The Daily Q: How many New York City workers earn minimum wage?

How many New York City workers earn minimum wage?

A bill backed by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would increase the minimum wage in New York from $7.25 to $8.50, The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports this morning. The state last hiked the minimum wage hike in 2009. Since then, the number of minimum wage workers statewide swelled from 6,000 people in 2008 to 91,000 last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The New York World would like to know: How many minimum wage workers live in New York City?

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What we found

Based on a statistical sampling from the 2010 American Community Survey, more than 54,000 people living in the five boroughs worked full-time, year round and made minimum wage. The U.S. Census Bureau classified a full-time worker as someone working at least 35 hours a week. This translates to an annual salary of about $13,000 to $15,000.

Staten Island had the least number of full time workers earning a minimum wage salary, with 1,860 people, while Queens topped the list with about 17,000.

The number of full-time workers who reported earning less than minimum wage for full-time, year round work is even higher. Citywide, based on the Census sample, more than 135,000 people made less than $12,500 a year. Brooklyn had the most people living below minimum wage, with about 45,500 people. Queens was a close second with just over 37,000. These figures do not account for part-time workers earning minimum wage.

In a report last year, the Fiscal Policy Institute found that over the past 30 years, a full-time minimum wage worker in New York has never made enough to support a family of three above the poverty line. Last year, a full-time minimum wage worker made 16 percent less than the federal poverty threshold for a three-person household.

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