are for wage and salary workers who are paid by the hour and refer to a person’s sole or principal job. Hourly earnings for hourly paid workers do not include overtime pay, commissions, or tips received.

Workers paid at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage pertain only to workers who are paid hourly rates. Salaried workers and other nonhourly paid workers are excluded.

Regular collection of earnings data in the basic CPS began in 1979. The prevailing federal minimum wage for 1979 and later years is listed below:

Federal minimum wage Effective date

$2.90

January 1, 1979

$3.10

January 1, 1980

$3.35

January 1, 1981

$3.80

April 1, 1990

$4.25

April 1, 1991

$4.75

October 1, 1996

$5.15

September 1, 1997

$5.85

July 24, 2007

$6.55

July 24, 2008

$7.25

July 24, 2009
 

Estimates of the annual average number of minimum wage workers for years when the minimum wage increased reflect both minimum wage levels in effect during the year. For example, data for 2007 reflect the number of workers at or below the federal minimum of $5.15 for January to July and $5.85 for August to December.

Full-time workers are defined as those who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job.

Part-time workers are defined as those who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week at their sole or principal job.

Race is determined by the household respondent in the survey process. In accordance with the Office of Management and Budget guidelines, White, Black or African American, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander are terms used to describe a person’s race. The latter two race groups and people who selected more than one race are included in totals but not separately identified in this report because the number of survey respondents is too small to develop estimates of sufficient quality.

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity refers to people who identified themselves in the survey process as being of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. People whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

Interpreting minimum wage data

The CPS does not determine whether workers are covered by the minimum wage provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or by individual state or local minimum wage laws. The estimates of workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage are based solely on the hourly wage they report (which does not include overtime pay, tips, or commissions). Some respondents might round hourly earnings when answering survey questions. As a result, some workers might be reported as having hourly earnings above or below the federal minimum wage when, in fact, they earn the minimum wage.

Some workers reported as earning at or below the prevailing federal minimum wage may not, in fact, be covered by federal or state minimum wage laws because of exclusions and exemptions in the statutes. Thus, the presence of workers with hourly earnings below the federal minimum wage does not necessarily indicate violations of the FLSA or state statutes in cases where such standards apply.

Estimates of the number of minimum wage workers in this report pertain only to workers who are paid hourly rates. Salaried workers and other workers who are not paid by the hour are excluded, even though some have earnings that, if converted to hourly rates, would be at or below the federal minimum wage. Consequently, the estimates presented in this report likely understate the actual number of workers with hourly earnings at or below the minimum wage. BLS does not routinely estimate the hourly earnings of workers not paid by the hour because of data-quality concerns associated with constructing such an estimate.

A number of states have established minimum wage rates that exceed the federal level. (Information on state minimum wage laws is available at www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm.) Users should be cautious about comparing state estimates in this report because of differing statutory minimum wages. It also should be noted that the CPS sample is based on residence; workers report their earnings on their job, which may or may not be located in the same state in which they live. In addition, the degree of sampling error may be quite large for some state estimates.

Reliability

Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance that the sample estimates may differ from the true population values they represent. Sampling error is the component of this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance, and its variability is measured by the standard error of the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the true population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence.

The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error can occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inability or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the collection or processing of the data. For example, respondents may round their hourly earnings to whole dollars when answering survey questions.

Information about the reliability of data from the CPS is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.