The new Congress has made raising the minimum wage a top priority, with the House voting by a wide margin in favor of a hike, and President Bush has indicated that he might sign an increase in the minimum wage. Although policy discussion dealing with this possible increase has largely centered on urban workers in the fast food industry, a new report released late last week by William O'Hare of the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute says that percentage-wise, rural workers will be affected even more.
The House legislature would eventually raise the current national minimum wage of $5.15 an hour to $7.25. O'Hare's study says that 15.4% of rural hourly workers currently earn less than $7.25, compared to 13.5% in urban areas. O'Hare also reports that 52% of workers making under $7.25 per hour live in families with a combined income of less than $30,000 a year, compared to 43% of low-wage workers in urban areas.
Read the full factsheet at http://www.carseyinstitute.unh.edu/documents/MinimumWage_final.pdf.