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Black-white wage gaps expand with rising wage inequality

Source:Economic Policy Institute

The Economic Policy Institute recently released a report from EPI’s Valerie Wilson and William M Rodgers III of Rutgers titled, “Black-white wage gaps expand with rising wage inequality.” The report documents that since 1979 the black-white wage gap has widened, particularly among the college-educated.

In 1980, black men with a high school diploma earned 15 percent less than their white male counterparts, but black men with a bachelor’s degree or more earned 5 percent less than similar white men.

Fast forward to 2014 and the wage gap for high school-educated black men rose one point to 16 percent, but the gap for college-educated black men grew to an astounding 18 percent. And the gap is similar for black college-educated women, who earn approximately 12 percent less than white college-educated women.

One of the critical findings—after accounting for control factors such as education, differences between region, urban and rural labor markets, and work experience—is that discrimination is a driving force behind the black-white wage gap.

Read Jeff Guo’s recent piece for The Washington Post titled “Why black workers who do everything right still get left behind,” which cites Wilson and Rodgers’s report.

Over this same time period, wages have been flat for all low- and middle-income workers.