December 31 2009|01.01 PM UTC

Stan Reybern

The Past, Present, and Future of Minimum Wage

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The U.S.federal minimum wage was established at $.25 per hour in 1938 and has increased over the years, in theory, to keep up with inflation, cost of living, and many other factors. Although the federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25, each individual state ultimately has the ability to set their own minimum wage. Residents of Kansas are keenly aware of this fact, where the state minimum wage is set at an astonishing $2.65. Check out where your state stands against the rest of the country, as well as other thought provoking facts as we take a look at the past, present, and future of minimum wage across America.

(click to enlarge)

Minimum Wage in the US

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

PNY December 31, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Alaska and Hawaii don’t exist in this magical new America.


jc March 4, 2011 at 10:47 pm

thank goodness


Ralph December 31, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Nobody can live on $2.65 an hour in today’s America. So who, aside from those lucky enough to have additional income from tips, is actually working at a minimum wage job in Kansas?


Anonymous December 31, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Would have been worthwhile to research Kansas a bit more.

From here:

Kansas for many years had the lowest state approved minimum wage, set at $2.65, but that will change to $7.25 starting on January 1, 2010. Only 20,000 workers in Kansas are currently paid less than the federal minimum wage


Charles December 31, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Your graph is incorrect, as the minimum wage in Maine(where I live) is $7.25, the same as the Federal minimum.


gmac January 1, 2010 at 8:04 am

Sucks to be them


eco January 1, 2010 at 10:09 am

so the amount of min. wage workers has decreased over the years, the price has raised due to inflation, the value of that wage relatively the same with some variation. Okay, a little more women get paid minimum wage than men, and teens are the likely recipients of min wage. But are the colorful graphics really informative of anything outstanding? Maybe paint the whole continental US with pretty colors and smiley faces, moods ranging in relation to wage, and have Kansas crossed out in black, dripping blood all over Oklahoma (sorry, OK). DAMN YOU KANSAS!!! Just throwing out some ideas.


Brandon January 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Missouri actually has the same minimum wage rate ($7.25/hr) as the current Federal minimum. There is a law in Missouri that adjusts the state minimum wage based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). However, regardless of the changes in the CPI, Missouri’s minimum wage cannot decrease below the Federal minimum wage.


Anonymous January 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm

By using the words Best and Worst when discussing the minimum wage you immediately indicate a bias.

You use highest and lowest for relating min. wage to a percentage of a state’s population, but then you subjectively declare that a higher minimum wage is best and a lower minimum wage is worst which actually providing numerical data.


Anonymous January 3, 2010 at 10:15 am

Minimum wage is not a living wage and should not be confused with it. Minimum wage *should* be for the kinds of jobs you give scrappy teens who live with their middle class families. People who have to earn a living (and aren’t / can’t) need more than just some mandated wage.


whatever February 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Lets see, decrease the value of a dollar thats based on BS. Increase inflation, increase taxes when none are aportioned equaly and legaly anyhow, blah blah blah. The only reason I cant complain about all you idiots that believe in the ability of the elite to govern the few is because i truely believe anarchy will prevail in the end anyhow.
Additionaly, who cares, in the end you can all burn… ya dirty slaves seem more than happy to chase down other slaves. Your no better than the slavemasters. Judgment day came and went morons, this IS hell. Why do you think there is no equality? It is because as a people, WE have given up our rights to liberty, and because we want a green smoke free environment to live in so long as we are willing to screw over our fellow man woman and child?
Hense we have hell. Life is consequence and it was all sold to you under the guise of soft fuzzy care for your neighbor. Cutting him loose and having to blast him if he raided you would have been better than this police state we live in now. hmm.


Anonymous February 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm

More minimum women huh? Maybe it is because we are un-equals?
Could be that they have 2x more jobs then?
STFU and quit your bitching, its noones fault that you were not a prom queen. Infact, im not quite sure why anyone should have to have paid for you to go to a PUBLIC SCHOOL TO BEGIN WITH.
Im with the anarchy guy on this one, someone needs to hit the reset button.


Someguyson April 8, 2011 at 6:10 am

One of the factors not listed here are hours, breaks and lunch times as well. Running a subway I consistently worked 10 hour days without breaks, and I could have been fired for going to the bathroom if I was the only person on duty (90% of the time) since we where in a walmart where we couldn’t lock the store.


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