Common Good Iowa

CGI News: Longer wait, bigger need on minimum wage

August 11, 2023



Proposed $17 U.S. minimum wage would boost 387,000 Iowa workers

DES MOINES, Iowa (Aug. 11, 2023) — Iowa has locked in its low $7.25 minimum wage so long that a proposed federal increase closer to a living wage would benefit an estimated 387,000 workers.

A bill proposed in Congress last month would phase in a $17 minimum wage by 2028 from the current $7.25 federal minimum wage.

"Iowa has waited way too long to act — over 15 years — so it should come as no surprise that a meaningful increase would benefit more than 1 in 4 workers in the state," said Mike Owen, deputy director of the nonpartisan Common Good Iowa.

"And with 20 states still at $7.25 either on their own like Iowa, or depending on federal law, it's not surprising that pressure for action is building in Congress."

New analysis from the Economic Policy Institute ( examines the impacts nationally and state by state of the $17 wage called for in the Raise the Wage Act of 2023.

EPI found that by 2028, a $17 minimum wage would benefit 387,000 Iowa workers —231,000 directly as their wages rise to the new minimum, and 156,000 more who would already be above $17 but who would benefit as pay scales adjust.

The EPI analysis also found that most Iowa beneficiaries would be over age 25, and most would be women, with about half working full time and significant shares being parents and/or people of color.

Common Good Iowa research has shown a $7.25 hourly wage is far below what it takes just to get by for many families. (See the Cost of Living in Iowa,

The U.S. minimum wage has held at $7.25 since July 2009. Iowa's minimum at that level took effect in January 2008 as part of a two-step increase passed in the 2007 legislative session and signed by then-Gov. Chet Culver.

While Iowa led most of its neighbors when it last acted, five bordering states are now at or above $10.50 an hour.

South Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska make annual adjustments, and Illinois has scheduled moves to $14 in 2024 and $15 in 2025. Missouri, which has raised its wage annually since 2017, will have a referendum next year on expanding it further.

Thirty states, Washington, D.C., and many localities set minimum wages above the federal level. Locally set minimums in five Iowa counties were repealed by the Legislature in 2017.

Common Good Iowa is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy analysis and advocacy organization based in Des Moines. For more information, see

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CONTACT: Mike Owen, deputy director of Common Good Iowa,

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