Policy Perspectives Logo

The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


In 2022, 37.9 million people in the United States lived in poverty creating a poverty rate of 11.5 percent (US Census Bureau 2024). There are many efforts across the country to decrease poverty, one of them being increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This paper examines the history of the minimum wage in the United States, its erosion over the years, and its impact on poverty alleviation. Ultimately, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour will not decrease poverty in the United States due to average wage rates and insufficient targeting efforts. Reference: US Census Bureau. 2024. “National Poverty in America Awareness Month: January 2024.” Census.gov, January 4, 2024. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/poverty-awareness-month.html.

Full Text