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The Black Women’s Pay Gap by the Numbers

August 7 was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. That means Black women had to work all of 2017 and until this day in 2018 to catch up with what white men earned in 2017 alone. Get the facts about the pay gap and its impact on Black women and their families.

See the impact of the pay gap on Black women and their families

On average, Black women in the U.S. are paid 38% less than white men and 21% less than white women.1

Any way you look at it, there’s a pay gap for Black women.

Even when you control for factors like education, experience, location, and occupation, the pay gap still exists.5 And the gap actually widens for Black women with more education.6

The pay gap starts early.

As early as age 16, Black women are paid less than white men—and the gap only grows from there.

2018 Black Women’s Equal Pay Survey

72%

When presented with information that Black women on average are paid 38% less than white men, 72% of Americans think it’s not fair.7

The gap hurts women and families.

Lower earnings for Black women means less money for their families, especially since more than 80% of Black mothers are the main breadwinners for their households. When they’re paid less, it impacts their ability to buy groceries, pay for childcare, afford rent and tuition…all the costs that go into supporting a family.8

2018 Black Women’s Equal Pay Survey

85%

85% of Americans think it would be a major problem or crisis if they earned 40% less.9

If we paid black women fairly… …the average Black woman would earn almost $870,000 more in the course of her career.10

If we paid black women fairly… …each woman’s extra annual earnings would pay for more than 3 years of groceries.11

#38PercentCounts

Throughout 2018, we’re partnering with businesses to highlight the unfairness of the pay gap to consumers making everyday purchases. On Latina Equal Pay Day on November 1, we’ll do the same to raise awareness of the 46% pay gap Latinas face.12

Learn more
  • Adidas
  • Lyft
  • Procter and Gamble
  • Reebok

Black women face biases for being women and for being people of color. One place where we see that double effect is in the 38% pay gap.

—Rachel Thomas, president of LeanIn.Org

Learn more about the unique challenges Black women face in our Women in the Workplace report.

Stories from women and their families

In partnership with P&G, we asked real women and their families about the impact of the pay gap.

Lean In Circle member Nkosa explains why closing the pay gap is the right thing to do.
Watch real women explain the pay gaps for all women, Black women, and Latinas.
Lean In community member Gloria shares why it’s important to close the pay gap for her, her wife, and their daughter.

Footnotes

  1. Ariane Hegewisch and Emma Williams-Baron, “The Gender Wage Gap: 2016; Earnings Differences by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity,” IWPR #C459 (September 2017), https://iwpr.org/publications/gender-wage-gap-2016-earnings-differences-gender-race-ethnicity/. Black women are paid $0.625 for every $1 that white men earn, leading to a pay gap for Black women of 37.5%.
  2. SurveyMonkey and Lean In conducted two online polls among a national sample of adults in the U.S. age 18 and older. The first was conducted June 29 – July 4, 2018 among 2,950 adults and the second was conducted July 13–18, 2018 among 4,217 adults. The modeled error estimate for both surveys is +/- 2 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age eighteen and over. Learn more.
  3. Ibid. 45% of hiring managers reported that they are unaware of the gap.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Economic Policy Institute, “Black women have to work 7 months into 2017 to be paid the same as white men in 2016” (July 28, 2017), https://www.epi.org/blog/black-women-have-to-work-7-months-into-2017-to-be-paid-the-same-as-white-men-in-2016/.
  6. AAUW, The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap (Fall 2017), http://www.aauw.org/aauw_check/pdf_download/show_pdf.php?file=The-Simple-Truth; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Weekly and hourly earnings data from the Current Population Survey” (July 2018), https://data.bls.gov/PDQWeb/le.
  7. SurveyMonkey/Lean In poll, June 29-July 4, 2018.
  8. National Partnership for Women & Families, “Black Women and the Wage Gap” (April 2018), http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/fair-pay/african-american-women-wage-gap.pdf
  9. SurveyMonkey/Lean In online poll conducted March 22–27, 2018, among a national sample of 7,461 adults, including 4,928 who are employed. The modeled error estimate is +/-1.5 percentage points among the full sample. Data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. Learn more.
  10. National Women’s Law Center, “The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State” (April 2018), https://nwlc.org/resources/the-lifetime-wage-gap-state-by-state/.
  11. National Partnership for Women & Families, “Black Women and the Wage Gap” (April 2018), http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/fair-pay/african-american-women-wage-gap.pdf; National Women’s Law Center, “The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State” (April 2018), https://nwlc.org/resources/the-lifetime-wage-gap-state-by-state/
  12. Ariane Hegewisch and Emma Williams-Baron, “The Gender Wage Gap: 2016; Earnings Differences by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity,” IWPR #C459 (September 2017), https://iwpr.org/publications/gender-wage-gap-2016-earnings-differences-gender-race-ethnicity/. Black women are paid $0.625 for every $1 that white men earn, leading to a pay gap for Black women of 37.5%.