California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is poised to sign into law a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $10 per hour by 2016. Currently, a full-time, year-round minimum-wage earner in California earns $16,640 a year, nearly $2,900 below the federal poverty level for a family of three. A wage increase of $2 per hour would translate to $4,160 more in annual earnings for such workers, lifting their wages to just above the poverty level for a family of three and significantly boosting their ability to pay for life’s essentials.
The new law is a significant win for California’s working families, but $10 per hour is still not enough for working families in many of the state’s urban areas to be self-sufficient. Nationwide workers also continue to struggle; nearly a third of all working families in the United States may not have enough money to meet basic needs, and too many American workers earn the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
The infographic below shows what minimum-wage workers and their families could afford annually with a more than $4,000 pay boost.
Karla Walter is Associate Director of the American Worker Project at American Progress.
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Senior Director, American Worker Project