Black Women's Equal Pay Day: Black Women Only Earn 61 Cents for Every Dollar Earned by White Men

After working all of 2018 and through much of August of 2019, on Thursday, black women finally earned as much as their white, male counterparts did in the 2018 calendar year. With black women who work full-time earning just $0.61 for every dollar made by white men, black women must work almost 20 months to receive the same amount that non-Hispanic white men do over 12 months.

Over a 40-year career, that means that black women make $946,120 less than white men, according to the National Women's Law Center. Black women's equal pay day, which fell on August 22 this year, emphasizes the racial and gender disparities in U.S. worker pay.

"As experts have noted, it is important to understand that this race-gender wage gap consists of more than simply adding the separate numbers associated with each gap. Rather, it reflects a unique effect that results from how the combination of race and gender are perceived together," Jocelyn Frye, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, wrote in a piece published on Thursday.

In some states, the pay gap for black women is even larger than $0.61 for every $1 made by white non-Hispanic men. For example, in Louisiana, the wage gap for black women working full time is as much as $0.48 for every dollar earned by white male counterparts, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families.

A standard 1040 form (online version) with some analog cash from a piggy bank. Over a 40-year career, that means that black women make $946,120 less than white men, according to the National Women's Law Center. Will & Deni McIntyre/Contributor/ Getty Images

When controlling for factors such as education and experience, which can affect pay, U.S. women make $0.98 for every dollar a man makes.

But when the total median for each gender is compared without taking into account such controls, women make just $0.79 for every $1 earned by men. Some industries have wider pay gaps. Women in finance and insurance have the largest uncontrolled pay gap among all industries surveyed by PayScale. Women who work in the arts experience the smallest gender pay gap.

But these figures obscure disparities across race. Asian women have the smallest uncontrolled gender pay gap, earning $0.93 for every $1 earned by white men. White women earn $0.80 for every dollar white men earn. But black, Hispanic and American Indian and Alaskan Native women make just $0.74 for every dollar earned by white males, according to PayScale.

In addition to earning less than men, women of color face a stark opportunity gap and have significantly lower chances of progressing to elevated leadership positions than white men. Women of color are also less likely to progress to higher-level positions than white women.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the gender pay gap for different races and ethnicities in the U.S.

gender ethnicity pay gap Statista
Gender pay gap by race and ethnicity in the U.S. Statista

This article was updated to include an infographic.