April 2017 Report 1067

Characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2016

Characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2016 image

In 2016, 79.9 million workers age 16 and older in the United States were paid at hourly rates, representing 58.7 percent of all wage and salary workers. Among those paid by the hour, 701,000 workers earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 1.5 million had wages below the federal minimum. Together, these 2.2 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum made up 2.7 percent of all hourly paid workers.

The percentage of hourly paid workers earning the prevailing federal minimum wage or less declined from 3.3 percent in 2015 to 2.7 percent in 2016. This remains well below the percentage of 13.4 recorded in 1979, when data 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 2016. 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 2016 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 10 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 2016, about 3 percent of women and about 2 percent of men had wages at or below the prevailing federal minimum. (See table 1.)

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. The percentage of hourly paid workers with wages at or below the federal minimum differed little among the major race and ethnicity groups. About 3 percent of White and Black workers earned the federal minimum wage or less. Among Asian and Hispanic workers, the percentage was about 2 percent. (See table 1.)

Education. Among hourly paid workers age 16 and older, about 5 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 (1 percent) to earn the federal minimum wage or less. (See table 8.)

Full- and part-time status. About 6 percent of part-time workers (persons who usually work fewer than 35 hours per week) were paid the federal minimum wage or less, compared with about 2 percent of full-time workers. (See table 1.)

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 7 percent. Two-thirds of workers earning the minimum wage or less in 2016 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 (about 13 percent). Three-fifths of all workers paid at or below the federal minimum wage were employed in this industry, almost entirely in restaurants and other food services. For many of these workers, tips may supplement the hourly wages received. (See table 4.)

State of residence. The states with the highest percentages of hourly paid workers earning at or below the federal minimum wage were Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina (all were at or about 5 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, and Oregon (all were 1 percent or less). It should be noted that many states have minimum wage laws establishing standards that exceed 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, 2016 annual averages
Characteristic Number of workers (in thousands) Percent distribution Percentage of workers paid
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

79, 883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

16 to 24 years

15,856 976 383 594 19.8 45.4 54.5 40.9 6.2 2.4 3.7

16 to 19 years

4,592 443 214 229 5.7 20.6 30.5 15.8 9.7 4.7 5.0

25 years and older

64,026 1,176 319 857 80.2 54.6 45.5 59.1 1.8 0.5 1.3

Men, 16 years and older

39,568 769 270 499 49.5 35.7 38.4 34.4 1.9 0.7 1.3

16 to 24 years

7,967 357 147 210 10.0 16.6 21.0 14.5 4.5 1.8 2.6

16 to 19 years

2,278 183 87 96 2.9 8.5 12.3 6.6 8.0 3.8 4.2

25 years and older

30,601 412 122 289 39.6 19.1 17.5 19.9 1.3 0.4 0.9

Women, 16 years and older

40, 315 1,384 432 952 50.5 64.3 61.6 65.6 3.4 1.1 2.4

16 to 24 years

7,890 619 235 384 9.9 28.8 33.6 26.5 7.8 3.0 4.9

16 to 19 years

2,314 260 127 133 2.9 12.1 18.1 9.2 11.3 5.5 5.8

25 years and older

32,425 764 196 568 40.6 35.5 28.0 39.1 2.4 0.6 1.8

Race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

 

White(1)

61,080 1,597 469 1,127 76.5 74.2 66.9 77.7 2.6 0.8 1.8

Men

30,823 554 190 364 38.6 25.7 27.1 25.1 1.8 0.6 1.2

Women

30,256 1,043 280 763 37.9 48.5 39.9 52.6 3.4 0.9 2.5

Black or African American(1)

11,681 390 193 197 14.6 18.1 27.5 13.5 3.3 1.7 1.7

Men

5,297 156 62 93 6.6 7.2 8.9 6.4 2.9 1.2 1.8

Women

6,385 234 131 103 8.0 10.9 18.7 7.1 3.7 2.1 1.6

Asian(1)

