Withering Wages

Infographic Poster of Minimum Wage Development

I analyzed minimum wages versus living wages in the United States and developed information architecture to highlight the disparity between the two. Three subgraphs support different elements that supplement the primary graph.

The federal minimum wage has remained stagnant since July 24, 2009.

Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to rise, increasing the living wage.

MINIMUM WAGE    LIVING WAGE

Originally, a federal minimum wage was implemented in 1938 to be a living wage.

A living wage is determined by the cost of predetermined expenses such as food, medical bills, transportation, child care, housing, and other necessities, including taxes. Even in its current state, it is only  the bare minimum.

inflation adjusted to 2018 dollars

minimum wage increases

subminimum wage increases

national living wage average (2018)

The main timeline highlights the slow progress in minimum wage over the 80-year period since legalization.

The key breaks down the different layers of the timeline.

Historical context puts the primary timeline in perspective.

Minimum wage workers consist of a diverse group in age and ethnicity.

There is a large discrepancy between minimum and living wage despite attempts to increase wages in the years between.

Key historical events are highlighted

In most states, even two adults working minimum wage does not meet their associated living wage.

Deficit created per hour of minimum wage worked within each of the 50 states ranges from $1.18 to $6.92.

© 2020 Miranda Chang