Chart of the Week: #Fightfor15 this Labor Day

31 Aug 2016 | Angel Ross
Chart of the Week: #Fightfor15 this Labor Day

To add equity data to the national dialogue about growth and prosperity, every week the National Equity Atlas team posts a new chart drawing from the Equity Atlas related to current events and issues.

In honor of #LaborDay and the #Fightfor15, this week’s chart looks at the share of workers earning at least $15/hour in California. In an equitable economy, all workers would earn enough to support their family, or a “living wage.” What constitutes a living wage varies based on family size, but $15/hour is a good benchmark for understanding which groups are least likely to be earning a living wage. The fight for a $15/hour minimum wage is also an important campaign that continues to gain momentum.

In California, among full-time workers ages 25 to 64, Latinos are the least likely to make at least $15/hour. 49 percent of Latino women and 54 percent of Latino men earned at least $15/hour in 2012 compared with 81 percent of White women and 87 percent of White men. Latinos are the single largest ethnic group in California, but they continue to face some of the steepest barriers to economic inclusion.

Low wages among the growing Latino population is bad for families and bad for California’s economy: more money in the hands of workers means greater demand for goods and services. Research shows that companies can pay living wages and remain profitable, in part because paying higher wages reduces turnover and increases productivity.

Thanks to policy changes, we should soon see positive changes on this indicator. The minimum wage in California is currently $10/hour, but earlier this year, state lawmakers struck a deal to gradually raise the state minimum wage to $15/hour by 2022.

To see how the share of workers earning at least $15/hour varies by race/ethnicity and gender in your community, visit the National Equity Atlas, type in your city, region, or state, and select the “By gender” breakdown. Download and tweet at us the chart for your community using #equitydata and #Fightfor15.