Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What do Living Wage Cities Have in Common?

On Saturday, August 12, the there is a profile of me in the local Johnstown, PA newspaper (the Tribune Democrat) on my campaign for city council. I was hoping to push for a living wage ordinance for the city but the State of Pennsylvania, along with 24 other states, has a law preventing the city from raising it's minimum wage as the map from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows.  I thought I would take a look at the characteristics of the cities/counties that have passed these ordinances.


NELP came out with a list of cities and counties that have passed minimum wage laws above the state or federal minimum wage. There are 38 cities and or counties that have passed such laws.  17 of these entities are in California, five were in New Mexico, three were in Washington state, two were in Maine, Missouri (which now has a law forcing them to go back to the federal wage), Maryland, and Kentucky (where there are lawsuits challenging these laws). Alabama along with Missouri has a law preventing municipalities from passing these laws after at least one city has passed them.  

The first cities to pass such laws were San Francisco, CA ($12.25) and Santa Fe, NM ($10.84) in 2003.  San Francisco increased it's wage in 2014 to $15.00 to be fully implemented in 2018.  Mountain View,CA revised it's 2014 increase to $15/hour in 2015 also to be fully implemented in 2018.  The most recent city to pass such a law is Minneapolis, MN at $15/hour to be implemented this year.

There were ten cities with populations less than 100,000 in 2016 and there were four cities with populations less than 40,000 (SeaTac, WA, El Cerrito, CA, Emeryville, CA, and Bangor, ME).  Looking at which variables might predict the amount of the living wage ordinance above the federal minimum of $7.25/hr, there was a borderline significantly regression line with the city population in 2016.  



As an indicator of health of the city or county's economy I looked at the % change in the population from the last decennial census to the estimated population in 2016. Only three of the cites had a net loss of population:  St. Louis, MO (-2.47%), Bangor ME (-3.19%), and Birmingham, AL (0.04%).  St. Louis and Birmingham, AL are required by their states to go back to the federal minimum.  The slope of the regression line was significantly positive with an estimated $0.17 increase in the living wage ordinance for every 1% increase in the population change.  As can be seen in the chart above,  Emeryville, CA had the largest increase in population and one of the largest increases in the minimum wage to $15/hr. 

One can speculate as to the reasons for this relationship.  Are cities with a population increase more receptive to the idea of a living wage ordinance?  Are areas with shrinking populations, and shrinking economies, less receptive to a living wage?  Is there something about the states that have passed laws barring cities from raising their minimum wages that is different from more receptive states like California and New Mexico?

I don't have the answers to the above questions.  This analysis cannot answer the more fundamental question of what impact these laws have on job growth in these areas.  Two studies came out recently looking at the impact of Seattle's living wage ordinance.  One said it's having a positive impact, the other said it's negative.  While it's important to look at Seattle's experience most of the cities on this list are not like Seattle.  The city most similar to my hometown in population trends is Bangor, Maine.  Studying that city would be most relevant for policy makers here, if the state would let us have a living wage.


City
State
year passed
Year implemented
amount
population when passed
Current population
Pop Change
% pop Change
Lawsuit
State Law
Revised
Albuquerque, NM
NM
2012
2012
$8.75
545852
559277
13425
2.46
0
0
0
Bangor, ME
ME
2015
2019
$9.75
33039
31985
-1054
-3.19
0
0
0
Berkeley, CA
CA
2014
2016
$12.53
112580
121240
8660
7.69
0
0
0
Bernalillo County, NM
NM
2013
2013
$8.65
662564
676953
14389
2.17
0
0
0
Birmingham, AL
AL
2015
2017
$10.10
212237
212157
-80
-0.04
0
1
0
Chicago, IL
IL
2014
2019
$13.00
2695598
2704958
9360
0.35
0
0
0
El Cerrito, CA
CA
2015
2019
$15.00
23549
25400
1851
7.86
0
0
0
Emeryville, CA
CA
2015
2018
$15.00
10080
11671
1591
15.78
0
0
0
Johnson County, IA
IA
2015
2017
$10.10
130882
146547
15665
11.97
0
0
0
Kansas City, MO
MO
2015
2020
$13.00
459787
481420
21633
4.71
0
1
0
Las Cruces, NM
NM
2014
2019
$10.10
97618
101759
4141
4.24
0
0
0
Lexington, KY
KY
2015
2018
$10.10
295803
318449
22646
7.66
1
0
0
Long Beach, CA
CA
2015
2016
$11.00
462257
470130
7873
1.70
0
0
0
Los Angeles County, CA
CA
2015
2021
$15.00
9818605
10137915
319310
3.25
0
0
0
Los Angeles, CA
CA
2015
2020
$15.00
3792621
3976322
183701
4.84
0
0
0
Louisville, KY
KY
2014
2017
$9.00
597337
616261
18924
3.17
1
0
0
Minneapolis, MN
MN
2017
2017
$15.00
382578
413651
31073
8.12
0
0
0
Montgomery County, MD
MD
2013
2017
$11.50
971777
1043863
72086
7.42
0
0
0
Mountain View, CA
CA
2015
2018
$15.00
74066
80447
6381
8.62
0
0
1
Mountain View, CA
CA
2014
2014
$10.30
74066
80447
6381
8.62
0
0
0
Oakland, CA
CA
2014
2014
$12.25
390724
420005
29281
7.49
0
0
0
Palo Alto, CA
CA
2015
2016
$11.00
64403
67024
2621
4.07
0
0
0
Portland, ME
ME
2015
2017
$10.68
66194
66937
743
1.12
0
0
0
Prince Georges County, MD
MD
2013
2017
$11.50
863420
908049
44629
5.17
0
0
0
Richmond, CA
CA
2014
2018
$13.00
103701
109813
6112
5.89
0
0
0
Sacramento, CA
CA
2015
2020
$12.50
466488
495234
28746
6.16
0
0
0
San Diego, CA
CA
2014
2017
$11.50
1307402
1406630
99228
7.59
0
0
0
San Francisco, CA
CA
2014
2018
$15.00
805235
870887
65652
8.15
0
0
1
San Francisco, CA
CA
2003
2003
$12.25
776733
870887
94154
12.12
0
0
0
San Jose, CA
CA
2012
2012
$10.30
945942
1025350
79408
8.39
0
0
0
Santa Clara, CA
CA
2015
2016
$11.00
116468
125948
9480
8.14
0
0
0
Santa Fe County, NM
NM
2014
2014
$10.84
144170
148651
4481
3.11
0
0
0
Santa Fe, NM
NM
2003
2003
$10.84
61109
67947
6838
11.19
0
0
0
Santa Monica, CA
CA
2015
2020
$15.00
89736
92478
2742
3.06
0
0
0
SeaTac, WA
WA
2013
2013
$15.24
26909
28873
1964
7.30
0
0
0
Seattle, WA
WA
2014
2021
$15.00
608660
704352
95692
15.72
0
0
0
St. Louis, MO
MO
2015
2018
$11.00
319294
311404
-7890
-2.47
0
1
0
Sunnyvale, CA
CA
2014
2014
$10.30
140081
152771
12690
9.06
0
0
0
Tacoma, WA
WA
2015
2018
$12.00
198397
211277
12880
6.49
0
0
0
Washington, DC
DC
2013
2016
$11.50
601723
681170
79447
13.20
0
0
0
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