Study Reveals Iowans Don’t Make Enough to Support Their Families
The national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn't changed since 2009. This 13-year gap is the longest gap in time without a change since the Fair Labor Standards Act was introduced in 1938, according to the Department of Labor. For a frame of reference, a person working 40 hours a week on the federal minimum wage will bring in roughly $15,080 in gross income per year.
The Pew Research Center conducted a poll that determined 62% of Americans are on board with increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
In 2021, the national minimum wage would have been $23 an hour if it kept up with inflation and productivity growth, per Business Insider.
And now, a study conducted by Common Good Iowa has "found one in seven working households in Iowa are not 'financially self-sufficient.' That's about 15% of Iowa homes with at least one full-time worker," according to KCCI.
The organization added that raising the minimum wage must happen sooner rather than later.
Anne Discher, Executive Director of Common Good Iowa, said this to the news station in Des Moines:
The kinds of wages that are required to meet that basic budget exceed the minimum wage and at times exceed the state's median wage. And so for a single person with no children, they have to earn $13.84 an hour to meet that very basic budget. A working single parent with one child needs to earn $21.16.
It is important to take into account that the calculations performed in this study were conducted before the recent inflation hikes in the United States.
Iowa is one of 20 states in the Union that maintain the national minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to Minimum-Wage.org. Bordering states like Illinois ($12/hour), Minnesota (10.33/hour), Missouri ($11.15/hour), Nebraska ($9/hour), and South Dakota ($9.95/hour) all have higher minimum wages than Iowa.
The state with the highest minimum wage is Washington ($14.49/hour) while the District of Columbia has the highest of each state and territory ($15.20).
According to SquareUp.com, "There is currently no legislation being considered at the state level that would raise Iowa’s minimum wage above the federal level. ... Iowa Republicans have used their majorities in both chambers to prevent local governments from raising the minimum wage."