Poverty is a terrible condition affecting our citizens. But do you know which group is most affected by this problem? Single mothers. That is because single mothers often do not have anyone else to rely on to help support the family. Raising the minimum wage would give single mothers a chance to make a better life for themselves and their children without working day and night.
Nearly a third of households with single mothers live below the poverty line. Six percent of families with a mother and a father are below the poverty line, but nearly 45 percent of children who live with a single mother, live in poverty.
There would be a decrease in poverty among single mothers if the minimum wage was raised. The Raise the Wage Act would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 per hour by 2020. That means 30 percent of working women—roughly 20 million—would get a raise. In my opinion, this would go a long way toward helping single mothers rise above the poverty level. Although many business owners are against raising the minimum wage, their arguments are not supported by the evidence.
One of the arguments by people who oppose raising the minimum wage is that it would cause the price of goods, for example groceries, to go up so that a single mother would really end up no better off. This argument, however, is not supported by the facts. In theory, raising the minimum wage forces business owners to raise the prices of their goods or services, thereby causing inflation. In actual practice, however, it is not so simple since wages are only one part of the cost of a product or service paid for by consumers. A higher minimum wage can be offset by heightened productivity by workers or trimming down a company’s manpower.
Another argument often made by people who oppose raising the minimum wage is that it would cause small business owners to go out of business. This, of course, would not help single mothers at all because they would lose their jobs. According to Ed Rensi, formerly of McDonald’s, a higher minimum wage would not only kill existing jobs but also result in closing a substantial number of small businesses, from 15-20%. The majority of data gathered on this subject however does not support that raising the minimum wage will cause job loss: A review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernable effect on employment. Minimum wage increases have little to no negative effect on employment as shown in independent studies. Academic research has shown that higher wages sharply reduce employee turnover, which can reduce employment and training costs for businesses. Since the evidence does not support the theory that raising the minimum wage will cause businesses to close their doors, there seems to be more positives associated with raising the minimum wage than there are negatives.
If we truly want to see a change, we should contact our elected officials and ask them to support the Raise the Wage Act so that all our citizens, and especially our single mothers, can escape the poverty level and make a better life for themselves and their children.