Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Two-thirds of Americans favor raising federal minimum wage to $15 an hour

Note: See this post for more recent findings on views of a $15 minimum wage.

By a wide margin, Americans say they favor raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. But there is a deep partisan divide in views of this proposed policy – a version of which recently passed the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, though it is unlikely to be taken up by the GOP-controlled Senate.

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, including 41% who say they strongly favor such an increase, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted this spring.

Large majority of Democrats favor increasing the federal minimum wage

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are largely united in backing a $15 an hour federal minimum wage: 86% favor this, including nearly six-in-ten (59%) who say they strongly support it.

Republican opinion on this issue is more divided, but a majority of Republicans and Republican leaners – 57% – oppose raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, including nearly three-in-ten (29%) who say they are strongly against it.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, though many states have higher minimum wages.

Large majorities of women, blacks and Hispanics favor raising the minimum wage

Majorities of women and men, whites, blacks and Hispanics favor increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, though there are demographic differences in how widespread support for this policy is.

Women are more likely than men to support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour (72% vs. 61%, respectively). About nine-in-ten black Americans (93%) support this increase – including 80% who express strong support – compared with about three-quarters of Hispanics (73%) and six-in-ten whites.

There is a stark ideological gap in support for a $15 federal minimum wage among Republicans. Conservative Republicans oppose an increase by more than two-to-one (69% vs. 30%), but a majority of moderate and liberal Republicans (59%) favor such an increase.

In contrast, there are more modest ideological differences on this issue among Democrats. Overwhelming majorities of both liberal Democrats (91%) and conservative and moderate Democrats (82%) favor raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but liberal Democrats are substantially more likely to say they strongly favor this policy (68% vs. 51%).

Majorities across all income levels favor a $15 federal minimum wage. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those with annual family incomes of less than $40,000 favor this increase, as does a narrower majority of those with family incomes of $75,000 or more (61%).

At least eight-in-ten Democrats across all income levels back this increase. In contrast, lower-income Republicans are more likely than those with higher incomes to support this proposal: 56% of Republicans with annual incomes of less than $40,000 say they favor raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, compared with 34% of Republicans with incomes of $75,000 or more.