Some psychologists argue
that the field must take a stand
for minimum-wage reform.
By Kirsten Weir
Imagine working 40 hours per week, every single week of the year, and not making enough money to provide your family with essentials such as food, shelter and transportation.
According to a report by the Pew Research Center, more than
1. 5 million hourly workers in the United States earn the federal
minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. More than three-quarters of
them are over age 20 (Pew Research Center, 2014). A full-time
worker making the federal minimum wage earns $15,080 per
year — an annual income that sits below the federal poverty
level of $16,020 for a family of two.
That’s a hardship for the families living on such meager
incomes. But it should also be of concern to the field of
psychology, says Laura Smith, PhD, of Teachers College,
Columbia University. She recently published a call to arms for
her field, making the case that minimum wage reform deserves
more attention from the psychological community (American
“Psychologists broadly are concerned with human well-being. From that point of view, it has always been natural for
psychologists to address not just psychopathological conditions,