UMN Medical School Researchers to Evaluate the Impact of Minimum Wage Increase on Health

MINNEAPOLIS- April 2, 2018 - Minneapolis is the 40th jurisdiction to enact a minimum wage ordinance which increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour for the city’s employees over the next 5 years. University of Minnesota Medical School researchers will conduct a first of its kind study to test the effect of the increase on health. Researchers will follow a cohort of low-wage workers and analyze body weight, food purchases, food assistance program participation and a range of other financial and health behaviors. The cohort will be compared to 450 workers in a matched control community, Raleigh, NC, where there is no wage increase. Minneapolis’s baseline measurements must be completed before July 1, 2018, which is when the minimum wage is scheduled to increase.

“I think this is going to be a very rich data set which will yield some important and perhaps complex results. We want to make sure that the 5 years of data we are collecting are shared with stakeholders directly affected by the minimum wage ordinance,” said Caitlin Caspi, Assistant Professor, Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School, who is leading the study.

This study, made possible by National Institutes of Health and the National Institute Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease funding, is unlike anything done before. Many previous studies on minimum wage have focused on the economic effect, the effect on overall wages, on employment hours, on labor trends. This study follows people across all sectors of the low-wage workforce over time to see what happens in real time as the minimum wage increases.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis will conduct an economic analysis for the City of Minneapolis. Results from this health-focused study will be utilized in context with the economic analysis.

“Given the known connection between income and health, it could be that a policy like minimum wage has cascading effects on multiple health outcomes. Minneapolis is serving as a leader for other communities by looking carefully at the effects of the type of policy that is most likely to improve community health and to close socioeconomic and racial/ethnic gaps in health. This is a discussion that is happening not just in the state but across the county. It is also somewhat unique for a medical school to be leading this discussion,” said Caspi.

For more information on the study, or to find out how to participate, go to or call 612-624-7673.

About the University of Minnesota Medical School

The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. Visit to learn how the University of Minnesota is innovating all aspects of medicine.

Contact: Krystle Barbour,, 612-626-2767