Health care or child care? Food or gas? Rent or electric bill? Tens of millions of US households face those impossible choices every month because they don’t earn enough money to pay for basic needs. The federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour won’t allow a worker to afford the average price of a modest one-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country. Little wonder that activists have shifted their emphasis from a minimum wage to a living wage that actually covers the cost of essentials. The health impacts are potent: Pay workers enough and smoking levels go down, birth weight goes up, rates of depression and child neglect fall. Should government and business put their muscle behind a living wage?
- 2019 Health