How The Pay Gap Affects Women Of Color Differently

by Mia Mercado
Hannah Burton/Bustle

You’ve probably heard the number 77 referenced in regard to the gender pay gap. On average, for every dollar a white man makes, a woman make 77 cents. That number is, however, an average. The wage gap for women of color is significantly worse.

All women experience the gender pay gap to some degree — just not to the same degree. Asian women, for example, make an average of 85 cents to every dollar a white man makes. White women make about 75 cents. For black, Latina, and Native women, that number is significantly lower.

Because there is also a racial pay gap, the gender pay gap is compounded for women of color. Last year, the wage gap between black and white workers was the worst it had been in 40 years. When looking at median hourly pay, white workers earned an average of $25.22 an hour. Black workers earned $18.49 an hour. On average, black and Latina women who are low-wage earners and work full time live below the poverty line. White men who are low-wage earners and work full time live above the poverty line.

On average, white and Asian women make more than black and Latino men. The wage gap between men of color and women of color is smaller than that between white men and women of color. In some cases, it's smaller than the gap between white women and women of color.

So, when you celebrate Equal Pay Day on April 4, know that it doesn't necessarily account for the racial pay gap as well. Here are eight stats on how the gender pay gap affects women of color differently to keep in mind when you talk about the wage gap.


Black women earn 63 cents to every dollar a white man makes. Latinas earn 54 cents.

According to the most recent numbers from the American Association of University Women, the wage gap is still significantly worse for some women of color. Native women earn 58 cents to every dollar a white man makes. Women who are Hawaiian or Pacific Islander earn 60 cents to every dollar. White non-Hispanic women earn 75 cents for every dollar a white man makes, and Asian women earn 85 cents.


Over the course of their career, black women will lose $840,000 to today’s wage gap. Latina women lose over $1 million.

The interactive map from National Women’s Law Center shows how the wage gap adds up for women over the course of their careers. On average, women lose $418,800 over a 40-year career. That number is more than double from black and Latina women.


In eight states, Native women will lose over $1 million over the course of their career to today’s wage gap.

The NWLC’s interactive map on the wage gap gives a state-by-state look at how the gender pay gap varies across the country. The lifetime losses over a career from the wage gap was most severe for white women in the state of Wyoming. There, white women lose $779,600. While that number is shocking, every other racial demographic analyzed had at least one state in which lifetime losses due to the wage gap surpassed $1 million. For Asian women, it was one state. For black women, it was nine states. For Native women, it’s in eight states. For Latinas, it’s 22 states.


Since 1974, women overall have seen a 32 percent increase in earnings. Black women have only seen a 22 percent increase, Latinas 20 percent.

Latest research from the AAUW predicts the gender pay gap will not close until 2152. However, that number averages out the earning increases for all women over time. Black women have experienced a 10 percent smaller increase in earnings over the past 40 years than women overall. Latinas have experienced a 12 percent smaller increase. So while yes, that pay gap is continuing to shrink, it’s shrinking at a significantly slower pace for women of color.


The hourly earnings of white women are $4 less than white men. The hourly earnings of Latina women are $5 less than white women, and $9 less than white men.

Regardless of how you break it down, the wage gap is worse for women of color. This study from Pew looks at median hourly earnings based on gender and race. Black and Hispanic women not only made less than their male counterparts, they also earned less per hour than Asian women and white women.


On average, Latina women lose almost $14,000 more each year to the wage gap than women overall.

Overall, women lose roughly $10,470 to the wage gap each year. The race pay gap compounded with the gender pay gap translates to a more significant loss for Latina women ($23,279 ) and black women ($19,399).


To look at it another way, the wage gap costs a Latina woman 3.7 years worth of food for her family.

You can also think of that money lost by Latinas as three additional years of college tuition, three years worth of childcare costs, or 27 more months of rent.


On average, it will take a black woman 63 years to earn what a white man makes in 40.

If time is money, the wage gap tells women their time means significantly less than men’s. The NWLC presented this way to look at it: A man and woman both begin their career at 20. The man retires at 60. If the woman wants to retire with the same amount of money as her male counterpart, she will have to work an additional 10 years. If she’s black, that number jumps to 23 more years. If she’s Native, that number becomes 29 years. If she’s Latina, it will take 34 years more years, retiring when she is 94.

Yes, the pay gap is something all women should be discussing — but it's important to keep in mind that for women of color, statistics paint a startlingly different picture.