A new report by the U.S. Census Bureau found that even as the national poverty rate declines, it remains more than two points higher than before the start of the Great Recession. But it gets worse. The report also found that children under the age of 6 whose mothers are single live in poverty at more than five times the rate for children whose parents are married. If there was ever a time to raise the minimum wage, it is now.
I believe that nobody who works for a living should ever have to raise a child in poverty. That is why I recently introduced an ordinance in the City Council to raise the minimum wage to $13 per hour in Chicago by 2018 and tie it to inflation. That way, as the cost of essentials goes up, so will the family’s income. That is also why I recently signed an executive order to require all city contractors to pay their employees no less than a $13-per-hour minimum wage.
This is a critical issue for families, but it is especially critical for women. More than half of all minimum-wage earners in Chicago are women. Many of them are single mothers, who in my view, already have the hardest job there is: raising a child on their own. Even in families where both parents work, women usually shoulder more child-care responsibilities.
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