The graph shows the annual wage generated by the federal minimum wage between 1978 and 2009. The annual income is based on a 40-hour week and a 52-week year. The graph also shows the poverty threshold—the income level determined by the U.S. Census Bureau below which income is insufficient to support a family or household—for two categories of families between 1980 and 2007. Use the graph to answer the questions that follow.
- A person earning minimum wage is probably working at a job at what skill level?
- Describe the level of the minimum wage over the years. What can you conclude from comparing it with the two poverty thresholds?
- In 2007, the poverty threshold for a family of four, two of whom were related children, was $21, 027. At the same time, the poverty threshold for a family of four, three of whom were related children, was $21,100. For each of the preceding years, the difference between these two thresholds was less than $100. What conclusions can you draw from this?
- 4. Do you think the minimum wage should be increased, remain at its 2009 level,
or be eliminated? Give two reasons in favor of, and two reasons opposed to, your response, using this graph, the text, your experience, conversations with classmates who earn minimum wage, and reliable Web sites.