Women, and especially women of color, also dominate in some of the lowest-paying industries. “Black and Latinx women specifically make up between 26% to 28% of those working in the service sector,” says Dr. C. Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “These are jobs that are lower paying, have fewer benefits, less job security, the first to go when there’s an economic downturn.”
Among all Latinx workers in the U.S., 63% make low wages. Among Black workers, 54% do. Yet despite these facts, racial wealth inequality doesn’t seem to have really sunk in for the country overall. While Americans overestimate how easy it is to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, we severely underestimate the wealth gap between white and Black people  — according to a study by Yale researchers, we think it’s about 80% smaller than it really is. Mason sets the record straight. “The median wealth for Black families is $17,000,” she says. “For white families, it’s $171,000. It’s criminal.”