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Kathleen at 12:37 Jan 26, 2007

Dude. You rock. Thanks for that graph.

Peter Keller at 16:43 Jan 26, 2007

Can you explain the places where it looks like there are two range values against the domain?

Alan De Smet at 20:04 Jan 26, 2007

I just did an update of page, fixing and clairifying a bunch of stuff. Data points I found noteworthy are marked, as I originally intended. That's what I get for trying to quick do it before going to bed. I also released the graph and spreadsheet under the CC-BY-SA-2.5 license, just in case anyone wants to reuse them or run their own analysis.

The split lines during the 60s and 70s represent a period when we had multiple different minimum wages depending on who you worked for. The higher number is for "employees engaged in interstate commerce or in the production of goods for interstate commerce". I listed the the mimimum and maximum minimum wages in an effort to avoid criticism that I was cherry picking minimum wages to make a point.

Chris at 11:26 Feb 1, 2007

It might be nice if you did a graph line showing where the 'poverty' line is.

You might consider changing the label for 'inflation adjusted' to 'Equiv. 2006 Purchasing power'

Alan De Smet at 21:40 Feb 1, 2007

Tweaking the label is tempting. Unfortunately I was stupid and haven't been saving my work in progress, so I'd have to re-add the labels by hand again. If I get inspired I'll probably do it.

As for the poverty line, where do I draw it? It's a yearly value, not hourly. Do I assume the income earner is working 40 hours a week? 60? 80? How many people are they supporting for that; the poverty line depends on the size of family. (And that's ignoring other definitions, including the Census Bureau's.)

For the curious, here are the various poverty lines converted to wages per hour. The "People" column is how many people are being supported for the given wages. The "Pov.Line" is the poverty guideline for that size group according to the the 2006 Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines for the 48 contiguous states (Hawaii and Alaska have higher numbers). "40hr/52wk" is the hourly wage necessary to just meet the poverty line assuming the person works 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. So on for the 60 and 80 columns.

People   Pov.Line  40hr/52wk 60hr/52wk 80hr/52wk
1        $ 9,800      $ 4.71    $ 3.14     $2.36
2         13,200        6.35      4.23      3.17
3         16,600        7.98      5.32      3.99
4         20,000        9.62      6.41      4.81
5         23,400       11.25      7.50      5.63
6         26,800       12.88      8.59      6.44
7         30,200       14.52      9.68      7.26
8         33,600       16.15     10.77      8.08

My calculations suggestion that the Democrats proposal for increased minimum wage will peak at $6.86 in April of 2009 (in November 2006 dollars). That will supposedly support a family of two a hair above the poverty line, assuming the sole income earner works without vacation or illness, but only 40 hours a week. At 60 hours a week they could support four people a bit above the poverty line. At the current minimum wage ($5.15) a single person can support themselves a bit above the poverty line.

Aaron at 20:47 Feb 7, 2007

I've always thought it might be easier to just have the minimum wage increase every time one of the houses of Congress gets a raise, and in the same proportion.

Kirk Vistain at 16:54 Apr 4, 2007

Good job. This is the kind of computer-literate citizen knowledge contribution that makes me happy that I, too, am a computer geek. Tom Jefferson would be proud.

Right on, Kirk Vistain

Alan De Smet at 11:06 Jul 4, 2012

I've updated the information through June, 2012 at

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