The wage gap between race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was to shrink after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But a recent study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco says that is not the case. The wage gap is actually growing over time.
Notice the years between 2005-2016 in the above chart are the greatest difference between whites and blacks based on having a diploma or a Bachelor’s + degree. And having a college degree was less impactful between the races between 1979-1991 than any of the other years.
How productive a worker is what determines the person’s pay – or so the economic theory goes. Productivity can be measured indirectly by looking at characteristics like age, education, and industry/occupation. Also, whether an employee is part-time and the part of the country they live in is also a factor in the study. There are a few other factors, but those are even harder to measure.
They found that, since 1979, the average earnings of black men had slipped from about 80 percent of white male earnings ($15 per hour vs. $19 per hour in inflation-corrected dollars) to about 70 percent of white male earnings ($18 per hour vs. $25 per hour) in 2016. Although black wages had increased, the gain lagged significantly behind that of whites.
And for black women, a similar pattern emerged.
For black women, the trend was similar, though the gaps were smaller. From 1979 to 2016, black women’s wages fell from roughly 95 percent of white women’s wages ($11 vs. $12 an hour) to 82 percent ($16 vs. $20).