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Census Data Shows No Progress Made on Closing Gender Pay Gap

Between 2018 and 2019, there has been no progress toward closing the gender pay gap according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently released data. Still, the average working woman earns $0.82 for every dollar a white man earns.

When broken down by race, the gaps widen further for many women of color. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) breaks down the pay gap by racial and ethnic background:

  • In 2018, Asian women — who statistically make the closest to white men’s earnings — earned $0.90 for every dollar a white man earned, and in 2019, that gap widened to $0.87.
  • White women remained at the average $0.79 between 2018 and 2019.
  • Black women saw the pay gap close by just one cent, from $0.62 in 2018 to $0.63 in 2019.
  • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women’s earnings improved by two cents from $0.61 in 2018 and $0.63 in 2019.
  • Native American women made $0.57 in 2018 and $0.60 in 2019.
  • Latina women still make the least out of every racial group, with $0.57 in 2018 and $0.60 in 2019.

According to the Census data, the 2019 median income for men who work full time year-round is $57,456. For women, that number drops to $47,299. Poverty rates are also connected to race and gender, according to the NWLC’s analysis; 18% of Black women and 15% of Latina women were in poverty last year compared to 6% of white, non-Hispanic men.

Related: Student Debt a Large Contributor to Racial Wealth Gap, Study Finds

More than three in 10 woman-headed households lived in poverty in 2019. Nearly six out of 10 poor children come from families that are headed by women.

The stakes are even higher during the pandemic; according to the NWLC, more than one in three Black women are essential workers on the frontlines. Many are in low-paying jobs where they risk further exposure to COVID-19. Additionally, data from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has shown that race is an important determinant in understanding who dies from the virus. The average county-level death rate from COVID-19 in the U.S. has been 12 per 100,000 people. The rate doubles for every ten percentage point increase in the Black population for that county, the research revealed.

Related: MIT Study Finds Race an Important Factor in Determining Deaths from COVID-19

“It’s outrageous that Black women and Latinas only scored a single penny raise last year,” Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at the NWLC said in a statement.At this moment of a pandemic and a recession, it’s especially bitter news for these women who are shortchanged the most. One third of Black women are essential workers who are keeping the country going, but the wage gap robs them of thousands of dollars each year. And over a 40-year career, many women of color stand to lose more than a million dollars. Imagine if those lost wages were available to them now. This is life-changing money — and women and their families can’t afford inaction on equal pay any longer.”

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