The Impact of a Higher Minimum Wage on Poverty Among Same-Sex Couples

Source: M.V. Lee Badgett and Alyssa Schneebaum, Williams Institute, April 2014

From the press release:
An increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would lift at least 20,000 people in same-sex couples out of poverty, according to a new Williams Institute study. The study is co-authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar M.V. Lee Badgett and Alyssa Schneebaum, and also finds that a minimum wage increase would reduce the poverty rate by 24 percent or more for couples. …

Poverty rates fall for the most vulnerable people in same-sex couples—particularly women and African Americans—as well as for children in households led by same-sex couples. For example, among all people in same-sex couples, 7 percent of people are African American, but they are 14 percent of the group of people in same-sex couples who would move out of poverty. Similarly, same-sex couples with children make up 20 percent of all couples, but they are 37 percent of families leaving poverty.

Other key findings include:
• Among people in same-sex couples living below the poverty line, people with disabilities, people aged 18-24, those without high school degrees, and those living in a rural area will also gain disproportionately from a higher minimum wage.
• Even after a minimum wage increase, same-sex female couples and unmarried different-sex couples would remain more likely to be poor than different-sex married couples.
• Unmarried different-sex couples would see the biggest poverty reduction benefit from a higher minimum wage. The groups who gain the most among different-sex couples are similar to those in same-sex couples, but Hispanic different-sex couples and different-sex couples aged 25-34 also benefit tremendously (and proportionally more than same-sex couples) from the minimum wage increase.