Skip to navigationSkip to content

Five charts about US minimum wage increases in 2015

AP Photo/Seth Perlman
It didn’t work for Illinois, but other states are seeing minimum wage increases this year.
By Sonali Kohli
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

In 2015, minimum wage workers in 23 states and Washington, DC. will see bumps to their paychecks, to varying degrees.

Twenty of those states, and DC, saw increases on Jan. 1. Some of the increases are staggered, beginning on the first day of the year, with an additional increase over the next 12 months.

*Note: Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, and Ohio have different minimum wages for large and small employers based on annual sales volume or gross annual sales or revenue, depending on the state. This map represents only the minimum wage for large employees who surpass that threshold. Nevada’s minimum wage is $8.25 without health benefits and $7.25 with, and is represented as $8.25 on this map. For states that have no minimum wage, or a minimum wage lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 (Georgia’s and Wyoming’s are both $5.15), the federal minimum wage applies and is reflected here.

The state with the highest minimum wage in 2015—besides Washington, D.C., at an 11% change to $10.50—is Washington, which saw a 1.6% increase from last year, to $9.47 (home to Seattle, which controversially raised its minimum wage to $15 last year). In total, 29 states and DC now pay more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Who is affected by the increases

In 2013 there were 3.3 million Americans older than 16 working at or below minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (pdf).

The greatest number of those people—1.5 million—were working in the South.

Six of the 24 states, plus DC, seeing minimum wage increases this year are in the South—Florida, which accounts for 5.5% of the Americans working at or below minimum wage, saw the lowest minimum increase, rising 1.5% from $7.93 to $8.05. West Virginia, another Southern state, has 0.7% of the country’s minimum wage population and saw the largest percentage jump of all the states, from $7.25 to $8.75.

But the South has the most people working at or below minimum wage largely because of Texas, with 400,000—12.1% of all the country’s employees working at or below minimum wage. The minimum wage in Texas remained at $7.25 this year.

If the 2013 data (the latest federal analysis available) is still accurate, most of the people who will benefit from the increases this year are young; 50.4% are between 16-24 years old.

According to a White House report last year, women are a majority in low-wage sectors like personal care and healthcare support; they also occupy 72% of  jobs that rely largely on tips and thus have a low minimum wage, like restaurant servers, bartenders, and hairstylists.


📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.