3,692 96 21 75 5.0 4.5 3.0 5.2 2.4 0.5 1.9

Men

1,841 35 10 25 2.3 1.6 1.4 1.7 1.9 0.5 1.4

Women

2,121 61 11 50 2.7 2.8 1.6 3.4 2.9 0.5 2.3

Hispanic or Latino(1)

16,241 366 103 264 20.3 17.0 14.6 18.2 2.3 0.6 1.6

Men

9,044 137 44 93 11.3 6.4 6.3 6.4 1.5 0.5 1.0

Women

7,197 229 59 171 9.0 10.6 8.4 11.8 3.2 0.8 2.4

Full- and part-time status

 

Full-time workers(2)

59,198 884 183 702 74.1 41.1 26.0 48.4 1.5 0.3 1.2

Men

32,418 334 66 268 40.6 15.5 9.5 18.5 1.0 0.2 0.8

Women

26,780 550 116 434 33.5 25.6 16.6 29.9 2.1 0.4 1.6

Part-time workers(2)

20,582 1,267 519 748 25.8 58.9 74.0 51.6 6.2 2.5 3.6

Men

7,108 434 203 231 8.9 20.2 29.0 15.9 6.1 2.9 3.3

Women

13,474 833 316 517 16.9 38.7 45.0 35.6 6.2 2.3 3.8

(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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

Northeast

13,374 359 112 246 16.7 16.7 16.0 17.0 2.7 0.8 1.8

New England

3,822 85 15 70 4.8 4.0 2.1 4.8 2.2 0.4 1.8

Middle Atlantic

9,522 273 97 176 12.0 12.7 13.9 12.1 2.9 1.0 1.8

Midwest

19,020 465 131 334 23.8 21.6 18.7 23.0 2.4 0.7 1.8

East North Central

12,936 323 92 230 16.2 15.0 13.2 15.9 2.5 0.7 1.8

West North Central

6.084 142 39 103 7.6 6.6 5.6 7.1 2.3 0.6 1.7

South

28,302 1,043 386 657 35.4 48.5 55.0 45.3 3.7 1.4 2.3

South Atlantic

14, 676 501 151 350 18.4 23.3 21.6 24.1 3.4 1.0 2.4

East South Central

4,725 196 89 107 5.9 9.1 12.7 7.4 4.1 1.9 2.3

West South Central

8,901 345 146 200 11.1 16.0 20.8 13.8 3.9 1.6 2.2

West

19, 187 286 72 214 24.0 13.3 10.2 14.8 1.5 0.4 1.1

Mountain

6,045 145 38 107 7.6 6.8 5.5 7.4 2.4 0.6 1.8

Pacific

13,142 141 33 107 16.5 6.5 4.7 7.4 1.1 0.3 0.8

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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

