Researchers find connection between higher minimum wages, lower suicide rate

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A higher minimum wage during times of economic stress could lead to a lower suicide rate, researchers said.

In a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and first reported by ArsTechnica, researchers at Emory University found that raising the minimum wage appeared to be linked to a reduction in the suicide rate for Americans with a high school diploma or less.

The study’s measured effects were only noticed during times of economic stress, according to ArsTechnica, with researchers finding no significant link between the two figures during times of low unemployment (less than 4 percent).

“We estimated a six percent reduction in suicide for every dollar increase in the minimum wage among adults aged 18–64 years” for those with lower education levels, the study’s authors wrote.

According to the researchers, raising the federal minimum wage by just $1 ahead of the 2008 economic collapse could have prevented more than 13,000 suicides.

“Minimum wage increases appear to reduce the suicide rate among those with a high school education or less, and may reduce disparities between socioeconomic groups,” read the study’s conclusion.

Numerous Democratic candidates have campaigned on raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, a policy supported by the nationwide “Fight for $15” protest movement.


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