Turns out it’s 42% of all U.S. workers.
Ever since fast-food workers walked off their jobs in New York City in November 2012 to demand $15 per hour, that dollar figure has been the rallying cry of the low-wage worker movement.
The campaign has had some notable wins lately, as Wal-Mart, Target, T.J.Maxx, and McDonald’s announced increases to their minimum wages.
Despite of all the talk about $15 per hour, there hasn’t been a lot of conversation about who precisely earns less than that figure.
The National Employment Law Project, an organization that supports raising the minimum wage and the unionization of workers, aims to change that on Monday, with the release of a new study that paints a more detailed picture of the worker who takes home less than $15 per hour—or $31,000 annually for full-time work. Here’s what NELP discovered:
1. They’re more common than you might think
workers by demographic group
It’s easy to assume that workers earning less than $15 is a small subset of the workforce. But, in fact, 42% of all workers in the United States fit this bill. Just over half of all African Americans earn less than $15 an hour, and nearly 60% of Latinos make that hourly sum.
2. They are disproportionately female, African American, or Latino
demographics by race and age
Even though women make up less than half of the overall U.S. workforce, they constitute 55% of all sub-$15 per hour wage earners. You find a similar misalignment for African American workers, who constitute almost 12% of the workforce but 15% of earners who make less than $15. Latino Americans are overrepresented in the sub-$15 category as well; they account for 23% of sub-$15 per hour earners in the U.S. but only 17% of all workers.
Workers who earn less than $15 per hour are also older than you might expect: 46.3% of them are 35 or older.
Read more at FORTUNE