New data shows that Arkansas has lowest-paid workforce in the country

Stephanie Leguichard

A new Oxfam report from March of this year investigated a contentious question -- are most Americans paid adequately to maintain a decent standard of living?

To answer this question, Oxfam collected data regarding the average hourly wage that workers are paid in each state in the US.

Arkansas's average hourly wages fell at the lower end of the spectrum. Specifically, 39.6% of Arkansan workers earn less than $12 per hour, and a whopping 54.1% earn less than $15 per hour.

These figures are drastically lower than the equivalent percentages for the nation as a whole -- for the entire country's workforce, 31.3% earn less than $12 per hour, and 43.7% earn less than $15 per hour.

The report also found stark disparities in wages related to gender and race. In Arkansas in particular, 60.5% of women earn less than $15 per hour, while 48.1% of men do so. Similarly, while 46.0% of women earn less than $12 per hour, only 33.5% of men do. And in terms of race, 50.2% of white Arkansans are paid less than $15 per hour, while as many as 74.7% of Hispanic, 63.9% of Black, and 41.1% of Asian Arkansans earn less than $15 per hour.

Notably, the report found that the highest-earning workforce in the country resides in Washington State, where only 14.2% of workers are paid less than $15 per hour.

A tempestuous debate regarding workers' rights has polarized the nation in recent decades. While many on the left argue that the working class is a beleaguered force who are systematically bilked of their rightfully earned wages, others on the right contend that the working class is a collection of bumbling plebeians who have earned their low status through willful indolence and degeneracy.

This report will hopefully bring insight to the ongoing debate by illuminating the vast geographical variations in compensation.

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Writer, editor, and leftist activist with writing in The Correspondent, Wear Your Voice, Adios Barbie, etc. Endlessly fascinated by the complexities of human minds and cultures. Currently completing my MA in Anthropology.


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