© National Committee
on Pay Equity
Pay Equity

Women of Color in the Workplace

The wage gap is most severe for women of color. Consider these facts about the paychecks of black and Hispanic women in the workplace:

  • Of full-time workers, black women's median weekly earnings ($429) were only 64% of the earnings of white men ($669) in the year 2000.
  • In one year, the average black woman earns approximately $12,000 less than the average white man does. Over a 35-year career, this adds up to $420,000!
  • Among full-time, year-round workers, black women with Bachelors' degrees make only $1,545 more per year than white males who have only completed high school.
  • Black women account for 30% of all female-headed families in the U.S. They have a median income of $18,244 annually, while families headed by white males (no wife present) have a median income of $39,240. (Notes: 1-Income is more inclusive than earnings. 2-The term "female-headed families" does not necessarily include the presence of children.)
  • According to the Census Bureau, in 2000, the median full-time earnings for Hispanic women were $20,527 only 52% of the median earnings of white men ($37,339).
  • In one year, the average Hispanic woman working full-time earns $17,837 less than the average white man does. Over a 30-year career, that adds up to $510,000!
  • The median income of a female Hispanic householder ($20,765) is only 46% of the incomes of single white male householders ($44,988). (Note: Income is more inclusive than earnings.)
  • Hispanic women with a high school diploma earn $22,469. That is 33% less than white men with the same level of education.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.

Additional notes:
1) Hispanic workers can be of any race.
2) Individual earnings data for Asian/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans are available, yet they are from a very small sample and thus are not as reliable. NCPE encourages advocates interested in additional data on Asian/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans to notify their Congressional representatives and encourage support for research in this area.

Race and Pay Equity Policy Brief