Small Business Owners Agree Minimum Wage Is Not a “Living Wage;” Split on Whether It Should Increase

WASHINGTON and NEW YORKDec. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Small business owners across the U.S. are split when it comes to raising the minimum wage, according to a new survey from OnDeck®, the leader in online lending to small business and SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. Results show that 43% of small business owners support a minimum wage increase, while 39% do not support an increase. Additionally, the data highlights that 73% of small business owners agree that the minimum wage in their state is not a “living wage.”

Small business owners are split on their state’s minimum wage:

  • 44% of business owners believe the minimum wage is too low.
  • 40% believe it is about right.
  • 16% believe it is too high

A majority of small business owners believe a minimum wage increase would significantly impact their small business:

  • 55% of business owners believe a higher minimum wage would hurt their business; 16% believe a minimum wage increase would positively affect their business.
  • 44% responded that an increased minimum wage would result in cut backs to investments in their business; 33% said they would not have to cut back as a result of an increased minimum wage.
  • 37% said they would raise other employee wages proportionately, while 34% said they would not, and 30% were not sure.

A majority of small business owners agree the minimum wage is not a “living wage”:

  • 73% of business owners do not believe the minimum wage is a living wage.
  • 11% believe it is a living wage.

“This data shows that the majority of small businesses have a very small staff, and that a majority (58%) already pay their staff more than the minimum wage,” said SCORE CEO Bridget Weston. “For the majority of small business owners, the question is not whether the minimum wage is appropriate at a state level; rather, it’s how they will respond to an increase, whether that means adjusting other employees’ wages proportionately, or investing differently in their business.”

Download the infographic for more information on small business minimum wage trends. Survey results were collected from 897 small business owner respondents via email in Nov. 2019.

Since 1964, SCORE has helped more than 11 million aspiring entrepreneurs. Each year, SCORE’s 11,000 volunteer business experts provide free small business mentoring sessions, workshops and educational services to clients in 300 chapters nationwide. In 2018, SCORE volunteers helped to create 32,387 new businesses and 103,300 non-owner jobs.

For more information about starting or operating a small business, or on volunteering with SCORE, visit SCORE at Follow @SCOREMentors on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for the latest small business news and updates.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

About OnDeck
OnDeck is the proven leader in transparent and responsible online lending to small business. Founded in 2006, the company pioneered the use of data analytics and digital technology to make real-time lending decisions and deliver capital rapidly to small businesses online. Today, OnDeck offers a wide range of term loans and lines of credit customized for the needs of small business owners. The company also offers bank clients a comprehensive technology and services platform that facilitates online lending to small business customers through ODX, a wholly-owned subsidiary. OnDeck has provided over $12 billion in loans to customers in 700 different industries across the United StatesCanada and Australia. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is rated 5 stars by Trustpilot. For more information, visit

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SCORE Media Contact:
Betsy Dougert 

OnDeck Media Contact:
Jim Larkin
(203) 526-7457

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(646) 668-3582