Alabama

1,222 43 20 23 1.5 2.0 2.9 1.6 3.5 1.7 1.9

Alaska

199 1 1 1 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.7 0.3 0.4

Arizona

1,653 39 6 34 2.1 1.8 0.9 2.3 2.4 0.4 2.0

Arkansas

724 19 6 13 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.9 2.6 0.8 1.8

California

9,669 99 24 75 12.1 4.6 3.4 5.1 1.0 0.2 0.8

Colorado

1,318 30 4 26 1.7 1.4 0.5 1.8 2.3 0.3 2.0

Connecticut

915 18 3 15 1.1 0.8 0.4 1.0 1.9 0.3 1.7

Delaware

232 5 1 4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 2.3 0.5 1.8

District of Columbia

111 3 0 2 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.2 2.4 0.1 2.2

Florida

4,502 132 20 113 5.6 6.2 2.8 7.8 2.9 0.4 2.5

Georgia

2,318 90 39 51 2.9 4.2 5.5 3.5 3.9 1.7 2.2

Hawaii

363 5 1 4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.3 1.3 0.3 1.1

Idaho

458 21 10 11 0.6 1.0 1.4 0.8 4.6 2.1 2.5

Illinois

3,107 76 19 57 3.9 3.5 2.7 3.9 2.4 0.6 1.8

Indiana

1,899 69 32 37 2.4 3.2 4.6 2.6 3.7 1.7 2.0

Iowa

981 24 10 13 1.2 1.1 1.5 0.9 2.4 1.0 1.4

Kansas

815 36 14 22 1.0 1.7 2.0 1.5 4.4 1.7 2.7

Kentucky

1,068 51 23 28 1.3 2.4 3.3 2.0 4.8 2.2 2.7

Louisiana

1,095 58 27 31 1.4 2.7 3.8 2.1 5.3 2.4 2.8

Maine

363 10 2 8 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.5 2.7 0.5 2.2

Maryland

1,449 30 6 25 1.8 1.4 0.8 1.7 2.1 0.4 1.7

Massachusetts

1,650 29 5 24 2.1 1.4 0.7 1.7 1.8 0.3 1.5

Michigan

2,800 56 8 49 3.5 2.6 1.1 3.4 2.0 0.3 1.7

Minnesota

1,547 18 6 12 1.9 0.9 0.9 0.8 1.2 0.4 0.8

Mississippi

710 34 15 20 0.9 1.6 2.1 1.4 4.8 2.1 2.8

Missouri

1,708 46 6 40 2.1 2.1 0.9 2.8 2.7 0.4 2.3

Montana

294 4 1 3 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.2 1.2 0.3 1.0

Nebraska

537 10 1 9 0.7 0.5 0.2 0.6 1.9 0.2 1.7

Nevada

807 10 6 5 1.0 0.5 0.8 0.3 1.3 0.7 0.6

New Hampshire

398 15 3 12 0.5 0.7 0.5 0.8 3.8 0.8 3.0

New Jersey

1,855 48 9 38 2.3 2.2 1.3 2.6 2.6 0.5 2.1

New Mexico

512 14 2 12 0.6 0.7 0.2 0.9 2.7 0.3 2.4

New York

4,180 82 15 66 5.2 3.8 2.2 4.6 2.0 0.4 1.6

North Carolina

2,522 91 38 52 3.2 4.2 5.5 3.6 3.6 1.5 2.1

North Dakota

241 4 1 3 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.2 1.6 0.3 1.3

Ohio

3,327 75 15 60 4.2 3.5 2.2 4.1 2.3 0.5 1.8

Oklahoma

894 27 13 14 1.1 1.3 1.8 1.0 3.1 1.4 1.6

Oregon

1,059 10 0 10 1.3 0.5 0.0 0.7 1.0 0.0 1.0

Pennsylvania

3,516 144 73 71 4.4 6.7 10.4 4.9 4.1 2.1 2.0

Rhode Island

312 8 1 7 0.4 0.4 0.2 0.5 2.7 0.4 2.3

South Carolina

1,151 57 19 38 1.4 2.7 2.7 2.7 5.0 1.6 3.3

South Dakota

256 4 1 3 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.2 1.6 0.4 1.2

Tennessee

1,724 67 31 36 2.2 3.1 4.4 2.5 3.9 1.8 2.1

Texas

6,188 242 100 141 7.7 11.2 14.3 9.7 3.9 1.6 2.3

Utah

840 23 10 13 1.1 1.1 1.4 0.9 2.7 1.1 1.6

Vermont

184 5 1 4 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.3 2.5 0.5 2.0

Virginia

1,957 83 26 57 2.4 3.9 3.8 3.9 4.3 1.4 2.9

Washington

1,853 25 8 18 2.3 1.2 1.1 1.2 1.4 0.4 1.0

West Virginia

433 10 2 7 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.5 2.2 0.6 1.7

Wisconsin

1,802 46 18 28 2.3 2.1 2.5 1.9 2.6 1.0 1.6

Wyoming

163 4 1 3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 2.5 0.7 1.8

 

Note: Data exclude all self-employed persons 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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

