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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Black Women Saw Wages Decline Three Times as Much as Women Overall in the Last Decade

Black women in Ohio, Colorado, and Washington saw the largest declines

In advance of African American Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 23—the day symbolizing how far into the year Black women must work to earn what White men earned in the previous year—the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) released an analysis finding that, between 2004 and 2014, Black women’s real median annual earnings for full-time, year-round work declined by 5.0 percent—more than three times as much as earnings for all women.
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Aug 22, 2016

Washington, DC—In advance of African American Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 23—the day symbolizing how far into the year Black women must work to earn what White men earned in the previous year—the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) released an analysis finding that, between 2004 and 2014, Black women’s real median annual earnings for full-time, year-round work declined by 5.0 percent—more than three times as much as earnings for all women.

The analysis includes state data on Black women’s earnings growth, finding wide geographic variations in Black women’s earnings growth or decline. Black women’s median annual earnings increased by 8.5 percent in West Virginia, making it the state with the largest growth between 2004 and 2014. Arkansas and Mississippi also saw increases, at 8.4 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. Ohio experienced the largest decline in Black women’s real median annual earnings, where earnings decreased by 13.0 percent. Black women in Colorado and Washington saw their earnings fall by almost as much, 12.7 percent.

“This analysis underscores the strong impact of the Great Recession and the painfully slow economic recovery that many Black women have been experiencing,” said IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. “The areas of the country where Black women saw marked wage improvement had relatively low earnings to begin with. For Black women, the economy’s recovery is still not complete.”

Like Black women, Native American women and Hispanic women also saw their earnings fall substantially between 2004 and 2014 (5.8 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively). In comparison, Asian/Pacific Islander women’s earnings increased by 1.2 percent during the same time period and White women’s earnings declined by only 0.3 percent.

Find the state-level data and analysis online at IWPR.org.

This analysis is part of a series of IWPR research products on topics relevant to the 2016 election. Other topics include the gender wage gap, the benefits of paid sick days, and forthcoming analyses on student parents and the status of women of color in the United States.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.

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