Raising the Minimum Wage to $10 Would Pull 58% of Working Poor Out of Poverty

With more than 6 million U.S. workers living below the federal poverty level in 2011, many would believe a solution for decreasing poverty and increasing savings account funds among the working poor remains elusive.

Yet, according to a recent study from the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 per hour could help nearly 58 percent of the working poor climb out of poverty.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the working poor as those who either have jobs, or who have been looking for at least half of the year and still fell below the poverty line. And since the minimum wage was last increased in 2009 at $7.25, now may be the time to consider increasing wages for the average American worker — especially in light of a study released this month by the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute that found that the current minimum wage is actually worth $2.00 less than it was in 1968 when adjusted for inflation.

New Minimum Wage Would Make Saving Money Easier

At the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, a U.S. worker would earn only $300.80 during a typical 40-hour work week. With just about $1,203 a month, that doesn’t leave too much to cover living expenses like rent, utilities and groceries, or even larger expenditures like a car. Plus, saving money or managing a savings account would be even more difficult, since more often than not, a minimum wage worker is forced to live paycheck to paycheck, particularly if they have a family to support.

Through the new proposed minimum wage of $10.10, U.S. workers could earn over $400 a week based on the same work schedule, while letting them earn $1,616 a month. With an increased monthly amount of approximately $413, minimum wage earners could begin building their savings accounts accordingly.

While minimum wage workers can use increased wages in a variety of ways, there’s no doubt that their savings accounts and quality of life would improve thanks to a substantial increase of hard-earned cash each month.

(image: CT Senate Democrats)