An article recently published in the American Journal of Public Health reports on an research to test the hypothesis “that increases in state-level minimum wages are associated with reduced rates of low birth weight infants and infant mortality.” The researchers used 30 years of minimum wage laws from each state to calculate the monthly minimum wage different between each state and the federal law. They used data from the National Vital Statistics System to create frequencies and rates of low birth weight and postneonatal mortality by state and month from 1980 to 2011.
Their analysis found that an increase of one dollar above the federal minimum wage results in a 1% to 2% decrease in the number infants born with a low birth weight (defined as <2500g at birth) and a 4%decrease in postneonatal mortality (defined as death from 28 to 364 days after birth). In demonstrating the impact of the increase in minimum wage on birth outcomes, the researchers state, “On the basis of the findings, if all states in 2014 had increased their minimum wages by 1 dollar there would likely have been an estimated 2790 fewer low birth weight births and 518 fewer postneonatal deaths for the year (p.e2).”
Download the full article from the American Public Health Association.