FiveThirtyEight | When Living Wage Is Minimum Wage: The minimum wage debate hinges on an essential question: Who would be affected by an increase? If minimum-wage workers were mostly teenagers and others supplementing their household income, as Republicans have often argued, a raise would have different implications than if these workers were mostly adults struggling to raise a family, as many Democrats contend.
Census data reveals that more than half of all workers now earning below President Obama’s proposed minimum wage of $10.10 per hour are trying to support themselves. It’s true that low-wage workers tend to be younger than the population as a whole, and that many of them are teenagers. But a significant and growing minority are also trying to raise children of their own.