Increases in minimum wage may not have anticipated positive health effects, study shows

Coins spilled from jar

Results of a new University of Washington study shine a spotlight on segments of the population that need to be studied in relation to rising minimum wages.Josh Appel/Unsplash

In the decade-long absence of federal action, many states, counties and cities have increased minimum wages to help improve the lives of workers. While political debate over these efforts has long been contentious, scientific research on the health effects of raising the minimum wage is relatively new.

Some studies have found higher minimum wages associated with positive health outcomes, with little evidence that minimum wages harm health. However, a new study by researchers at the University of Washington found that increases in minimum wages primarily had no effect on health overall. However, they did find a mix of negative and positive effects associated with the health of certain groups of working-age people.

The UW study, published Feb. 10 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looked at more than 131,000 adults who provided information to the federal National Health Interview Survey between 2008 and 2015. The subjects were 25 to 64 years old and were either employed or unemployed but looking for work.

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