Here’s What the US Minimum Wage Was the Year You Were Born

See how the minimum wage has changed, or not, over the years.

Although minimum wage is not nearly as low as it used to be, America still has a long way to go when it comes to compensating its workers. The federal minimum wage is currently at $7.25, a number that has stayed the same since 2009.

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But even with no recent changes from the federal government, things appear to be moving in the right direction. In July 2019, the U.S. House passed a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, which could increase the incomes of 17 million to 27 million minimum wage workers, according to Bloomberg.

In the meantime, many states and localities are taking it upon themselves to increase their minimum wages. However, due to inflation and the rising cost of living, it might not be enough to sustain workers. Take a look at how minimum wage has dramatically morphed throughout the years.

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1938

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $4.54

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1939

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $5.53

1940

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $5.57

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1941

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $5.49

1942

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $4.93

1943

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $4.58

1944

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $4.45

1945

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.40
  • In 2020 dollars: $5.80

1946

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.40
  • In 2020 dollars: $5.67

1947

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.40
  • In 2020 dollars: $4.80

1948

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.40
  • In 2020 dollars: $4.35

1949

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.40
  • In 2020 dollars: $4.30

1950

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.75
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.23

1951

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.75
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.62

1952

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.75
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.30

1953

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.75
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.27

1954

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.75
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.19

1955

  • U.S. minimum wage: $0.75
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.25

1956

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.63

1957

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.35

1958

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.02

1959

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.90

1960

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.80

1961

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.96

1962

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.89

1963

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.61

1964

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.44

1965

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.34

 

1966

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.14

1967

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.40
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.98

1968

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.60
  • In 2020 dollars: $12.10

1969

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.60
  • In 2020 dollars: $11.59

1970

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.60
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.92

1971

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.60
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.37

1972

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.60
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.04

1973

  • U.S. minimum wage: $1.60
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.69

1974

  • U.S. minimum wage: $2
  • In 2020 dollars: $11.07

1975

  • U.S. minimum wage: $2.10
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.40

1976

  • U.S. minimum wage: $2.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.67

1977

  • U.S. minimum wage: $2.30
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.14

1978

  • U.S. minimum wage: $2.65
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.94

1979

  • U.S. minimum wage: $2.90
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.95

1980

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.10
  • In 2020 dollars: $10.28

1981

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.93

1982

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $9.16

1983

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.84

1984

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.48

1985

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.19

1986

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.89

1987

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.77

1988

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.47

1989

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.35
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.14

1990

  • U.S. minimum wage: $3.80
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.69

1991

  • U.S. minimum wage: $4.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.15

1992

  • U.S. minimum wage: $4.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.94

1993

  • U.S. minimum wage: $4.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.69

1994

  • U.S. minimum wage: $4.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.50

1995

  • U.S. minimum wage: $4.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.29

1996

  • U.S. minimum wage: $4.75
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.94

1997

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.35

1998

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.22

1999

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.09

2000

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.87

2001

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.59

2002

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.50

2003

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.31

2004

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.17

2005

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $6.97

2006

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.15
  • In 2020 dollars: $6.70

2007

  • U.S. minimum wage: $5.85
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.46

2008

  • U.S. minimum wage: $6.55
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.01

2009

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.86

2010

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.63

2011

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.49

2012

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.25

2013

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8.12

2014

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8

2015

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $8

2016

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.89

2017

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.70

2018

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.55

2019

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.43

2020

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
  • In 2020 dollars: $7.25

2021

  • U.S. minimum wage: $7.25
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About the Author

Taylor Bell

Taylor Bell is an Los Angeles-based journalist and staff writer for GOBankingRates covering personal finance. She is a former staff writer for ATTN: and has covered topics ranging from trending pop culture news to women’s social issues.

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