The Racial Wage Gap Is Worse Now Than Almost 40 Years Ago

A group of three young women and two men of different ethnicities are in a business meeting in a modern day office. A bald man is talking to the group while there are laptops and documents on the table.

The Racial Wage Gap Is Worse Now Than Almost 40 Years Ago

Shocker: Racial discrimination is to blame.

Published September 22, 2016

Get ready to hear some more sad news that you probably already knew. A new report confirmed that the racial wealth gap between Blacks and whites is worse now than it was 40 years ago. 

According to the Economic Policy Institute, African-Americans today earn even less money than they did in 1979 in comparison to their white counterparts. Researchers from the think tank looked at wages between Black and white full-time workers who lived in the same areas with equivalent education and work history and found that just last year, Black men earned 22 percent less than white men. However in 1979, they only earned 16.9 percent less.

Looking at the intersections of race and gender, Black women earned 11.7 percent less than their white female peers in 2015, but only 4.5 percent less in 1979. The report also noted that Black women made a whopping 34.2 percent less than white men, despite having similar career backgrounds and degrees. Even worse, younger Black women ages 18-35 were deeply impacted, having their gap doubled in the past decade from earning 4.1 percent less than white women in 2000 to 10.8 percent less in 2015.


So what’s behind these steep gaps? The report’s authors point to racial discrimination.

"We find that discrimination is probably the largest single factor driving the change in the gap,” Valerie Rawlston Wilson, the director of the group’s Program on Race, recently told Reuters.

“It's just another way to sort of draw our attention that we don't live in a post-racial America,” she added.

And just like the rest of us, they believe what their findings represent is totally unacceptable.

“People should be troubled and really question why we would observe this pattern through 2015,” Wilson told the Huffington Post. “Is the American dream really obtainable ― equally obtainable for all people?” she asked.

No ma’am, it’s not. 

And while our household incomes may have gone up slightly over the years, looking at this study, it's no wonder why it will take African-American families 228 years to achieve the same wealth as whites given how much less we make. We shouldn't have to work harder and longer for financial equality. We just shouldn't.

Written by Kellee Terrell

(Photo: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images)


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