4 in 5 Americans Believe Federal Minimum Wage Is Too Low

4 in 5 Americans Believe Federal Minimum Wage Is Too Low

Majority of consumers support increasing starting wages to $15 an hour
A bartender wearing a medical mask

In the middle of a pandemic that has left many Americans struggling to make ends meet, a livable minimum wage would help keep millions of people on their feet.

However, a new survey from global market research firm Ipsos found that most Americans agree that the federal minimum wage is too low. In fact, many respondents felt that the federal minimum wage, which starts at $7.25 an hour, should be raised to at least $15 an hour.

The Ipsos survey asked more than 6,300 Americans what they thought about minimum wage and its impact on people’s lives. Here’s what the research discovered.

80% of Americans support federal minimum wage increase

The Ipsos survey found that 4 in 5 Americans (80%) believe the federal minimum wage is too low, a belief shared across age, education levels, gender, geographic regions, income and race. And two-thirds of respondents said they believe the federal minimum wage should be increased to $15 an hour.

Further, the majority of respondents believe employers have an obligation to the financial well-being of their workforce. In fact, 8 in 10 consumers supported the idea of large employers doing their part to raise the federal minimum wage — an initiative that corporations including Amazon, Target, Best Buy and Costco (who each have minimum wages of $15 or more) have already implemented.

Workers making less than $15 an hour struggle more to afford basic needs

A late December survey from payments company Branch found that 78% of hourly workers reported living paycheck to paycheck amid the pandemic. Relatedly, the Ipsos survey found that 37% of hourly, temporary or seasonal employees make less than $15 an hour.

Compared to hourly employees making $15 or more an hour, these workers were much less likely to be able to:

  • Go to the doctor when needed
  • Buy groceries once a week (compounded by U.S. grocery prices being on the rise)
  • Afford to make a car payment on time

Additionally, those making less reported more difficulty allocating funds towards financial obligations, like debt and savings accounts.

With a rise in inflation rates predicted in the months ahead, hourly employees making less than $15 an hour may continue to face heavier financial burdens due to an increase in prices for necessary goods and products.

Raising the federal minimum wage to at least $15, however, could provide some much-needed relief for these workers.

Methodology: In collaboration with Amazon, Ipsos conducted a study on 6,354 Americans between Jan. 28 and Feb. 8, 2021, using KnowledgePanel. The data was weighted to adjust for the demographic benchmarks from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.