Study: Gender Wage Gap Even Worse for Black Women

By Chris Hoenig


Photo by Shutterstock

Several studies have shown the wide gender wage gap in this country, but a new study reveals that race creates an even bigger wage gap between men and women.

While women, on average, make $0.77 for every $1 that men make, Black women average just $0.64 for every $1 made by white men, according to the study by the National Women’s Law Center. That adds up to about $18,650 a year based on a 40-hour work week and means they have to work nearly 19 months to make what white men do in 12.

There are a variety of factors that play into the wage gap for Black women: education, age and even the type of industry all determine just how much less they make compared to white men working similar jobs.

While the gender wage gap clearly exists for new grads, it’s even more pronounced for Black women regardless of education level. Black women with no high-school degree average under $21,000 a year, while white men with the same educational background make almost $34,000, putting the woman’s salary at about $0.61 on the dollar. Even with a master’s degree, Black women make only $0.64 of what white men do: $55,000 versus $86,000. The average salary for a Black woman with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree ($50,207) is comparable to that of a white man doing similar work who took college classes but never graduated ($50,570).

As Black women get older, the wage gap only widens. From ages 1524, Black women make about $0.82 on every dollar that white men that age make, a figure that drops to $0.67 on the dollar from ages 2544. Black women have to work 62 years to earn what white men make in 40, a difference of nearly $750,000.

No matter what the occupation normally pays, or if it’s a field dominated by women, Black women see the effects of the wage gap. Black women physicians and surgeons earn almost half ($0.52 on the dollar) of what white male doctors make. In examples of mid-wage industries, Black women make $0.79 for every $1.00 white men make in customer service (female-dominated), and $0.86 on the dollar in construction (male-dominated). Among mostly female, low-wage personal-care aides, Black women earn just $0.85 for every $1 their white male counterparts make.

Even though Black women make up just 6 percent of the nation’s workforce, they make up 14 percent of workers in the 10 lowest-paying jobs in the country.

Louisiana and Wyoming have the largest wage gaps for Black womenmore than $0.50 for every dollar. Even though Washington, D.C., has the smallest overall gender wage gap (less than $0.10), the wage gap for Black women is the fourth worst in the country: more than $0.44.

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