Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 in 2025 would eliminate decades of growing wage inequality between the lowest-paid and the typical U.S. worker: Federal minimum wage as a share of the national full-time, full-year median wage, actual, and projected under the Raise the Wage Act of 2021

Year Historical share Projected share, no annual real wage growth Projected share, 0.5% annual real wage growth
1968 53.5%
1969 49.3%
1970 46.4%
1971 44.7%
1972 42.4%
1973 39.0%
1974 44.9%
1975 44.1%
1976 45.0%
1977 42.6%
1978 45.9%
1979 45.9%
1980 44.7%
1981 44.7%
1982 42.0%
1983 40.3%
1984 38.3%
1985 36.4%
1986 35.5%
1987 35.0%
1988 33.5%
1989 32.0%
1990 35.2%
1991 38.0%
1992 36.7%
1993 36.4%
1994 35.5%
1995 35.2%
1996 38.0%
1997 39.3%
1998 37.7%
1999 36.1%
2000 35.4%
2001 33.9%
2002 33.1%
2003 32.4%
2004 31.6%
2005 30.9%
2006 30.5%
2007 33.0%
2008 35.3%
2009 37.8%
2010 37.7%
2011 37.6%
2012 37.5%
2013 36.8%
2014 36.5%
2015 35.3%
2016 34.0%
2017 33.4%
2018 32.2%
2019 30.3% 30.3% 30.3%
2020 29.9% 29.8%
2021 38.7% 38.4%
2022 44.3% 43.7%
2023 49.4% 48.5%
2024 54.2% 52.9%
2025 56.8% 55.2%

Notes: Inflation measured using the CPI-U-RS and CBO CPI-U projections.

Source: EPI analysis of the Fair Labor Standards Act and amendments, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, and Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata.

View the underlying data on epi.org.