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Minimum Wage Going Up in Oregon and Washington; Idaho Stuck at $7.25

"40 percent [of minimum wage earners] say it's the sole source of income in their household. Twenty-eight percent have children. Fifty-six percent of them are women, and often single."

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The minimum wage is scheduled to go up once more in Washington, Oregon and seven other states this coming week. But in Idaho, the minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour, tied to the federal minimum (17 states have the same minimum wage rate as the federal rate).

After the new wages go into effect with the new year, 29 states and the District of Columbia will see minimum wages higher than the federal minimum. Washington will have the highest minimum wage in the nation when it starts paying $9.47 per hour. Oregon's minimum wage will be $9.25 per hour.

In 2014, voters in four states (Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota) approved ballot measures to boost the minimum wage. In seven states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia) legislatures approved increases to the minimum wage. In nine states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Washington) the minimum wage is automatically adjusted annually by state law.

A bill to raise Idaho's minimum wage surfaced at the Statehouse in the 2014 legislative session, but the measure, introduced by Ketchum Democratic Sen. Michelle Stennett, died in committee.

"Many think [minimum wage earners] are part-time, they live with their parents or are in after-school jobs," Stennett said at the time. "But 40 percent [of minimum wage earners] say it's the sole source of income in their household. Twenty-eight percent have children. Fifty-six percent of them are women, and often single."

An August 2014 report titled "Families Out of Balance" indicated that Idaho's so-called "living wage"—earnings per hour necessary to meet basic needs—is $14.57 for a single adult. The living wage for a single adult with two children is $24.12 per hour.