**Focus: Minimum wage | ***The Economist*

How do minimum wages compare across OECD countries (advanced industrial democracies)? Here’s a quick look.

Click through to for a link to the full *Economist* article on the subject.

A brief explanation on the numbers. The **median wage** is not the same as the average wage. The median is the exact statistical mid-point. So exactly half of a country’s population earns *more* than the median wage, and exactly half earns *less* than the median wage. What the graph is showing is the percentage of the median wage that someone working on minimum wage would earn.

In the US, that figure is currently 38.3% of the median wage. According to the Social Security Administration, the median wage in the US in 2011 was $26,965.43. So someone earning minimum wage would be earn $10,327.76 per year. (*Yes, this is estimated, since I don’t have access to the 2012 SSN median wage data. But the figure probably isn’t too far off.)

It’s also worth noting that the $10,327.76 figure is about a thousand dollars below the poverty line for a one-person household.