Minimum-wage workers in 22 states — including N.J. and Del. — will be getting raises on Jan. 1

A person holds a sign at a rally to raise the federal minimum wage, on Capitol Hill in Washingtons

A person holds a sign at a rally to raise the federal minimum wage, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on May 4. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Minimum-wage workers in 22 states are going to see more money in their paychecks in the new year.

Those increases will affect an estimated 9.9 million workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which estimates that those bumped wages will add up to an additional $6.95 billion in pay.

In addition to those 22 states, 38 cities and counties will also increase their minimum wages above state minimums on Jan. 1.

According to the Department of Labor, 20 states will maintain the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

And according to EPI, of the 17.6 million workers earning less than $15 an hour, nearly half live in those 20 states that continue to stick to the federal minimum wage — which has not changed since 2009.

The cost of living, however, has skyrocketed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, a dollar in 2023 can buy roughly 70% of what it could buy in 2009.

And over the past year, inflation, and the rising cost of virtually everything — from housing to groceries — has forced many Americans to deplete their savings and go deeper into debt.

While the U.S. economy is proving to be robust in terms of retail sales, strong job numbers and a slowing rate of inflation, those who earn minimum wage have had a harder time paying rent, and buying essential household goods, including groceries.

According to EPI data, nearly 58% of workers who will benefit from the coming wage increase are women. Nine percent are Black and nearly 38% are Hispanic.

Over a quarter of those who will benefit from the pay increases are parents, which could make a significant difference in their standards of living, given that nearly 20% of the benefitting minimum wage workers currently have incomes below the poverty line.

Most recently, Senate Democrats introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2023 in July. If passed, it would gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $17 an hour by 2028.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal