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The U.S. Minimum Wage in the Year You Were Born

GOBankingRates Logo By Michelle Stoffel of GOBankingRates | Slide 1 of 81: <p>Minimum-wage workers have pushed to increase their rates in walkouts across the country. The federal minimum wage has been at $7.25 for the past nine years, but rates are changing at the state level. </p><p>Nineteen states raised their minimum wages in early 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures<strong>. </strong>As of July 1, Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. also hiked rates for their lowest-paid workers, though the federal minimum wage rate is unlikely to change soon. </p><p>You might assume that today's minimum wage is much higher than it was when you were born. Thanks to inflation, that isn't necessarily the case. Let's say you were born in 1985, when the minimum wage was $3.35. That translates to $7.77 in 2017 buying power.</p><p>Although the federal minimum wage has increased steadily since its introduction in 1938, inflation erodes the value of the dollar over time, leaving the real value of what a minimum wage worker earns over time unsteady — it’s been as low as $4.08 and as high as $11.48 in 2017 dollars — especially during eras when the minimum wage stagnates.</p><p>We used inflation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the value of every year's wage in today's dollars. Read on to find out <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/state-minimum-wage-increases-across-america-2017/">how the minimum wage has changed</a> — or stayed the same — since you were born.</p>

Minimum-wage workers have pushed to increase their rates in walkouts across the country. The federal minimum wage has been at $7.25 for the past nine years, but rates are changing at the state level.

Nineteen states raised their minimum wages in early 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. As of July 1, Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C. also hiked rates for their lowest-paid workers, though the federal minimum wage rate is unlikely to change soon.

You might assume that today's minimum wage is much higher than it was when you were born. Thanks to inflation, that isn't necessarily the case. Let's say you were born in 1985, when the minimum wage was $3.35. That translates to $7.77 in 2017 buying power.

Although the federal minimum wage has increased steadily since its introduction in 1938, inflation erodes the value of the dollar over time, leaving the real value of what a minimum wage worker earns over time unsteady — it’s been as low as $4.08 and as high as $11.48 in 2017 dollars — especially during eras when the minimum wage stagnates.

We used inflation data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the value of every year's wage in today's dollars. Read on to find out how the minimum wage has changed — or stayed the same — since you were born.

© a katz / Shutterstock.com

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