A new report from anti-poverty advocacy group Oxfam America shows that one-third of the US workforce makes less than $15 per hour.
Of these workers who make $31,200 per year, the vast majority are women and people of color.
“Women and people of color do much more than their fair share of low-wage jobs, and as wages lose value, it’s becoming a civil rights crisis in this country,” the group said.
The report showed that women and people of color disproportionately comprise lower paid positions, with 25% of American men, 40% of women, 46% of Hispanic/Latinx, and 47% of Black workers making less than $15 an hour.
When considering both gender and race, half of working women of color earns less than $15 per hour.
Of those earning less than $15 per hour, 89% of workers were above the age of 20, which negates the argument that lower wages exist for teenage workers. In fact, 57% of parents were part of the lowest-paid group.
Inflation has led the cost of living to skyrocket and corporate profits to increase while wages have remained stagnant. Although there has been a slight uptick in wage growth, it is not growing at the same pace as inflation.
Even as the fight for the federal minimum wage to grow to $15 an hour from $7.25, just 12 states have a minimum wage above $12.50 according to the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) Minimum Wage Tracker.
As the cost of living continues to grow, the EPI says workers need to earn at least $14.50 an hour to afford the cost of living in the most affordable county in the country.