State of Minimum Wage$ in the U.S.

Since the U.S. instituted a federal minimum wage rate in 1938, various state and local governments have pushed for higher rates. Seattle was the first to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2017, a $2 increase every year starting from 2015. San Francisco followed suit with an increase to $15 by 2018. In 2015, Oakland increased its rate to $12.25, and Chicago will slowly increase its minimum wage from $8.25 to $13 an hour by 2019. The rate in Washington, D.C. is currently $10.50 and will be increased to $11.50 by the end of 2016. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009.

According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 report, in 2014 (the latest year detailed data is available), 3.8% of all hourly workers 16 years and older (roughly 3 million workers) were paid at or below the federal minimum wage, with 1.6% at the federal level and 2.2% below. Women were 2.9% of the total and men 1.6%. A regional breakdown showed that 2.6%-2.8% of Southern workers fell below the federal minimum with Louisiana reporting the highest percentage of workers (3.5%) making less than the minimum.

The following infographic shows the state of the minimum wage throughout the U.S.

Click through to see the enlarged image.


Techniques Used
The above visualization includes 3 types of techniques:

Quantitative Analysis: Two chart types were used to visualize quantitative data on wages: a trend chart shows the historic U.S. minimum wages adjusted for inflation using 2015 CPI (consumer price index) and a bubble chart shows countries with hourly minimum wages higher than that of the U.S.

Statistical Analysis (GIS): The spatial analysis shows statistical analysis ranges from basic counts such as total characters and words, number of lines and syllables, and average words per line or sentence to more complex indices and densities.

Graphics: Graphics and images used in the infographics were edited using Photoshop graphic design software.

Implementing visualization techniques in faculty research
The image above shows different visualization techniques that might be used to effectively convey data or research conclusions to different types of audiences in various disciplines or industries. Some visualizations can help identify existing or emerging trends, spot irregularities or obscure patterns, and even address or solve issues.

Ask us how to visualize your research
If you want help visualizing your own research findings or wonder if your research lends itself to similar techniques including data acquisition and preprocessing of both quantitative and qualitative data, contact Nandhini Gulasingam at


Author: Nandhini Gulasingam

Nandhini Gulasingam is a Senior Analyst for IT Solutions at the Social Science Research Center (SSRC) where she manages GIS, database, web development projects for the SSRC and is developing data visualization techniques for use in the social and behavioral sciences. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Geography where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

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