Why do black men earn less?

Andrea Orr March 3, 2011

EPI’s new paper, Whiter Jobs, Higher wages, shows that many black workers earn considerably less than their white counterparts. In fact, in 2008 black men earned only 71% of what white men earned. The median hourly wage for black male full-time workers was $14.90; for comparable white workers it was $20.84.

Of course, a true wage comparison should account for multiple factors, from level of education to chosen field of study. EPI recently published two reports and on February 28 hosted the discussion Understanding the low wages of black workers, in an attempt to untangle the wage discrepancy and all the factors that may contribute to it.

EPI’s research shows that educational and other differences can explain some, but not all of the discrepancy. “At the end of the day, it turns out that being black matters,” said Algernon Austin, Director of EPI’s program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy.

Darrick Hamilton, who co-authored the Whiter Jobs, Higher Wages paper with EPI’s Austin and Duke University Professor William Darity, suggested at the February 28 event that “occupational segregation” plays a large role in the wage gap.  “Nearly 90% of U.S. occupations can be categorized as racially segregated,” Hamilton said, citing data from the Whiter Jobs paper. The paper shows that, in occupations where black men are underrepresented, the average annual salary is $50,533; in occupations where black men are overrepresented, the average annual salary is $37,005, more than $13,000 less.

via Why do black men earn less?.


Regrettably, these issues are never discussed in full context.  Unions level the playing field for Blacks and minorities – a proven fact!

Though I am no exception to the rule, my level of education did allow me to make a living in the upper income brackets.  Education is important to the equalization of the races, but the political atmosphere prohibits this ever occurring – education is one of the main areas being targeted for cuts on both the Federal and State levels by politicians that don’t see the ramifications!

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