Research brief demonstrates the measurable benefits to public health and health equity that would result from a $5 an hour wage increase at Walmart.
Walmart associates have been demanding a $15 base wage as well as commensurate wage increases for longer term employees for over a decade. In June 2021, Walmart executives refused a call from shareholders to raise starting associate wages to at least $15 per hour. As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart can afford to pay associates more—especially as the company’s heirs’ wealth ballooned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of associates still earn below $15 per hour, and no associate has received the $5 an hour hazard pay that they have demanded throughout the pandemic.
This research brief looks at the massive benefits to public health and health equity that would result from a $5 an hour wage increase at America’s largest employer. The calculations derive from our application of peer-reviewed research studies and epidemiological population-level datasets to health indicators of interest. Specifically, we predict that a $5 an hour wage increase at Walmart would lead to:
An increase in the lifespan of associates by nearly 2 years
The prevention of more than 150 low birth weight births annually
An improvement in self-reported health status among associates
A reduction in mental health symptoms among associates
Health improvements that would benefit women associates and associates of color the most
The research tells a compelling story: Higher wages at Walmart translate to better health and quality of life. And importantly, these benefits would primarily accrue to women associates and associates of color at Walmart— a step toward gender and racial equity.
To learn more about this research, please contact Research Project Director Sukhdip Purewal Boparai at firstname.lastname@example.org