A national debate is underway in the United States over whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour today, as more than 30 million U.S. citizens now live below the poverty line.
The last time the U.S. increased the hourly federal minimum wage was in 2009.
According to economists and advocates, the $7 an hour rate in at least 20 U.S. states is to blame for the increase in poverty in the nation. However, in some states it’s legal to pay even lower than the minimum wage. For example, in the state of Wyoming, some residents are paid as little as $5.15 an hour or even less. And they haven’t seen a wage increase in 20 years.
Low wages present social and economic barriers for many families in Wyoming where almost 20% of the state’s residents live in poverty. Many of them are single, low-wage working mothers, some holding down two or three jobs, to buy food and clothing for their children.
Mike Kirsch takes us to one of the hardest-working U.S. states when it comes to earning low wages… Wyoming.