Management, professional, and related occupations

17,657 122 57 65 22.1 5.7 8.2 4.5 0.7 0.3 0.4

Management, business, and financial operations occupations

5,183 39 13 26 6.5 1.8 1.9 1.8 0.8 0.3 0.5

Professional and related occupations

12,474 83 44 39 15.6 3.9 6.3 2.7 0.7 0.4 0.3

Service occupations

19,529 1,432 298 1,134 24.4 66.5 42.5 78.1 7.3 1.5 5.8

Healthcare support occupations

2,891 56 24 32 3.6 2.6 3.5 2.2 2.0 0.8 1.1

Protective service occupations

2,002 33 8 25 2.5 1.5 1.2 1.7 1.6 0.4 1.2

Food preparation and serving related occupations

7,513 1,121 189 932 9.4 52.1 27.0 64.2 14.9 2.5 12.4

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations

3,952 87 30 57 4.9 4.0 4.3 3.9 2.2 0.8 1.4

Personal care and service occupations

3,171 135 47 89 4.0 6.3 6.6 6.1 4.3 1.5 2.8

Sales and office occupations

20,374 361 242 120 25.5 16.8 34.4 8.3 1.8 1.2 0.6

Sales and related occupations

8,046 200 147 54 10.1 9.3 20.9 3.7 2.5 1.8 0.7

Office and administrative support occupations

12,328 161 95 66 15.4 7.5 13.5 4.6 1.3 0.8 0.5

Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations

8,891 40 5 34 11.1 1.9 0.8 2.4 0.4 0.1 0.4

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations

688 12 2 10 0.9 0.5 0.3 0.7 1.7 0.3 1.4

Construction and extraction occupations

4,874 11 0 11 6.1 0.5 0.0 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.2

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

3,318 17 3 13 4.2 0.8 0.4 0.9 0.5 0.1 0.4

Production, transportation, and material moving occupations

13,442 197 99 98 16.8 9.1 14.1 6.8 1.5 0.7 0.7

Production occupations

6,809 54 29 25 8.5 2.5 4.1 1.8 0.8 0.4 0.4

Transportation and material moving occupations

6,633 142 70 73 8.3 6.6 9.9 5.0 2.1 1.0 1.1

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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

Private sector

70,396 2,035 647 1,388 88.1 94.5 92.2 95.6 2.9 0.9 2.0

   Agriculture and related industries

851 12 2 10 1.1 0.6 0.2 0.7 1.4 0.2 1.2

Nonagricultural industries

69,545 2,023 645 1,378 87.1 94.0 92.0 94.9 2.9 0.9 2.0

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction

398 2 0 2 0.5 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.4

Construction

5,051 19 2 17 6.3 0.9 0.3 1.2 0.4 0.0 0.3

Manufacturing

9,307 67 26 41 11.7 3.1 3.7 2.8 0.7 0.3 0.4

Durable goods

5,735 28 13 14 7.2 1.3 1.9 1.0 0.5 0.2 0.3

Nondurable goods

3,572 39 13 27 4.5 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.1 0.4 0.7

Wholesale and retail trade

12,776 219 148 72 16.0 10.2 21.0 5.0 1.7 1.2 0.6

Wholesale trade

1,623 8 4 4 2.0 0.4 0.6 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.3

Retail trade

11,153 211 144 68 14.0 9.8 20.5 4.7 1.9 1.3 0.6

Transportation and utilities

3,652 46 14 32 4.6 2.1 1.9 2.2 1.2 0.4 0.9

Information

1,057 17 7 10 1.3 0.8 1.1 0.7 1.6 0.7 0.9

Financial activities

3,668 26 7 19 4.6 1.2 1.0 1.3 0.7 0.2 0.5

Professional and business services

6,490 62 27 35 8.1 2.9 3.8 2.4 1.0 0.4 0.5

Education and health services

13,771 199 110 89 17.2 9.3 15.7 6.1 1.4 0.8 0.6

Leisure and hospitality

10,107 1,276 279 997 12.7 59.3 39.8 68.7 12.6 2.8 9.9

Other services

3,268 88 25 63 4.1 4.1 3.5 4.4 2.7 0.8 1.9

Public sector

9,486 118 54 63 11.9 5.5 7.8 4.4 1.2 0.6 0.7

Federal

1,884 17 8 8 2.4 0.8 1.2 0.6 0.9 0.4 0.4

State

2,838 48 28 20 3.6 2.2 4.0 1.4 1.7 1.0 0.7

Local

4,764 53 18 35 6.0 2.5 2.6 2.4 1.1 0.4 0.7

Note: Data exclude all self-employed persons 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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

