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It’s time to raise Minneapolis’ minimum wage

To puncture a misconception: The average age of a minimum-wage worker is 35, and the Economic Policy Institute found that 88% of minimum-wage workers are over 20.

Raising the minimum wage is a popular issue — should we do it? Or should it remain the same?

Half of the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Betsy Hodges seem to agree with the former, saying they would support a plan that involves raising the minimum wage to $15 over the next few years. Right now Minnesota’s minimum wage is at $9.50, which is higher than the federal minimum wage and several states’ minimum wages. However, according to MIT’s living wage calculator, in Hennepin County an adult working full-time needs to make $11.36/hour to be able to afford basic necessities (housing, food, transportation, etc).

This amount is even higher if the person has kids — $24.88 for one, $31.04 for two, you get the idea. Since 27.7 percent of minimum wage workers have kids, raising it to $15/hour would have a very positive impact on them. There is a common misconception that minimum wage workers are teens who want a little extra cash for their weekends at the mall or that these jobs are a buffer until you find a better job. However, the average age of a minimum-wage worker is 35, and the Economic Policy Institute found that 88 percent are older than 20. And for those people concerned about small businesses being hurt by a raise: It would be implemented over several years so that these businesses could absorb additional costs.

It’s time to raise the minimum wage, and I’m happy to see support starting at the city level.

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