Characteristics of Low-wage Workers and Their Labor Market Experiences: Research Brief. Definition of Low-Wage Worker

10/26/2004

The research was based on data from the 1996 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which provides longitudinal data from 1996 to early 2000. The primary approach for defining low-wage workers was to use the hourly wage at which a full-time worker would have annual earnings below poverty for a family of four. Assuming a full-time worker works 2,080 hours per year, the low-wage cutoff was set at $7.50 in 1996, $7.72 in 1997, $7.91 in 1998, $8.03 in 1999, and $8.20 in 2000.

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