Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities

Paper Info
Page count 6
Word count 1696
Read time 6 min
Topic Sociology
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US


Individuals’ economic position is frequently associated with the financial benefits they get through activities such as labor. Usually, political and societal considerations might raise concerns regarding these monetary flows. The main question is always focused on the subject of equity. For thousands of years, humanity has struggled with many facets of inequality, such as authority, personal liberties, land, and money. In the latter scenario, money has been a primary consideration in the twentieth century, and wealth is the key indication of income disparity. The fundamental source of economic inequity for virtually all persons is what is known as wage disparities. These are discrepancies in the sum of funds received by the disadvantaged group compared to the “standard,” or the amount is given to the majority (Gopalan, 2019). These pay disparities are easily quantified using statistical analysis and econometrics, demonstrating that this issue occurs. As a result, this article addresses racial disparities while examining how they contribute to inequalities in other areas such as education, penal facilities, employment, macroeconomic development, union membership, globalization, geographical location, and trade possibilities.

Areas Affected by Racial Wage Gaps

One of the explanations that the average Black-White pay disparity has widened in the United States is that very few African-Americans obtain incomes that position them amongst the top 5% of all salaried workers (Gopalan, 2019). Moreover, only 3% of all CEOs are African-Americans, with a disproportionate percentage of employees in the social or private nonprofit fields (Gopalan, 2019). Earnings in this industry are lesser and more liable to be restricted than in the for-profit private sector.

Educational Disparities

Though the African-American lifestyle is not uniform, research indicates that changes in Blacks’ educational qualifications or other visible indicators are not the primary cause of the widening inequalities. For instance, obtaining a bachelor’s degree or higher will not bridge the Black-White pay disparity. Indeed, the discrepancies have widened greatest among the degree holders. In the 1980s, Black-American degree holders entering the market had a less than 10% handicap compared to white university graduates, however by 2014, the disparity had widened to 20% (Berisha et al., 2021). In addition, educated newcomers faced an 18% disadvantage as well (Gopalan, 2019). However, patterns in high school graduation show that education levels will result in a minor lessening of the general pay gap and a shrinking of the wage difference. This is between Black-Americans and the white individuals in possession of a high school diploma. Throughout 2000, the number of whites with a high school education has climbed by 4.5 %, while the proportion of Blacks has risen by 7.7 % (Berisha et al., 2021). Consequently, the same scenario has continued to be experienced up to now.

Correctional Institutions

Incarceration trends may put pressure on income disparities among the youthful and less learned to decrease or remain unchanged. According to the Department of Justice, the proportion of white males to black men in jail stabilized at 5.9 in 2014, down from 7.7 in 2000. (Decreuse & Tarasonis, 2021). The ratios between their women counterparts declined from 6.0 in 2000 to 2.1 in 2014 (Gopalan, 2019). For both, most of the dip occurred between 2000 and 2007, when the white incarceration rate increased, and the African-American incarceration rate decreased (Berisha et al., 2021). Since this ratio stays so high, incarceration and its damaging employment consequences will contribute immensely to wage differences in a given year. However, their trend over time from 2000 is likely to help lower the pay disparity.

Occupational Distribution Disparities

The distribution of races across occupations impacts the racial pay gap. White and Asian people in the United States have higher median salaries. They are more represented in and management jobs than black people, Latinos, as well as American-Indians. African-American and Hispanic employees are less inclined to work in blue-collar jobs. They are more entrenched in subordinate ranks, such as machine operations, welders, and loaders, instead of higher-paying technical manufacturing and craft employment within those sectors.

In addition, women of different ethnicities have various employment allocations. White and Asian females are more likely to work in administrative and executive jobs, whereas Black, Latinos, and American-Indian females are more inclined to serve in support roles. As a result, since some races are often more prone to have lesser employment, there exist disparities in median salaries between groups. According to specific surveys, the occupation diversity of Blacks and Whites improved during 1970 and 1990 (Decreuse & Tarasonis, 2021). In 1968, a man of color was only 20% as probable as a white person to be hired in management, and 40% as liable to work in a professional field (Berisha et al., 2021). In 1998, the numbers grew to 50% as well as 70%, correspondingly. In 1998, a black man was still more certain to engage in low-skilled jobs and less successful in top careers (Gopalan, 2019). Notwithstanding this progress, there are significant discrepancies in occupational dispersion among people of different races.

Macro-Economic Growth

Adjustments in the economic system will undoubtedly influence pay disparities throughout 2000. In 2001, the United States had a minor eight-month depression, but the unemployment recovery was likely a more devastating blow to the economy. Income growth reappeared, although it was short-lived. From 2001 to 2007, the unemployment rate slowed down, incomes stagnated, and debt levels reached new highs (Berisha et al., 2021). After the Global Depression of 2007–2009, rather than swiftly recovering as after the 1980s downturn, employment growth took almost 40 months to resurface. The economy has grown, and private-sector employment growth has lasted 78 months. The jobless rate had reduced to 4.9% as of July 2016. Nevertheless, until the end of 2015, the unemployment rate, including structural unemployment, dropped down below 10% (Berisha et al., 2021). The most disadvantaged employees were those who were marginally connected and worked part-time for economic purposes.

