As the new year approaches, workers in 22 states can anticipate a boost in their paychecks. Beginning January 1, these states are set to increase their minimum wage, benefiting an estimated 9.9 million workers. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has calculated that this will result in an additional $6.95 billion in wages. Moreover, 38 cities and counties are expected to exceed their state’s minimum wage requirements, potentially affecting a larger group of workers.

Significant increases in 15 states and 54 cities and counties are the result of minimum wage laws mandating automatic adjustments based on the cost of living, reports the National Employment Law Project (NELP). These adjustments are a direct outcome of persistent efforts by workers, according to NELP.

DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE WAGE INCREASE

EPI’s analysis reveals that over half of the workers benefiting from these increases (57.9%) are women. Approximately a quarter are working parents, affecting the lives of 5.6 million children. Notably, about one in five of these workers currently live below the poverty line, while nearly half had incomes in 2023 below twice the poverty level.

Geographically, the majority of the wage increases will be seen in California, Hawaii, and New York, states known for their high cost of living. Hawaii is set for the most significant raise – a $2 increase to $14 per hour. Conversely, Michigan’s increase is the smallest, just 23 cents, bringing its minimum wage to $10.33 per hour.

EPI has developed an interactive map detailing each state’s increase, categorizing them by magnitude and type, and their yearly impact.

States including Maine, Vermont, Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Ohio, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Maryland, Delaware, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii are all preparing for wage increases. Additionally, ballot campaigns in states like Massachusetts and Boulder County, Colorado, are advocating for further increases, aiming for a $20-plus minimum wage in response to high living costs.

The current low unemployment rates in the U.S., a post-pandemic phenomenon, mean these increases will impact fewer workers than in the past. Companies have been offering higher wages to attract employees in this competitive labor market.

Despite these upcoming changes, there are still 17.6 million U.S. workers earning below $15 per hour. Almost half of these workers are employed in the 20 states where the minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour.