Just The Facts

9 Key Facts: Black-White Wage Gap in the United States

Since 2000, the wage gap between white and black Americans has increased dramatically.

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Takeaways


  • In 1980, the median income of US black households was only 57.6% of the median income of US white households.
  • By 2000, the median US black household had income equal to 67.6% of the median US white household.
  • By 2012, the gap between the median wages of blacks and whites in the US was back where it was in the mid-90s.

1. In 1980, a decade and a half after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the median income of black households in the United States was only 57.6% of the median income of white households.

2. A decade later, in 1990, the gap had closed by 2.2 percentage points to 59.8%.

3. Between 1991 and 2000, the income gap between whites and blacks decreased in seven of the 10 years.

4. By 2000, the median black household had income equal to 67.6% of the median white household.

5. That was 10 percentage points higher than in 1980 — and is the narrowest the gap has ever been.

6. Between 2001 and 2010, the income gap widened in seven of the 10 years.

7. In 2010, the median black household earned only 62.1% of the income earned by the median white household.

8. As of 2012, the most recent year available, the percentage was virtually unchanged, at 62.0%.

9. The income gap widens more quickly when the U.S. economy is in recession, with black households suffering larger drops in income than whites.
 

The Upshot

By 2012, the gap between the median wages of black Americans and white Americans had increased back to where it was in the mid-1990s.

 

Data source: U.S. Census Bureau. Analysis by The Globalist Research Center.

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