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What a Minimum Wage Increase Means in Chicago

Who’s affected, how, and what Rahm’s plan to up the minimum wage to $13 an hour really means.

Chicago fast-food workers rally at Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s for $15 minimum wage and right to form a union.   Photo: Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune

The push to raise the minimum wage in Chicago is picking up momentum, thanks to Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to hike the rate from $8.25 to $13 an hour by 2018. Before they vote, aldermen are likely to wait and see how Illinois residents weigh in on November 4 on a nonbinding referendum to up the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. Here’s a breakdown of who would be affected by these hikes, statewide and locally, and what the increases would mean.


Number of Illinois workers who
make minimum wage

That is 6.7% of the state workforce

Chicagoans who earn less than $13 an hour



of Chicagoans approve raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.


of all Illinois residents approve.

Minimum wage across the United States
(and what it could be by 2018)

How long you must work to afford a monthly CTA pass

… at $8.25 an hour

12 hours and 15 minutes

… and at $13 an hour.

7 hours and 34 minutes

How annual pay at minimum wage stacks up against other earnings in town

NOTES: San Diego’s City Council approved the increase, but at presstime the bill still needed the mayor’s approval. Bus operator pay is for starting full-time drivers, at $31.70 per hour. Alderman salary is for incoming aldermen. SOURCES: Cities of Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, and Houston, Heartland Alliance, Crain’s-Ipsos February 20 poll.


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