According to just-released U.S. Census Bureau data, African American women and Latinas are suffering from significant gender-based wage gaps in the 20 states in which most are employed full time, year round. The analysis reveals that for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in these states, on average, African American women are paid from just 48 cents to 69 cents and Latinas from just 43 cents to 59 cents.
The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The state-specific findings for African American women and Latinas can be found at NationalPartnership.org/AAGap and NationalPartnership.org/LatinaGap. In September, the National Partnership released an analysis of the wage gap and its impact on women and their families nationally and in all 50 states. It is available at NationalPartnership.org/Gap.
“This new analysis emphasizes the severe and disproportionate financial pressure that the gender-based wage gap puts on African American women and Latinas in this country,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. “In the very states in which most African American women and Latinas work, the loss of critical income makes it much harder for them and their families to get ahead or even stay afloat. Pay inequities and wage discrimination perpetuate poverty, and women of color suffer the most.”
According to the analysis, among the 20 states with the largest populations of African American women working full time, year round, the wage gap is most severe in Louisiana. Of the 20 states analyzed, the cents-on-the-dollar wage gap is smallest for African American women in Maryland and Tennessee, yet African American women in these states are still paid, on average, nearly $21,600 and more than $14,400 less than white, non-Hispanic men in these states, respectively, each year.
The analysis also shows that Latinas in California and New Jersey are paid, on average, just 43 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in those states, which is the largest cents-on-the-dollar gap among the 20 states with the largest populations of Latinas working full time, year round. Latinas in Florida experience the smallest gap in the analysis, and yet they are paid, on average, more than $20,300 less than white, non-Hispanic men in the state annually.
Nationally, on average, African American women are paid 60 cents and Latinas are paid 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This amounts to annual losses of $21,937 and $25,177, respectively. The new analysis breaks down at the national level what that lost income could mean in terms of African American women’s and Latinas’ ability to purchase basic necessities for their families, such as food, housing, utilities and gas.
“The fact that women of color are losing tens of thousands of dollars each year that could go toward buying food and other essentials that their families and our economy depend on is appalling,” Ness continued, “and it weakens our communities and our country. Lawmakers at all levels need to step up to fix the problem by combating discrimination and adopting family friendly workplace policies. In Congress, passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act would be a long overdue place to start.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protections for women. In a 2014 nationwide survey, 62 percent of likely voters, 78 percent of African American voters and 66 percent of Latino voters said they supported the Paycheck Fairness Act.
The National Partnership’s state-based analysis of the wage gap for African American women and Latinas uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau released today. The full findings are available at NationalPartnership.org/AAGap and NationalPartnership.org/LatinaGap. More information on the wage gap nationally, for all women, and across all 50 states is available at NationalPartnership.org/Gap.