Increasing the Minimum Wage for a Dollar Can Reduce Suicide Rates, Claims a Study

Even though the federal minimum wage has been stagnant for a decade, there have been efforts to increase it in some cities and states.

But, the advantages of raising the wage won’t just help people afford their rent- in fact, it can help keep them out of prison and reduce children mistreatment.

According to other findings, it may help reduce the suicide rates as well.

According to a recently published study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, only a dollar increase of the minimum wage led to a 3.5 to 6 percent reduction in the rates of suicide among Americans with high school education or less.

The head of the study, John Kaufman, points out that the potential for the increase to avert suicides is the most potent in an area with a lot of unemployment.

A Dollar of Increase in Minimum Wage Can Lower Suicide Rates

For the purposes of the study, the researchers looked at data from 1999 to 2017 for all 60 states and Washington DC for suicide rates, difference between effective state and federal minimum hourly wage, unemployment data, and changes in minimum wages across states.

The rates of suicide have been growing in the US and 25 states had a rise of 30 percent of their suicide rates in the above-mentioned period.

Kaufman, a doctoral student at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health wanted to check if financial stress led to this rise.

They had two major questions about their research- how does minimum wage impact the rates of suicide and how does the connection between minimum wage and suicide differ on the basis of the rate of unemployment.

During the same period, the researchers found that there was no effect between the increase of the minimum wage and the rates of suicide in people with college education or higher, which further strengthens their findings.

Kaufman explains that people with higher education have a lesser chance of working at minimum or close to minimum wage and are less likely to have a job affected by the rise of the minimum wage unlike those with high school diploma or less that are more likely to work at such a place.

There’s Place for Improvement, Claim the Researchers

According to Kaufman, makers of policies have the power to improve things. And, they may help improve people’s mental health.

Today, most of the talk about better mental health is focused on the individual and what they can do for a stronger mental health; however, there are societal measures which can help enhance people’s well being, claims Kaufman.

Laws like the increase of the minimum wage are such a societal measure, he further adds.  





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