The Bureau of Labour Statistics tracks how many people earned the Federal minimum wage or less in each state in a given year, releasing those results in an annual report on minimum wage earners. The BLS’ report for 2015 was published recently.
The BLS bases its estimates on results from the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey run by the BLS and the Census Bureau that serves mainly as the basis for calculations of the unemployment rate, as well as providing a useful monthly snapshot of the US population.
That means that these estimates come from Americans’ own self-reported earnings on the survey, rather than from employers or government administrative sources.
The proportions are based on how many hourly workers in each state are paid at or below the Federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25 per hour. It’s worth noting that many states have their own minimum wages that are set higher than the Federal minimum, and that this is likely a big driver in the variation among the states.
Here’s the percentage of hourly-paid workers in each state who earned the Federal minimum wage or less in 2015, according to the BLS’ report.