As the 113th Congress begins, a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data released today shows that an important constituency — Latinas — are suffering from a pervasive gender-based wage gap in the very states where the majority of them work. In the 20 states with the largest number of Latinas who work full time, year round, the wage gap ranges from 51 and 68 cents for every dollar paid to men in those states.
The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The state-specific findings for all 20 states can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/LatinaGap. (The National Partnership conducted a matching analysis for African American women in 20 states. It can be found here: www.NationalPartnership.org/AAGap.)
“Women of color are hard hit by a kind of perfect — and perfectly devastating — storm caused by discrimination, a struggling economy and the country’s failure to adopt family friendly workplace policies,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “These new data show that the wage gap is costing women of color thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could be spent on food, rent, health care and on meeting other fundamental needs for their families. It’s an unacceptable situation that should be a resounding wake-up call for lawmakers who have the power to do something about it.”
According to the new analysis:
- Among the 20 states with the largest populations of Latinas working full time, year round, the wage gap is most severe in New Jersey and Washington, where women are paid just 51 cents for every dollar paid to men in their states.
- Of these states, Texas and California have the largest populations of employed Latinas — and they are paid just 59 cents and 60 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to men in the states.
- Among the states analyzed, the wage gap is smallest for Latinas in Florida and New Mexico, but Latinas are still paid only 68 cents for every dollar paid to men in the two states amounting to more than $13,000 in lost income each year.
- African American women in Oregon, Maryland and Illinois are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to their states’ men.
- And, in New York, Latinas are paid 64 cents for every dollar paid to New York men.
- Wage gap information for each of the 20 states with the large numbers of employed Latinas can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/LatinaGap.
Nationally, Latinas are paid just 60 cents for every dollar paid to all men. That amounts to a loss of $19,182 each year. In general, women of color fare worse than women overall, who are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to all men — or $11,084 less per year.
According to the new analysis, eliminating the national wage gap would mean that Latinas and their families would have enough money for nearly three years’ worth of food, 5,743 gallons of gas, nearly two years of rent, more than one year of mortgage and utilities payments, or almost five years of family health insurance premiums. The loss of these basic necessities can be especially punishing during tough economic times, and it adds up over a lifetime.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protections for women. The U.S. House of Representatives passed it in 2009, and it came two votes short of moving forward in the Senate in 2010. Its introduction in the 113th Congress is expected early this year.
“Make no mistake about it, lawmakers have the power to help close this gap and promote economic security for women and families in their districts,” Ness continued. “Lawmakers who are serious about rebuilding our economy and valuing families will work to address discrimination and the punishing wag gap that results. Hardworking women deserve to be paid fairly no matter where they live or their race. By overwhelming majorities, Americans know this and support federal action. It’s time for Congress to act.”
The National Partnership’s findings for the 20 states with the largest numbers of employed Latinas and African American women can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/LatinaGap and www.NationalPartnership.org/AAGap. More information on the wage gap can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/FairPay.