Less than a high school diploma

9,725 459 221 237 12.2 21.3 31.5 16.4 4.7 2.3 2.4

Less than 1 year of high school

2,826 68 25 43 3.5 3.1 3.5 3.0 2.4 0.9 1.5

1 to 3 years of high school

5,546 320 165 155 6.9 14.9 23.5 10.7 5.8 3.0 2.8

4 years of high school, no diploma

1,353 71 31 39 1.7 3.3 4.5 2.7 5.2 2.3 2.9

High school graduates or more

70,157 1,694 480 1,214 87.8 78.7 68.5 83.6 2.4 0.7 1.7

High school graduates, no college

26,919 667 208 459 33.7 31.0 29.6 31.6 2.5 0.8 1.7

Some college or associate's degree

27,902 783 242 540 34.9 36.4 34.6 37.2 2.8 0.9 1.9

Some college, no degree

18,075 591 185 406 22.6 27.5 26.4 28.0 3.3 1.0 2.2

Associate's degree

9,827 192 57 134 12.3 8.9 8.2 9.3 2.0 0.6 1.4

Occupational program

4,161 72 17 54 5.2 3.3 2.5 3.7 1.7 0.4 1.3

Academic program

5,666 120 40 80 7.1 5.6 5.7 5.5 2.1 0.7 1.4

Bachelor's degree and higher

15,337 245 30 214 19.2 11.4 4.3 14.8 1.6 0.2 1.4

Bachelor's degree

11,702 218 28 191 14.6 10.1 3.9 13.2 1.9 0.2 1.6

Master's degree

2,910 21 3 18 3.6 1.0 0.4 1.3 0.7 0.1 0.6

Professional degree

326 3 0 3 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.9 0.0 0.9

Doctoral degree

398 3 0 3 0.5 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.6 0.0 0.6

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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

16 to 24 years

15,856 976 383 594 19.8 45.4 54.5 40.9 6.2 2.4 3.7

16 to 19 years

4,592 443 214 229 5.7 20.6 30.5 15.8 9.7 4.7 5.0

20 to 24 years

11,264 533 169 364 14.1 24.8 24.0 25.1 4.7 1.5 3.2

25 years and older

64,026 1,176 319 857 80.2 54.6 45.5 59.1 1.8 0.5 1.3

25 to 34 years

18,988 526 132 393 23.8 24.4 18.9 27.1 2.8 0.7 2.1

25 to 29 years

10,348 297 78 219 13.0 13.8 11.1 15.1 2.9 0.8 2.1

30 to 34 years

8,640 229 55 174 10.8 10.6 7.8 12.0 2.6 0.6 2.0

35 to 44 years

14,609 241 63 178 18.3 11.2 8.9 12.3 1.6 0.4 1.2

35 to 39 years

7,541 123 32 91 9.4 5.7 4.5 6.3 1.6 0.4 1.2

40 to 44 years

7,067 118 31 87 8.8 5.5 4.4 6.0 1.7 0.4 1.2

45 to 54 years

14,957 217 65 152 18.7 10.1 9.3 10.5 1.5 0.4 1.0

45 to 49 years

7,409 115 27 88 9.3 5.3 3.8 6.0 1.5 0.4 1.2

50 to 54 years

7,548 103 39 64 9.4 4.8 5.5 4.4 1.4 0.5 0.8

55 to 64 years

11,742 129 28 100 14.7 6.0 4.1 6.9 1.1 0.2 0.9

55 to 59 years

6,938 75 18 58 8.7 3.5 2.5 4.0 1.1 0.3 0.8

60 to 64 years

4,804 54 11 43 6.0 2.5 1.6 2.9 1.1 0.2 0.9

65 years and older

3,731 64 30 34 4.7 3.0 4.3 2.3 1.7 0.8 0.9

65 to 69 years

2,217 40 18 23 2.8 1.9 2.5 1.6 1.8 0.8 1.0

70 years and older

1,514 24 12 11 1.9 1.1 1.8 0.8 1.6 0.8 0.7

Men

                     

