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Why Minimum Wage Is Not Enough in the City of New York – Research Guider

The paper 'Why Minimum Wage Is Not Enough in the City of New York?' is a good example of a research paper on social science.
The minimum wage is the least amount of pay that is legally allowed to an organization, company or an employer, in general, to pay his/her workers. In the United States of America, there are two governmental bodies, which can set the minimum wage. The Federal Government is the main one as it sets the Federal Minimum Wage. The second body is the respective state governments, which are allowed by law to set the State Minimum Wage. The State Minimum Wage is specific to each state; however, it is benchmarked against the Federal Minimum Wage. The benchmarking means that the State Minimum Wage cannot be lower than the Federal Minimum Wage. This research paper focuses on the people who are working and living in the City of New York on minimum wage. In order to show that the minimum wage is not adequate in New York, this research will look into the lives of Eduardo Shoy and Shenita Simon. Eduardo Shoy is a 58-year-old man who works as a delivery man for the fast-food chains Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Pizza Hut. He also moonlights as a forklift operator at Kennedy International Airport (JFK) (Feurer, 2013). Shenita Simon is a 25-year-old shift supervisor at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) (Simon, 2013).

Currently, the minimum wage in the City of New York is set at $7.25 per hour. The minimum wage in New York is similar to the one established by the Federal Government, which means that it is the lowest legal minimum accepted in the United States of America. However, Kavoussi (2013) points out that this is not sufficient for any New Yorker even those who live alone. His claims are based on the Living Wage Calculator, which shows that a single parent with one child should be earning at least $23.58 per hour (Kavoussi, 2013). Eduardo Shoy lives alone in a house that he bought together with his wife (Feurer, 2013). Soy works every day as a deliveryman for two fast-food restaurants; Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut. In his work as a deliveryman, Shoy is paid the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. She's monthly bills include utilities, rent, car lease and insurance premiums for his car and his children’s cars (Feurer, 2013). Due to the low pay as a deliveryman and high needs of his family, he decided to take up a second job at JFK, which earns him $13 an hour. By observing Shoy’s daily struggles in life, it becomes evident that even though one might live alone in the City of New York, they will still find it difficult to live on the minimum wage. As such, they would be forced to take up two jobs in order to stay afloat. The minimum wage job as a deliveryman is unable to give Shoy the financial muscle to live in New York and at the same time support his family who lives in Pennsylvania.

It is an open secret even among the huge corporations that a minimum wage cannot sustain a person let alone living on it and supporting a family. For instance, the labor union organizers published a sample budget that McDonald’s had given its employees. The contentious area was the two columns of Monthly Net Income. The inclusion of the two columns clearly shows the admission by the fast food outlet that it expects its workers to have at least one other source of income apart from the one they hold at the firm (Feurer, 2013).

According to the data at Spot Light on Poverty and Opportunity (n.d.), 18.7% of New Yorkers work in low-wage jobs. Shoy and Simon belong in this category. This group is characterized by low purchasing power, poverty, and it generally receives federal assistance. The federal assistance may include food stamps (1,123,000), Medicaid (2,757,215), adult and children welfare (401, 234), and childcare subsidies (72,500 families) (Spot Light on Poverty and Opportunity, n.d.). On the other hand, Shenita Simon is facing a slightly different scenario. Simon is living with her family of seven members; her husband, brother, mother and three children. Simon’s husband was recently laid off which left her to shoulder the burden of taking care of the large family with a minimum wage salary (Simon, 2013). From the interview, it is evident that Simon finds it difficult to cater for the large family. Although she is paid weekly, a huge chunk of her money is used to pay off the debt she accrued the week before. She clearly confesses that the reason her children eat three meals in a day is because of the school feeding program. The absence of the school feeding program would mean that her children would only get one meal in a day that she can afford. Simon falls under 45% of the residents of New York, who rent their apartment albeit a heavily subsidized public housing (Spot Light on Poverty and Opportunity, n.d.). Sarah, Simon’s youngest child who is eight months old, receives $200 per month for her basic needs from the federal program Women, Infants, and Children (WICS). Simon’s participation in this program makes her part of the 513,299 women, infants, and children under the WICS program. Due to the limited amount of money that she earns, Simon’s family members and her children cannot afford transportation. It forces her children to walk for 45 minutes every day on their way to and from school.

Minimum wage is not enough for people who are supporting others or have families in the City of New York. This statement is evident from the cases of Eduardo Shoy and Shenita Simon respectively. Though Shoy stays alone at his home in New York, he finds it difficult to support himself and his family, which stays in Pennsylvania. He is forced to work two jobs in order to meet his financial obligations. Eduardo Shoy’s story is one example of how a person getting minimum wage can supplement their income. Shenita Simon has only one job. She depends on the federal government program to take care of some of her living expenses. Simon’s way is the second example of how one can live on a minimum wage. As such, it can be seen that the minimum wage is not enough in New York to support families and others. A person who has to support their families or others must take up two jobs or rely on the federal program to support their family or other people.


Feurer, A. (2013, 28 November). Life on $7.25 an Hour: Older Workers Are Increasingly Entering Fast-Food Industry. Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/nyregion/older-workers-are-increasingly-entering-fast-food-industry.html?_r=0

Kavoussi, B. (2013, March 18). $9 Minimum Wage Would Fall Far Short Of Living Wage In New York: Analysis. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/new-york-minimum-wage_n_2902766.html

SIMON, S. (2013, November 4). One NYC family’s struggle to survive on a fast-food salary. (H. SREENIVASAN, Interviewer) Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/nation-july-dec13-minimumwage_11-04/

SpotLight on Poverty and Opportunity. (n.d.). New York. Retrieved from Spot Light on Poverty and Opportunity: http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/map-detail.aspx?state=new-york

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