Back in 1979, white Americans earned an average hourly real wage of $19.62 compared to $16.07 for blacks, making for an 18.1 percent wage gap. While the gap narrowed in the late 1990s, it began to expand again in 2000.
According to new research by the Economic Policy Institute, in 2015, the racial wage gap stood at 26.7 percent, with whites taking home an hourly real wage of $25.22 on average, compared to $18.49 for blacks. The gap is especially wide for young black women and black male college graduates, both of whom trail their white counterparts’ earnings by a significant distance.
EPI’s report cited discrimination and growing earnings inequality in general as the primary reasons for America’s huge racial gap in pay. It recommended implementing a range of measures to close the gap, including the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws in the workplace, holding a summit to address the issue of black college graduate’s salaries and raising the federal minimum wage in order to address the broader problem of stagnant pay levels.
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