Total, 16 years and older

39,568 769 270 499 49.5 35.7 38.4 34.4 1.9 0.7 1.3

16 to 24 years

7,967 357 147 210 10.0 16.6 21.0 14.5 4.5 1.8 2.6

16 to 19 years

2,278 183 87 96 2.9 8.5 12.3 6.6 8.0 3.8 4.2

20 to 24 years

5,688 174 61 114 7.1 8.1 8.6 7.8 3.1 1.1 2.0

25 years and older

31,601 412 122 289 39.6 19.1 17.5 19.9 1.3 0.4 0.9

25 to 34 years

9,943 196 60 136 12.4 9.1 8.5 9.4 2.0 0.6 1.4

25 to 29 years

5,393 113 40 73 6.8 5.2 5.8 5.0 2.1 0.8 1.3

30 to 34 years

4,551 83 19 64 5.7 3.8 2.7 4.4 1.8 0.4 1.4

35 to 44 years

7,324 72 19 53 9.2 3.4 2.8 3.7 1.0 0.3 0.7

35 to 39 years

3,843 37 7 30 4.8 1.7 0.9 2.1 1.0 0.2 0.8

40 to 44 years

3,481 35 13 23 4.4 1.6 1.8 1.6 1.0 0.4 0.7

45 to 54 years

7,229 85 21 64 9.1 3.9 3.0 4.4 1.2 0.3 0.9

45 to 49 years

3,595 42 12 31 4.5 2.0 1.7 2.1 1.2 0.3 0.8

50 to 54 years

3,634 43 9 33 4.5 2.0 1.3 2.3 1.2 0.3 0.9

55 to 64 years

5,421 38 14 24 6.8 1.7 2.0 1.6 0.7 0.3 0.4

55 to 59 years

3,188 23 10 12 4.0 1.1 1.5 0.8 0.7 0.3 0.4

60 to 64 years

2,232 15 4 11 2.8 0.7 0.5 0.8 0.7 0.2 0.5

65 years and older

1,683 21 9 13 2.1 1.0 1.2 0.9 1.3 0.5 0.8

65 to 69 years

968 12 5 8 1.2 0.6 0.7 0.5 1.3 0.5 0.8

70 years and older

715 9 4 5 0.9 0.4 0.6 0.3 1.3 0.6 0.7

Women

                     

Total, 16 years and older

40,315 1,384 432 952 50.5 64.3 61.6 65.6 3.4 1.1 2.4

16 to 24 years

7,890 619 235 384 9.9 28.8 33.6 26.5 7.8 3.0 4.9

16 to 19 years

2,314 260 127 133 2.9 12.1 18.1 9.2 11.3 5.5 5.8

20 to 24 years

5,576 359 108 251 7.0 16.7 15.4 17.3 6.4 1.9 4.5

25 years and older

32,425 764 196 568 40.6 35.5 28.0 39.1 2.4 0.6 1.8

25 to 34 years

9,044 330 73 257 11.3 15.3 10.4 17.7 3.6 0.8 2.8

25 to 29 years

4,955 184 37 147 6.2 8.5 5.3 10.1 3.7 0.8 3.0

30 to 34 years

4,090 146 35 111 5.1 6.8 5.1 7.6 3.6 0.9 2.7

35 to 44 years

7,285 168 43 125 9.1 7.8 6.2 8.6 2.3 0.6 1.7

35 to 39 years

3,699 86 25 61 4.6 4.0 3.6 4.2 2.3 0.7 1.6

40 to 44 years

3,586 82 18 64 4.5 3.8 2.6 4.4 2.3 0.5 1.8

45 to 54 years

7,727 132 45 88 9.7 6.2 6.4 6.1 1.7 0.6 1.1

45 to 49 years

3,813 72 15 57 4.8 3.4 2.2 3.9 1.9 0.4 1.5

50 to 54 years

3,914 60 29 31 4.9 2.8 4.2 2.1 1.5 0.8 0.8

55 to 64 years

6,321 91 14 77 7.9 4.2 2.0 5.3 1.4 0.2 1.2

55 to 59 years

3,749 53 7 45 4.7 2.4 1.0 3.1 1.4 0.2 1.2

60 to 64 years

2,572 39 7 31 3.2 1.8 1.0 2.2 1.5 0.3 1.2

65 years and older

2,048 43 21 21 2.6 2.0 3.1 1.5 2.1 1.0 1.0

65 to 69 years

1,249 28 13 15 1.6 1.3 1.9 1.0 2.2 1.0 1.2

70 years and older

799 15 8 6 1.0 0.7 1.2 0.4 1.8 1.0 0.8

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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

