(CNN) - In the new year, the minimum wage is set to go up across nearly half of all states and 48 cities and counties in the United States.
On New Year's Day, 20 states and 26 cities and counties, mostly in California, will raise the minimum wages. Four more states and 23 more cities and counties will join later in the year, according to the advocacy group National Employment Law Project.
The minimum wage will reach or surpass $15 an hour in 32 total jurisdictions throughout the year.
“These increases will put much-needed money into the hands of the lowest-paid workers, many of whom struggle with high and ever-increasing costs of living,” wrote researcher and policy analyst Yannet Lathrop in a blog post for NELP.
Raising the minimum wage has been a hotly contested issue.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Raise the Wage Act to increase the national standard minimum wage to $15 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour. The bill, however, failed in the Senate.
Opponents of raising the minimum wage say the result could be fewer jobs. Some have backed a $12 an hour minimum wage instead to lessen the impact on the job market.
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