A couple of days ago I posted an infographic on Instagram that broke down the wages of varying ethnicities and genders in the United States in comparison to white men. The reactions to it were expected. A bunch of angry white men leaving angry comments about the wage gap being a myth and a bunch of questions asking about the validity of the infographic. When I started to investigate the validity of said graphic and found that the information in it was true from this 2016 article in the Washington Post about a study from the Pew Research Center that reported on how Americans are paid based on race and gender.
According to the data in the report, the wage gap sure as hell exists. On average, women earn 79 cents to every dollar a man makes. According to economists, the gaps occurs due to the mix of discrimination, career decisions and “unconscious bias.” As a person, who was once told she wasn’t hired because she was “too sexy to deal with daily” I sure as hell can tell you about unconscious bias, but I digress.
Firstly, white men are used to create the baseline for the study because they dominate the workforce with 33 percent of jobs being taken by their demographic. However, this does not mean they’re the highest earning demographic, which is Asian men, who’re the only demographic to outpace the hourly earnings of white guys at $24 dollars an hour.
Since 1980, the gap between men and women of all races has narrowed, which is nice, but also if you start at nothing, of course anything upward of nothing will look better. Of course, this is in part due to the fact that Asian and white women have narrowed the gap by 22 cents, going from 60 cents to 82 cents from 1980 to 2015, respectively. While black and Hispanic women, have made significantly less progress with black women closing the gap by 9 cents going from 56 cents in 1980 to 65 cents in 2015. In terms of closing the wage gap, Hispanic women have struggled the most, narrowing the gap by a paltry 5 cents, making 58 cents to the dollar and landing them in last place.
Asian men out earn everyone, taking home, on average 17% more than their white counterparts. Although, generally women are underpaid, white and Asian women outearn black and Hispanic men. More interesting, is that black men have kept the same exact gap since 1980, holding at 73 cents to every dollar a white man makes. While Hispanic men have gone from earning 71 cents in 1980 to 69 cents in 2015.
The study says this is because black and Hispanic men are less educated and generally do not earn a college degree. What’s even more interesting is, according to the data, of men 25 and older, about 53% of Asian men hold a college degree while only about 36% of their white counterparts have one. Which leads me to ask, why are so many uneducated white men making so much money? Because, from the data provided in the study, when a black or Hispanic man does not have a college degree it seems to be a hell of a lot harder for them to advance.
I am not a statistician, but the information honestly lines up with the infographic on Instagram. I’m going to guess, in the age of Donald Trump these numbers will see some staggering reversals, but I hope I am wrong.