Never married

31,473 1,403 520 883 39.4 65.2 74.1 60.9 4.5 1.7 2.8

16 to 24 years

14,416 914 364 550 18.0 42.4 51.9 37.9 6.3 2.5 3.8

25 years and older

17,057 489 156 334 21.4 22.7 22.2 23.0 2.9 0.9 2.0

25 to 54 years

15,572 458 146 312 19.5 21.3 20.8 21.5 2.9 0.9 2.0

Married, spouse present(1)

35,193 463 103 360 44.1 21.5 14.6 24.8 1.3 0.3 1.0

16 to 24 years

1,046 42 12 30 1.3 2.0 1.7 2.1 4.0 1.2 2.8

25 years and older

34,147 421 90 331 42.7 19.6 12.9 22.8 1.2 0.3 1.0

25 to 54 years

24,696 343 69 274 30.9 15.9 9.8 18.9 1.4 0.3 1.1

Widowed, divorced, or separated(2)

13,216 287 79 208 16.5 13.3 11.3 14.3 2.2 0.6 1.6

16 to 24 years

395 21 6 14 0.5 1.0 0.9 1.0 5.2 1.6 3.6

25 years and older

12,821 266 73 193 16.1 12.4 10.4 13.3 2.1 0.6 1.5

25 to 54 years

8,285 183 45 137 10.4 8.5 6.5 9.5 2.2 0.5 1.7

Men

                     

Total, 16 years and older

39,568 769 270 499 49.5 35.7 38.4 34.4 1.9 0.7 1.3

Never married

16,498 554 218 336 20.7 25.7 31.0 23.2 3.4 1.3 2.0

16 to 24 years

7,329 346 144 202 9.2 16.1 20.5 13.9 4.7 2.0 2.8

25 years and older

9,169 208 73 134 11.5 9.7 10.5 9.3 2.3 0.8 1.5

25 to 54 years

8,451 197 67 130 10.6 9.1 9.6 8.9 2.3 0.8 1.5

Married, spouse present(1)

17,999 157 38 119 22.5 7.3 5.3 8.2 0.9 0.2 0.7

16 to 24 years

478 9 3 6 0.6 0.4 0.4 0.4 1.8 0.6 1.3

25 years and older

17,521 148 35 113 21.9 6.9 5.0 7.8 0.8 0.2 0.6

25 to 54 years

12,670 117 23 94 15.9 5.4 3.2 6.5 0.9 0.2 0.7

Widowed, divorced, or separated(2)

5,071 59 15 44 6.3 2.7 2.1 3.0 1.2 0.3 0.9

16 to 24 years

160 2 0 2 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.1 1.4 0.2 1.2

25 years and older

4,911 56 14 42 6.1 2.6 2.0 2.9 1.1 0.3 0.9

25 to 54 years

3,375 40 10 30 4.2 1.8 1.4 2.0 1.2 0.3 0.9

Women

                     

Total, 16 years and older

40,315 1,384 432 952 50.5 64.3 61.6 65.6 3.4 1.1 2.4

Never married

14,975 849 302 547 18.7 39.5 43.1 37.7 5.7 2.0 3.7

16 to 24 years

7,087 568 220 348 8.9 26.4 31.4 24.0 8.0 3.1 4.9

25 years and older

7,888 282 82 199 9.9 13.1 11.7 13.7 3.6 1.0 2.5

25 to 54 years

7,121 261 79 182 8.9 12.1 11.3 12.6 3.7 1.1 2.6

Married, spouse present(1)

