Income disparity among races and between genders prevails as one of the main challenges facing American society today. This disparity is determined by various factors such as occupation, education levels and location of individuals. In the US, this is especially pronounced among minority groups who earn less on average compared to their counterparts. Women of all races earn a lower income than that of their male counterparts. However, the income gap has significantly reduced from the 1980s and many structural factors are now favorable across the divide.
Aside from the aforementioned factors, discrimination has also been long-time cited as a driving force behind the wage gap in the United States. It is because of this that the studying of the wage gap is an important tool in analyzing the state of racial equality as well as equality of the sexes across the country.
According to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), Asian women in the United States make 85 cents to every dollar American men make. This gap amounts to a difference of $8,733 a year. Although this gap is generally smaller than the gap experienced by women from other groups, some subgroups within Asian Americans earn less than others. For example, the NWLC reported that Burmese women in particular make less than half of what white, non-Hispanic men make.
Although white women experience a lesser disparity when compared to women from other ethnic groups, the gap is still substantial. According to the US Census Bureau, white women earn 75% of that of their male counterparts. In fact, black women experience wage equality in greater amounts when compared to white women, than black men do compared to white men. This stands in contrast to historical wages reported in the 1970s, when white women and black women reportedly earned similar incomes.
Hispanic women in the United States are generally only paid 54 cents to every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, according to a report released by the National Partnership for Women & Families in 2017. The report also outlined that close to three million families in the United States are headed by Hispanic women - 38% of whom live in poverty.
Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Females
According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), 40.5% of households headed by single Pacific Islander women lived in poverty in 2013. 10.9% were unemployed. Additionally, in 2015, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) reported that Native Hawaiian women saw lower median annual earnings when compared with both non-Hispanic white and Asian American women. According to the NWLC, Fijian women notably made only 45% of the salary for white males.
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act forbade employers from discriminating by race. Although it would be the first step in narrowing the black-white American wage gap, it is a gap that still exists. It was reported that this gap even grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s before ultimately beginning to decrease in the 1990s. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average black male income was $23,738 in 2009 compared with a median of $36,785 for non-Hispanic males. Although the gap experienced is not as wide as the one seen by black women, it is still notable with discrimination said to be a driving factor.
According to the Pew Institute, in 2015 the average Hispanic earned $14 an hour while white men earned $21. It is reported that the wage gap has not narrowed much since it was first reported in the 1980s. In 1980, Hispanic men earned 69% the amount of white men. In 2015, it was 71%.
There is a strong disparity between the income earned by black women in the United States when compared to their white, male counterparts. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wage gap has grown from 6% in 1979 to 19% in 2015. The Guardian reports that while the median household income for white Americans was $63,000 in 2015, for black Americans it was 70% less, at $36,898.
Native American & Alaskan Males
Unfortunately, the Native American and Alaskan male population has been less studied than other populations in the United States. According to the American Community Survey from 2010, the median household income for all Native Americans was $38,806, compared with the population average of $51,914.
Native American & Alaskan Females
Again like their male counterparts, the wage gap between Native American and Alaskan females has also been seldom studied. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Native women in the United States earn only 58 cents to every dollar made by white male Americans.