Highlights of the State Chart Book On Wages For Personal Care Aides, 2000-2010
In 2010, the national median hourly wage for Personal Care Aides was $9.44, down slightly from $9.46 the year before. This downward turn in PCA wages was the first year-to-year decline on record since the federal government began reporting these wage estimates in 1998. The national wage was pulled down by a drop in PCA wages in 17 states from 2009 to 2010.
Over the period 2000 to 2010, national median wages for Personal Care Aides (PCAs) increased by 26% or an average of 2.6% per year, from $7.50 to $9.44. However, after adjusting for inflation, real wages for these aides essentially remained unchanged.
In 2010, nominal median wages within the continental U.S. ranged from $8.14 in West Virginia to $12.53 in the District of Columbia; real median wages (in 2000 dollars) ranged from $6.41 to $10.14.
Over the 10-year period, 26 states showed a decline in real median wages for PCAs. Fourteen states saw real wages fall by 5% or more.
23 states and the District of Columbia showed an increase in real median wages received by PCAs over the period, indicating that these wages kept up with inflation. However, only 4 states showed an annual increase of at least 2%, suggesting the slow progress that states generally have made in improving the competitiveness of PCA wages in low-wage labor markets.
In 2010, no state reported a PCA wage above 250% of the Federal Poverty Level wage for a single individual ($13.03), a level that in many states approximates an economically self-sufficient wage for a single individual but one that likely is insufficient for an adult with dependent children.
In over two-thirds of states (34), average hourly wages for PCAs were below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line wage for individuals in one-person households working full time. Since the 200% poverty level is low enough to qualify households for many state and federal assistance programs, this means that in these states most PCAs, certainly those who work part time and have children, are earning near-poverty level wages.