Minimum Wage: By The Numbers

Morgan Spurlock is at it again. The man who exposed the unsavory side of fast food in the popular documentary Supersize Me takes on minimum wage in his new series “30 Days.” In the show, which launches tomorrow night on FX, Spurlock will submerge an average American in a completely different lifestyle for one month. (The Center For American Progress is holding an advance screening of the show in Washington, DC tonight.) For his first episode, Spurlock decided to explore exactly how hard it is to live on a minimum wage income for thirty days. He and his fiancee, Alex, moved to Columbus, OH and lived on $5.15 an hour for a month. They found out it’s pretty impossible. Here are the facts behind minimum wage in America:

4.3 million: Number of Americans who have fallen into poverty since President Bush took office

$5.15: Federal minimum wage

26%: How much the inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage has eroded since 1979


0: Number of times minimum wage has increased since 1997

7: Number of times Congress has increased its own pay since 1997

$0: How much more a year people earning minimum wage earn today compared to 1997

$28,500: How much more a year members of Congress make today compared to 1997

$10,700: Amount a person making minimum wage will earn in a year

$5,000: Amount below the poverty level working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year at minimum wage will leave a family of three

7,300,000: Number of workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage

72%: Percentage of adult workers who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage

1,800,000: Number of parents with kids under the age of 18 who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage

11 million: Number of jobs added to the economy in the four years after the last minimum wage hike

$8.70: Amount minimum wage would have to be today to have the same purchasing power it had in 1968

2.5 years: Amount of health care for two children which could be bought by raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25

86%: Percentage of Americans who support raising the federal minimum wage