Why Raise the Minimum Wage?

Our Top Reasons to Increase Idaho Workers’ Pay

Low-Wage Workers Are Being Left Behind

Thousands of Idaho moms and near-retirees working full time earn $15,080 a year.  more…

1 in 7 Idahoans Live In Poverty

It’s true. 13% of Idahoans lived in poverty in 2019 despite record low unemployment. Anyone working a full-time job should not live in poverty.  more…

Higher Wages Fuel Economic Growth

Increasing the minimum wage will boost Idaho’s economy because low-income people spend their money.  more…

Higher Wages Reduce Need for Public Assistance

Low-wage workers rely on government subsidies but still run out of money before the end of the month.  more…


Right now, Idaho lets the federal government decide our minimum wage.  more…

Minimum Wage Dollar Value Over Time

Minimum Wage Today Buys Less than in 1950

Value of Federal Minimum Wage in 2021 Dollars

1950-2021 Minimum Wage

Workers Missed Out on Productivity Gains

The minimum wage would be much higher if increases had reflected productivity gains

The inflation-adjusted minimum wage, and hypothetical minimum wage values if they had been increased with average wages and productivity since 1968.

Minimum Wage compare Productivity

Worsening Unfair Distribution of Wealth

Top 0.1% Earnings Grew 15 Times Faster Than Earnings of the Bottom 90%

Cumulative percent change in real annual earnings, by earnings group, 1979-2018.

Top 1% vs bottom 90% income level change

Minimum wage doesn’t keep up with dramatic increase in costs of housing, groceries and other basics

Idaho cost of living chart

Low-Wage Workers are ESSENTIAL WORKERS!

You interact with them! They take care of us!

  • Home Health / Personal Care Aides
  • Substitute Teachers (short-term)
  • Childcare Workers
  • Waitresses, Waiters and support staff
  • Cashiers
  • Retail Salespeople
  • Office and Hotel Clerks
  • Maids / Housekeeping Staff
  • Drivers / Sales Workers
  • Janitors and Cleaners
  • Bartenders
  • Cooks & Food Prep Workers
  • Dishwashers
  • Lifeguards, Ski Patrol & other recreational Workers
  • Exercise Trainers & Fitness Instructors
  • Hairdressers / Stylists / Cosmetologists
  • Amusement / Recreation Attendants
  • Fast Food Workers

Demographics of Low-Wage Workers

Workers Affected (by age)

No wonder young adults and teens still live at home! Workers in their prime earning years barely support themselves, much less save for retirement. Women disproportionately work in low-wage jobs

In Idaho, the highest number of workers who benefit from a minimum wage increase are ages 25 -39

Idaho workers minimum wage by age

Percent of Men and Women who earn low wages

Women disproportionately work in low-wage jobs.

Percent of Men and Women who earn low wages.

Idaho workers minimum wage by gender

Higher Wages Fuel Economic Growth

2019 CBO Estimates (raises 2020-2025)

Increased earnings far outweigh projected job losses.

Millions affected by increase to minimum wage

Compare to Oregon and Washington

Data from states that have increased the minimum wage show unemployment and poverty falling with annual minimum wage increases.

Minimum wage Oregon
Minimum wage Washington state

Fairness for All

Taxpayers are subsidizing businesses paying low-wages with programs like SNAP, CHIP and Medicaid.

Economic research shows: Higher minimum wages “lift all boats”

Higher Wages Reduce Need for Public Assistance

Who Qualifies for SNAP, Medicaid, and CHIP

Check out these realistic Idaho income and budget scenarios. Despite earning more than the minimum wage and receiving government subsidies, hardworking Idahoans are unable to cover the bills.

Single Adult / No Children
Job: Librarian
• $8 / hour

Worker - Librarian

Single Mom with 1 Child
Job: Home Health Worker
• $10 / hour

Worker - Single Mom

2 Adults, 2 Children
Jobs: Retail Sales, Waitress
• $9/hr; $3.35/hr (with tips $7.25)

Worker - Family

Workers Run Out of Money Every Month

Savings > Impossible


Income and Expenses Librarian Home Health Worker Sales / Waitress
Annual Income $16,320 $20,400 $33,150
Monthly Income* $1,360 $1,700 $2,800
Payroll Taxes $105 $130 $215
Housing $600 $860 $1700
Child Care $0 $500 $1000
Food (SNAP / Out of Pocket) $315 / $180 $465 / $205 $925 / $450
Transportation $400 $750 $1110
Other $230 $380 $500
Subtotal (What’s left) $1,515 (-$155) $2,825 (-$1,125) $4,975 (-$2,175)

Does not include: Medical, education, services, sick days, emergency expenses, income taxes, and more.
* Assumes 51 weeks of work/year


States that said “NO” to the federal minimum wage and increased wages by initiative.

States raised minimum wage

74 Cities, Counties and States will Raise Wages this Year!