17,195 306 65 241 21.5 14.2 9.3 16.6 1.8 0.4 1.4

16 to 24 years

568 33 9 24 0.7 1.5 1.4 1.6 5.8 1.7 4.2

25 years and older

16,626 273 56 218 20.8 12.7 7.9 15.0 1.6 0.3 1.3

25 to 54 years

12,026 226 46 180 15.1 10.5 6.5 12.4 1.9 0.4 1.5

Widowed, divorced, or separated(2)

8,145 228 64 163 10.2 10.6 9.2 11.3 2.8 0.8 2.0

16 to 24 years

234 18 6 12 0.3 0.9 0.8 0.9 7.8 2.5 5.3

25 years and older

7,910 210 59 151 9.9 9.7 8.3 10.4 2.7 0.7 1.9

25 to 54 years

4,910 143 36 108 6.1 6.7 5.1 7.4 2.9 0.7 2.2

Footnotes:

(1) Refers to people in opposite-sex married couples only.

(2) Separated includes people who are married, spouse absent.

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

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, 2016 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

79,883 2,153 701 1,451 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 2.7 0.9 1.8

Hours vary

4,633 209 86 123 5.8 9.7 12.3 8.5 4.5 1.9 2.7

0 to 34 hours

18,865 1,155 466 688 23.6 53.7 66.5 47.4 6.1 2.5 3.6

0 to 4 hours

384 16 10 6 0.5 0.8 1.4 0.4 4.2 2.6 1.6

5 to 9 hours

994 72 36 36 1.2 3.3 5.1 2.5 7.2 3.6 3.6

10 to 14 hours

1,673 105 50 55 2.1 4.9 7.1 3.8 6.3 3.0 3.3

15 to 19 hours

2,374 191 83 108 3.0 8.9 11.8 7.4 8.0 3.5 4.6

20 to 24 hours

5,543 339 146 193 6.9 15.7 20.8 13.3 6.1 2.6 3.5

25 to 29 hours

3,007 192 71 121 3.8 8.9 10.1 8.3 6.4 2.4 4.0

30 to 34 hours

4,890 240 71 169 6.1 11.2 10.1 11.6 4.9 1.5 3.5

35 hours or more

56,385 789 149 640 70.6 36.6 21.2 44.1 1.4 0.3 1.1

35 to 39 hours

6,085 206 43 163 7.6 9.6 6.1 11.2 3.4 0.7 2.7

40 hours or more

50,300 583 106 477 63.0 27.1 15.1 32.9 1.2 0.2 0.9

40 hours

43,362 472 92 380 54.3 21.9 13.1 26.2 1.1 0.2 0.9

41 hours or more

6,938 111 14 98 8.7 5.2 2.0 6.7 1.6 0.2 1.4

41 to 44 hours

675 7 2 5 0.8 0.3 0.2 0.4 1.0 0.2 0.8

45 to 48 hours

2,463 42 4 38 3.1 1.9 0.6 2.6 1.7 0.2 1.5

49 to 59 hours

2,539 42 4 38 3.2 1.9 0.5 2.6 1.7 0.1 1.5

60 hours or more

1,261 21 5 16 1.6 1.0 0.6 1.1 1.6 0.4 1.3

Note: Data exclude all self-employed persons 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, 1979–2016 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

2016

136,101 79,883 58.7 701 1,451 2,153 2.7

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

2016

70,589 39,568 56.1 270 499 769 1.9

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

2016

65,512 40,315 61.5 432 952 1,384 3.4

Footnotes:

(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 https://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.

Material in this report is in the public domain and may be used without permission. This information is available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice telephone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339. 

Concepts and definitions

The principal definitions used in connection with the estimates of minimum wage workers presented in this report are described briefly below.

Wage and salary workers. These 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. These 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. The estimates of the numbers of workers with reported earnings at or below the federal minimum wage pertain only to workers who are paid hourly rates. Salaried workers and the 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. People who usually work 35 hours or more per week at their sole or principal job are defined as working full time.

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

Race. In the survey process, race is determined by the household respondent. 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. These are 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 respondents report (which does not include overtime pay, tips, or commissions). It should be noted that 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 underestimate 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. The component of this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is known as sampling error, 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.