How the U.S. Government Is Making Washington, D.C. the Capitol of Inequality

| July 21st, 2015 |

While Washington, DC is one of the most economically successful cities in the nation, it is also one of the most economically unequal places to live and work in America. Federal contracting work contributes to the area’s wide income inequality.

Capitol of InequalityThis report finds that:

  • Nearly one-third of DC’s federal contract workers—24,500—earn less than $20 an hour, the living wage for a family of four. This means that many workers who live and work right here in the District—and whose jobs are created by the federal government—are struggling to make ends meet.
  • For example, nearly 9 in 10 federally contracted building and grounds cleaning and maintenance jobs pay less than the local area’s living wage, as do 85 percent of federal contract jobs for food preparation and service work.
  • Nearly half of all federally contracted food preparation and service workers make just $10.82 per hour, or $22,500 per year.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the income scale, many federal contract workers make well above the average wage. Some 12,600 federal contract employees in DC make over $120,000 per year.

Federal contract employees’ wages should be boosted so that these workers can adequately provide for their families. Specifically, the President can issue an Executive Order granting contracting preference to companies that pay at least the living wage for the local region.

This would not only improve the standard of living for some 24,500 workers in the District of Columbia, but will also help thousands more federal contract workers throughout the nation.

To read the full report, click here.