Breaking Down The Race Pay Gap

Here is the impact of race on compensation in all occupations.
By Kathy Morris & Chris Kolmar

How Big Is The Race Pay Gap In Your Occupation?

Does race have an impact on how much you’re compensated at work?

The gender pay gap is pretty well-known throughout the country and is talked about frequently. Something that’s not talked about as much that should be? The racial income gap. We’ve come up with this calculator to help address this gap by highlighting income discrepancies by occupation.

Some jobs have far wider gaps (and much further to go!) than others.

Enter your information to see the racial gap in your industry-- and how much room for progress there is.

Additional Resources

Average Income By Race

Looking at the pay gap by occupation can mask deeper pay issues. For example, the lack of equal opportunity for those jobs in the first place.

Just having an African American sounding name on your resume, makes it half as likely you'll even get a call back for a job. That is half as many opportunities to land a job, just out of the gate. Sadly, the inequality does not end there, many qualified candidates are passed over for promotions and paid less to do the same job.

While education can improve job opportunity, at all levels of education, workers of color earn less.




In the map above, you can see the drastic differences in pay between white and Black Americans for all 50 states and DC. Only one state has Black Americans earning more- Wyoming. In all other states, Black Americans earn 91%-to-46% of what white earners make.

The worst offender? Washington DC. Black Americans earn a median income of $35,753, while White Americans earn $77,126- a staggering $41,373 more a year. Broken down, that means for every dollar earned, on average Black Americans in DC are only bringing home .54 cents.

How We Determined The Race Pay Gap

To determine the race pay gap, we used US Census PUMs Data.

We broke down the average income for each occupation by race for full time (>=35 hour) prime working age (25-65) workers. The races used are the races used by PUMs: Alaskan, Two Or More, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Hawaiian.

The group with the highest earnings per occupation was labeled 100% for '% of max'. Each remaining group then had their earning compared to the highest average earnings for percent of earnings. The higher the number, the smaller the wage gap.

For example, for the occupation Lawyers, And Judges, Magistrates, And Other Judicial Workers, white workers earn on average $176,768. That was the highest average income, so they are the 100% max.

The average income for Asian workers in that occupation is only $155,947 - or 88% that of white workers.

Groups were ordered from the least race pay to the highest pay gap.

To determine the race gap in each state, we used data from the Cesnsus' most recent American Community Survey. We then compared median income for white Americans to black Americans in all 50 states and DC. The larger the difference, the worse the wage gap.

How Can I Decrease The Race Pay Gap?

The race pay gap is a deep problem that persists in our society.

No one person can dismantle systematic prejudice and implicit bias. However, there are some positive steps you can take to chip away at it.

  1. Speak out for transparency in pay: When workers are more aware of what colleagues make, pay is more equal.
  2. Hire, promote, and support workers of color: If you are in charge of hiring or manage workers, put your money where your mouth is. However, don't let lack of authority keep you from being an ally, as a colleague you can still support your colleagues and champion for fair pay in the workplace.
  3. Educate Yourself: Educate yourself not only on the biases that exist in the workspace, but also on the going pay rates. While no one should have to ask for fair wages, we live in an unfair world and people often have to advocate for themselves.

Further Research Into Earnings

About Zippia

We realized that quite often, people don't know much about their career options, and how to change or advance their career. While we tried our best to mentor them, it was frustrating to know that there were still millions of people out there who we couldn't help.

And then we noticed something else: The internet can answer almost any of our questions today – how to build a house, how to buy a car, or how to find love. But even though choosing a career is one of the most important decisions of our life, there is very little reliable guidance available online.

This is why we decided to build a platform that gives everybody the tools to find the career that is right for them.