The federal minimum wage doesn't buy what it used to buy. Since the 1960s, increases in the cost of housing, food and other basic goods have far outstripped increases passed by Congress. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage now ($7.25) is $3.44 (or 47%) less than it was back in 1968 when its purchasing power was at its peak.
Though 29 states require higher than federal rates, with Washington upping it the most ($9.47), in much of the country the minimum is really misnamed. It's not so much a minimum as a token gesture. As you see from the maps here, in every county the minimum wage is far below what it takes to run a household these days.
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