by Patrick Appel
Ben Casselman puts the low-wage workforce under the microscope:
[O]ne thing is clear: A larger share of low-wage workers are trying to support themselves today than in past years. About 39 percent of workers earning under $10.10 an hour — adjusted for inflation — were supporting themselves in in 1990, compared to more than half today. Back then, nearly a quarter of low-wage earners were teenagers, compared to just 13 percent today.
He goes into more detail in a second post:
Someone working full time for the federal minimum wage earns about $15,000 a year. Only about a fifth of all minimum-wage earners made less than that in 2013, according to data from the Census Bureau. But about half of minimum-wage workers had family incomes of less than $40,000, and nearly 70 percent had incomes below $60,000, which is roughly the national median.
Most minimum-wage workers, in other words, have other sources of income. Still, most are solidly in the bottom half of the income spectrum.