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Minimum Wage in US: California Increases Minimum Wage to $9 as Public Opinion Split

First Posted: Jul 03, 2014 11:33 AM EDT
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California's minimum wage has increased by $1, but residents are unsure about the decision. Latinos, however, are in favor increasing the state's minimum wage even further. 

A new Field Poll, via The Sacramento Bee, showed political alignment also shows disparities on whether the minimum wage should have increased to $9 or maintained at $8. The state's minimum wage could reach over $10 an hour in 2016.

The poll, overall, showed 48 percent of adults agreeing that the minimum wage should increase, but 37 percent disagreed. Ten percent believed the minimum wage in the state is "already raised too much."

Among Democratic respondents, 57 percent stated the minimum wage should be increased more, while 36 percent stated the current pay rate is sufficient. Only 4 percent of Democrats stated the current minimum wage was too much. Among Republicans, 51 percent stated the current wage rate is adequate, and 26 percent think there should be a further increase. Nineteen percent of Republicans stated the Californian minimum wage is too high.

Among independent voters, 60 percent wanted the state's minimum wage to increase, 60 percent, while 23 percent are content with the current rates. Nine percent of independents stated the minimum wage is too high.

More Latinos stated the minimum wage should increase than others ethnicities. Latinos, at 62 percent, stated the minimum wage should increase, 28 percent are complacent with current rates, while 5 percent believed it's already too much. African-Americans were not far behind, with 56 percent stating the minimum wage should increase, 36 percent content with current rates, and 6 percent believing it's too much. Among whites, 40 percent want a wage increase while 43 percent are satisfied with current rates, but 14 percent consider the minimum wage to be too high already.

"Forty-three percent of Latino workers earn poverty-level wages. The current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is not enough to keep a single parent with one child out of poverty," wrote National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Deputy Director of Civic Engagement Loren McArthur. "Congress has introduced but has not yet passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, which would make it easier for approximately 6.8 million Latinos, or nearly one-quarter of the Hispanic workforce, to take care of their families."

"Raising the federal minimum wage is a critical civil rights issue and will make a significant difference in the lives of millions of low-wage workers and their families. Latinos have disproportionately high rates of poverty, so increasing wages would be greatly beneficial both for this population and for the entire nation's economic recovery," noted The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, an increase in the minimum wage would reverse the current decline of wages and effects of income inequality. The EPI also stated a minimum wage increase would provide a "modest stimulus" for the U.S. economy and contribute to GDP growth.

The Field Poll polled 1,020 Californians for the minimum wage survey.


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