The historical legacy of the racial wealth divide when combined with gender inequality makes women of color uniquely economically insecure. The greatest socio-economic disparities for most women of color are rooted in racial inequality, which is then worsened by smaller but significant gendered disparities. It follows that, within the most economically disenfranchised racial and ethnic groups, such as Blacks and Latinos, gendered disparities are usually much smaller than among Whites. African American women and Latinas experience greater gender economic equality within their racial and ethnic groups. However, this parity is more an equality in economic disenfranchisement than an equality in economic wellbeing.
Workforce and Income
According to the 2013 Current Population Survey, more African American and Latina women work in the service and production industries than White women, who tend to work in management. Service and production jobs generally offer lower wages and lack favorable tax codes or valuable government benefits that make it difficult for working women’s income to turn into wealth.
According to a 2014 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the weekly median income of women was $719, while men earned a median income of $871. As such, women’s median income was 83% of what men earned.
An even bigger disparity occurs when both race and gender are considered. Using weekly earnings, White women earned $734, Black women earned $611 and Latina women earned $548, meaning Black and Latina women earned 83% and 75%, respectively, of White women’s weekly earnings. Similarly, White men earned $897, Black men earned $680 and Latino men earned $616 on a weekly basis, showing that Black men made 76% of the weekly median income of White men and Latinos only made 69%. Latina and Black women only made 61% and 68% of White men’s earnings respectively. Conversely, Asian American women’s median weekly income was $841 a week, 115% of the pay of White women. Asian American men earned $1,080 weekly, 120% of the pay of White men.
According to a 2015 brief from Asset Funders Network Center, the “2013 Survey of Consumer Finances data” showed that the median wealth for single women was $3,210 while the median wealth for single men was $10,150. Single women held only 32 cents of wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by a single man.
There is a greater gender wealth inequality when looking across individual racial lines. Per the 2015 Asset Funders Network report, the median wealth of White single women was $15,640. Yet, the median wealth for single Black women and Latina women was $200 and $100 respectively, about one cent for every dollar of White women’s wealth. On the other hand, while White men’s wealth was $28,900; Latino men’s wealth was $950 and Black men’s wealth was $300, about three cents and one cent on every dollar of White men’s wealth, respectively.
According to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau, 16.9 million women and 11.7 million men lived in poverty. That is wholly 13.4% of women and 9.9% of men in the US. Disparities grow when race and gender are factored in: 9.6% of White women live in poverty while 20.9% of Latina women, 11.7% of Asian women and 23.1% of Black women do. For comparison, 7.1% of White men, 14.7% of Latino men and 18.2% of Black men lived in poverty in 2015 in the United States.
Per the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics for the last quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate was four percent for men and 3.8% for women. White men’s unemployment rate was 3.5% and White women’s rate an even lower 3.3%. During the last quarter of 2017, Asian American men and women had remarkably low unemployment rates of 2.8% and 2.7%, respectively. African Americans, on the other hand, had the highest unemployment levels: a total of seven percent, with African American men at 7.8% and African American women at 6.3%. Finally, Latinos are the only demographic group in which unemployment for men is lower than women, with the Latino unemployment rate at 4.3% and Latinas at 5.2%.
Despite generally having lower socio-economic indicators, women in all our demographic groups had substantially higher college graduation rates than men. According to the Fact Sheet from Center for Global Policy Solutions, in 2013, 62% of Asian American women and 53% of Asian American men had college degrees. Forty four percent of White women and 37% of White men earned their bachelor’s degree or higher in 2013. Women’s stronger academic achievement continues within the African American and Latino communities with 23.2% of Black women and 17.4% of Black men earning degrees, and 19% of Latinas and 13% of Latinos holding college degrees.
This snapshot was originally posted at Prosperity Now.