News » Unda' the Rotunda

Idaho Joins Southern States in High Percentage of Workers Making Minimum Wage or Less


  • Yuri Minaev/123RF

Of the approximate 458,000 Idahoans who earn hourly wages, 15,000 made the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour in 2015 and another 6,000 made less, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Taken in total, those 21,000 minimum-or-less workers represent about 4.6 percent of all hourly wage earners in Idaho. The nationwide average is 3.3 percent. Of those Idahoans making the minimum wage or less in 2015, 61 percent were women.

Several attempts have stalled at the Idaho Legislature to adjust the Gem State's minimum wage. Meanwhile, Idaho ranks ninth highest in the U.S. when in comes to states where workers made the minimum wage or less. Every other state in the top 10 for low-wage workers are in the South. In order, they are: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Idaho and Georgia.

The states with the lowest percentages of hourly paid workers earning the minimum wage or less were in the West, including Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington (all were about 1 percent).