You are using an outdated browser.
For a better experience, please upgrade your browser here.

The Black Women’s Pay Gap by the Numbers

Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. That means Black women had to work all of 2018 and until this day in 2019 to catch up with what white men were paid in 2018 alone. Regardless of their occupation, level of education, or years of experience, Black women are still paid less than white men.1 Get the facts about the pay gap and its impact on Black women and their families.

On average, Black women in the U.S. are paid 39% less than white men and 21% less than white women.3

Black women are doing their part.

Black women ask for promotions and raises at about the same rates as white women, but they get worse results.7

The pay gap actually widens for women at higher education levels.8

The gap is largest for Black women who have bachelor’s and advanced degrees.

The pay gap starts early.

From age 16, Black girls are paid less than boys the same age—and the gap only grows from there.9

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. This impacts families’ ability to buy groceries, pay for childcare, invest in their children’s education, and more. 10

IF PAID FAIRLY, THE AVERAGE BLACK WOMAN… …would earn almost $950,000 more over the course of her career.11

IF PAID FAIRLY, THE AVERAGE BLACK WOMAN… ...a Black woman working full-time, year-round could, on average, afford almost 2 years of rent12

While many Americans don’t realize the pay gap for Black women exists, Black women and their families certainly feel the effects.

—Rachel Thomas, co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.Org

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

Footnotes

  1. Wilson, Valerie, Janelle Jones, Kayla Blado, and Elise Gould. “Black Women Have to Work 7 Months into 2017 to Be Paid the Same as White Men in 2016.” Economic Policy Institute (blog). Accessed August 20, 2019. https://www.epi.org/blog/black-women-have-to-work-7-months-into-2017-to-be-paid-the-same-as-white-men-in-2016/.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Hegewisch, Ariane. “The Gender Wage Gap: 2017; Earnings Differences by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity.” Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://iwpr.org/publications/gender-wage-gap-2017/.
  4. SurveyMonkey/Lean In poll was conducted online from August 9-14, 2019 among a total sample of 6,697 adults age 18 and over living in the United States. Respondents for these surveys were selected from more than two million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 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 18 and over. Learn more.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Hegewisch, Ariane. “The Gender Wage Gap: 2017; Earnings Differences by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity.” Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Accessed August 20, 2019. https://iwpr.org/publications/gender-wage-gap-2017/.
  8. AAUW. The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap. Fall 2018, https://www.aauw.org/aauw_check/pdf_download/show_pdf.php?file=The_Simple_Truth.
  9. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Weekly and hourly earnings data from the Current Population Survey.” July 2018, https://data.bls.gov/PDQWeb/le.
  10. National Partnership for Women & Families. “Fact Sheet: Black Women and the Wage Gap.” April 2019, http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/fair-pay/african-american-women-wage-gap.pdf.
  11. National Women’s Law Center. “The Lifetime Wage Gap, State by State.” March 2019, https://nwlc.org/resources/the-lifetime-wage-gap-state-by-state/.
  12. Note: This compares median wages for Black women working full-time, year round in the U.S. to annual median wages for white, non-Hispanic men. National Partnership for Women & Families. “Fact Sheet: Black Women and the Wage Gap.” April 2019,http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/workplace-fairness/fair-pay/african-american-women-wage-gap.pdf.