Minimum Wealth, part 7

Let’s take a moment to remember who minimum wage workers are. According to a 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics report (the most recent I could find), 55% of hourly paid workers earning $7.25/hour or less were over the age of 25. White women hourly workers were twice as likely as white men hourly workers to be paid at or below the federal minimum wage. LGBT adults are also more likely to receive $7.25 or less, as well as immigrants. 

48.5% of those at or below minimum wage lived in the South, even though it’s one of the less populated regions. By contrast only 15.8% of such low wage workers lived in the Northeast. Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi – all recommended in step one as ther path out of poverty – tied for the highest portion of all hourly workers earning $7.25 or less, at 6% of hourly workers. Part-time workers were three and a half times as likely to make no more than minimum wage. Disabled workers were far more likely to be in service work or receiving subminimum wages in sheltered workshops.

The leisure and hospitality industry claims the highest portion of these low wage workers, employing 15% of them, primarily in food preparation and service. Nearly two-thirds of 2015 workers making this little worked in food service. Never-married people were more than twice as likely to be minimum wage or less workers. Although the majority of <$7.25 earners were white, black people were about 30% more likely to receive this low pay. 

All combined this paints a picture of a person who may not feel or be safe riding a bicycle home from work at all hours and in all weather. Countless disability symptoms are exacerbated by weather exposure and many others cause mobility or balance issues that make cycling impossible. Women, people of color, immigrants, and queers in public face threats to our safety the investment banker who dreamed this up can’t conceive of. 

Finally, the graphic pretends there are zero expenses associated with not owning a car. A monthly bus pass ranges from $40 in Shreveport to $75 in Buffalo. Without factoring in wear and tear on shoes, bike chains, tires, and the initial cost of the bicycle, not going 100% of places on your own pedestrian power will cost $480-900 a year. Bike theft, muggings, and other small scale economic crimes are more common in the selected cities, as we got into yesterday . 

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