Historically, the link involving economic progress and Black-White inequalities was such that Black-White disparity shrinks when the economy grows, and inequity widens as it deteriorates. Furthermore, following enormous advances in the 1990s, the racial difference has maintained typical discrimination trends since 2000, either stagnating or expanding, but not in the spectacular manner seen in the 1980s. Tepid and unstable economic development and the financial crisis have increased the Black-White pay gap (Berisha et al., 2021). Additionally, prime-age individual workforce participation has not recovered to pre-recession proportions.


Union membership has consistently offered a pay boost to Black employees, as union employees obtain higher earnings than other comparable non-union laborers, and Black workers have the most effective union representation rates. Between 1989 and 2015, the proportion of workers having union protection fell by 11% amongst Blacks and 8% for whites (Decreuse & Tarasonis, 2021). It is believed that the continuous decline in total union density, and the consolidation of membership numbers between black and white employees, have led to either flat or increasing racial pay disparities since 2000.


The expansion of America’s economy in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in a change in wealth distribution. Three things happened when the US joined the world market system. Those with economic assets, such as education, fared well in the digital economy since the money and skills they had to give were scarce (Berisha et al., 2021). Those who had labor performed poorly because inexpensive, physical work was in short supply on the international market. Much of the manufacturing in the US was exported in the newly established worldwide economy. This harmed most Americans in the lower sector of the educational curve, a sector in which minorities are heavily represented.

Minorities were significantly harmed by the increment pay disparity caused by the new economy’s decreasing need for physical work. The industrialization has strived to make structural hurdles to upward mobility for people with the lowest knowledge and abilities (Gopalan, 2019). Thus, the US’ transition to a globalized market resulted in a higher wealth gap among levels of schooling. This, combined with the unequal distribution of marginalized groups in employment and a cumulative increase in salary discrimination, led to a rise in the wage differential among both whites and people of color.

Geographic Distribution and Foreign Birth

Minorities’ capacity to locate gainful labor is influenced by the distance between employers and the placement of their houses. Although most Blacks reside in cities, the shift of industrial employment out of metropolitan areas in the 1980s negatively influenced the pay gap across Blacks and whites. Furthermore, according to Berisha et al. (2021), a member of a racial minority who has not been born in the US earns less than those born in the country. The Chinese, Japanese, and Latins have been impacted the worst. Decreuse and Tarasonis (2021) discovered a positive impact on the economic consequences for second-generation immigrants or kids of foreign-born immigrants. This is assumed to indicate the different attributes of immigrant families that are advantageous to their children’s economic progress.

Client Channeling

When salary discrepancies in jobs for Blacks and whites are contrasted, it is discovered that employment that relies on networking sites for success appears to have the highest racial inequalities. In comparison, jobs whose performance is not determined by the sort of clients serviced have the lowest racial differences. White-owned companies have related this disparity to employee channeling or the allocation of colored personnel to service minority clientele. Employee channeling, for instance, would mean that a Black real estate salesperson handled an overwhelming number of Black customers and communities, resulting in reduced sales compensation. Employee channeling, which has been characterized as a societal type of prejudice, adds to the pay disparity.


Pay disparities are widening due to discrimination (or racial inequalities in skills or worker traits that are undocumented or unquantified in the data) and rising earnings inequalities in aggregate. As mentioned in this article, the wage disparities for various minority races in the United States have shown many reasons that lead to wage disparities across white Americans and Americans of other races. The variables that contribute to wage differences across races, as well as the extent to which they affect each race, vary, yet many are universal to most or all races. As a result, reducing and eradicating the loopholes will need deliberate and direct effort on everyone.


Decreuse, B., & Tarasonis, L. (2021). Statistical discrimination in a search equilibrium model: Racial wage and employment disparities in the US. Annals of Economics and Statistics, (143), 105. Web.

Gopalan, M. (2019). Understanding the linkages between racial/ethnic discipline gaps and racial/ethnic achievement gaps in the United States. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 154. Web.

Berisha, E., Sewak Dubey, R., & Zamanian, Z. (2021). Recent dynamics in racial wage gap in the United States. Applied Economics Letters, 1-6. Web.

Cite this paper


NerdyBro. (2022, December 15). Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities. Retrieved from https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/


NerdyBro. (2022, December 15). Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities. https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/

Work Cited

"Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities." NerdyBro, 15 Dec. 2022, nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/.


NerdyBro. (2022) 'Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities'. 15 December.


NerdyBro. 2022. "Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities." December 15, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/.

1. NerdyBro. "Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities." December 15, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/.


NerdyBro. "Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities." December 15, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/.


NerdyBro. 2022. "Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities." December 15, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/.

1. NerdyBro. "Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities." December 15, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/.


NerdyBro. "Racial Wage Gap and How It Leads to Other Inequalities." December 15, 2022. https://nerdybro.com/racial-wage-gap-and-how-it-leads-to-other-inequalities/.