A closer look at low-wage workers across the country


In a recent report, we found 53 million Americans ages 18 to 64—44% of all workers—earn low hourly wages. Their median hourly earnings are $10.22, and for those working full time year-round, median annual earnings are about $24,000. (Read how we define low-wage workers.) But these top-line numbers mask substantial variation among the workers themselves and among different regions of the country.

To show the diversity among tens of millions of low-wage workers, and to better inform strategies to help improve their employment prospects, we divide them into nine mutually exclusive clusters defined by characteristics relevant to the labor market: age, education, and school enrollment. (Read more about the clusters beginning on page 13 of the report.)

Explore data for low-wage workers by metropolitan area

To zero in on differences by geography, we looked at the number and share of low-wage workers across 373 metropolitan areas, and found that depending on the region, 30% to 62% of the overall workforce earn low wages.

Use the interactive tool below to explore the characteristics of the low-wage workforce and the nine clusters of low-wage workers in metropolitan areas across the United States. To learn more about our analysis, please visit the original report’s landing page and our associated follow-up work.

Select a metro area

Percentage of the low-wage workforce by cluster

Tap a bar or use the buttons below to view cluster data