That’s the number of infant deaths that could have been prevented in 541 counties with large cities in 2018 if the minimum wage had been raised to $15 an hour, researchers at Syracuse University said in a study.
Just raising the minimum wage to $8.75 would have been enough to save 393 infants in these large metropolitan counties, the researchers found when they studied data on infant deaths, minimum wages, and the timing of state laws that overrode local minimum wage increases. The results were published in Preventive Medicine, an international scholarly journal.
The findings are one factor for lawmakers to consider when they vote on a bill introduced this week by Sen. Bernie Sanders and other Democratic politicians to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025.
The authors of this study did not investigate why increased minimum wage lowered infant mortality, but a 2016 study by a different group of researchers also found a link between infant health and minimum wage. In the non-peer-reviewed working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, mothers got better prenatal care and smoked less as the minimum wage went up, making their babies healthier.