Protocol - Minimum Wage

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This protocol is based on extracting state Minimum Wage (MW) data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. These web pages provide information on current minimum MWs by state, premium pay (over the employee’s regular pay) and changes in MW over time.

Specific Instructions

Investigators should use the most up-to-date MW data available, as MWs change over time. Since there is a period between passage of an MW law and when the law becomes effective, investigators should pay attention to the implementation date.

This protocol applies to adults ages 20 and older. Federal rules allow employers to pay an MW of not less than $4.25 an hour to employees who are under 20 years of age during the first 90 consecutive calendar days after initial employment. Once the individual turns 20, their pay must be raised to no less than the applicable MW. This may create issues for adults who are 18 or 19; thus, some analyses are restricted to adults 20 years of age or older.




The State Minimum Wage Laws (https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/state) include the minimum wage for each U.S. state and territory that functions under U.S. federal law, including premium pay after designated hours. If a state does not have a minimum wage law, then employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must pay the current federal minimum wage.  

State minimum wage laws can be assessed by dichotomous and continuous measures. In a dichotomous measure, states with a minimum wage greater than the federal minimum wage are coded as 1, and states with a minimum wage at or below the federal amount are coded as 0. The portion of the state year where the minimum wage is higher than the federal amount is used if the state’s minimum wage was not higher than the federal amount for the entire year. Another dichotomous measure may be created to identify whether a state ever had a minimum wage higher than the federal amount, with a 1 representing that they did, and a 0 that they did not. The 2 variables may be multiplied together to create an interaction term, measuring the effect of having a state minimum wage higher than the federal amount.

The continuous variable measures the effective state minimum wage per hour subtracted from the federal rate per hour. If states had >1 minimum wage amount in 1 year, the weighted average for the state minimum wage is used.

A table of states with Greater than federal minimum wage (MW), Equals federal MW of $7.25, and No MW Required, can be viewed at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/mw-consolidated.

A history of “Changes in Basic Minimum Wages in Non-Farm Employment Under State Law: Selected Years 1968 to 2021” can be accessed at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/state/minimum-wage/history.

Personnel and Training Required

Knowledge of U.S. Department of Labor data products and websites

Equipment Needs

Access to a desktop or laptop computer with internet access

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Secondary Data Analysis


Adult, Senior


Not applicable; derived from publicly available data

Selection Rationale

The U.S. Department of Labor provides national and state minimum wage information that is publicly available and easy to access.



Derived Variables


Process and Review

Not applicable

Protocol Name from Source

U.S. Department of Labor, State Minimum Wage Laws, 2022


Merrill-Francis, M., Vernick, J. S., McGinty, E. E., & Pollack Porter, K. M. (2022). Association between fatal occupational injuries and state minimum-wage laws, 2003-2017. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 62(6), 878-884. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2021.09.022

Wage and Hour Division. (2022, January). State Minimum Wage Laws. U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/minimum-wage/state

General References

Avila, C. J., & Frakt, A. B. (2021). Raising the minimum wage and public health. JAMA Health Forum, 2(1), e201587. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamahealthforum.2020.1587

Buszkiewicz, J. H., Hill, H. D., & Otten, J. J. (2021). Association of state minimum wage rates and health in working-age adults using the National Health Interview Survey. American Journal of Epidemiology, 190(1), 21-30. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwaa018

Kuehn, David. (2014). The importance of study design in the minimum-wage debate (Issue Brief #384). Economic Policy Institute. https://www.epi.org/publication/importance-study-design-minimum-wage-debate/

Leigh, J. Paul, & Du, Juan. (2018, October 4). Effects of minimum wages on population health. Health Policy Brief. Health Affairs. https://doi.org/10.1377/hpb20180622.107025 

Neumark, D., & Wascher, W. (2006). Minimum wages and employment: A review of evidence from the new minimum wage research. Working Papers 060708, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2007. https://ideas.repec.org/p/irv/wpaper/060708.html

Paul Leigh, J., Leigh, W. A., & Du, J. (2019). Minimum wages and public health: A literature review. Preventive Medicine, 118(122-134). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.10.005 

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX290901050000 What is the actual minimum wage? N/A
PX290901040000 Did the state have more than one minimum more
wage within a year? show less
PX290901030200 Did the state ever have a minimum wage more
higher than the federal minimum wage? show less
PX290901030100 Is the state's minimum wage higher or lower more
than the federal minimum wage? show less
PX290901020000 Was a dichotomous or continuous measure used more
to assess the state minimum wage law? show less
PX290901010000 State N/A
Structural Social Determinants of Health
Measure Name

Minimum Wage

Release Date

December 14, 2022


Minimum Wage is the lowest hourly rate an employer can legally pay workers.


Minimum Wage (MW) provides a guaranteed minimum hourly pay, mandated at the state level. Research suggests that an MW reduces poverty rates. It can be used to look at individuals in one state and to compare communities or populations. It can also be used longitudinally to look at changes over time. This measure can help identify the MW in specific states and identify which states do not have an MW.


Living wage, nonexempt employee, Fair Labor Standard Act, exempt employee, justified wage, income, hourly wage, U.S. Department of Labor, SES Measures (income, education, occupation), work characteristics

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
290901 Minimum Wage

There are no publications listed for this protocol.