Wage gaps

September 2, 2012
   
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Women continue to earn significantly less than men at the median in Ohio. In 2011, the median woman worker – the worker at the mid-point among women workers – earned just $13.92 an hour. Men earned more than $3.00 more per hour that year, with a median hourly wage of $17.08. Women’s wages in Ohio have risen slightly since the late 1970s, by $1.75 an hour, while men’s wages have fallen by more than $3.00 an hour at the median. Assuming full-time, year-round work (2040 hours a year), the median Ohio female worker earns just $28,397, compared to $34,843 for the median man. Both male and female median workers saw their wages drop for the past two years. Women’s wages have not grown in the 2000s while men’s wages have essentially been falling slightly throughout the 2000s.

Black workers in Ohio experienced wage growth at the median between 2010 and 2011, but the long-term trend for African-American workers has been downward. African Americans in Ohio generally earned more than $2.00 more than black workers nationally in the late 1970s (in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars), but now earn nearly $1.00 an hour less. Between 2010 and 2011 the median black worker wage fell nationally but rose in Ohio. Because sample size is smaller, this indicator bounces around a little more than all worker wages.

The gap in wages between black and white workers widened considerably over the last 32 years in Ohio – in 1979, black workers earned $15.11 at the median compared to $16.64 for white workers, a ten percent gap in inflation-adjusted 2011 dollars. By 2011, the median black Ohio worker earned just $12.95, compared to $15.92 for the median white worker in the state, a 23 percent gap.

Although some of the racial wage gap might be due to disparities in education levels between black and white workers, even controlling for education levels, African Americans still make substantially less than white workers at every educational level for which we were able to provide data – we combined three years of data, 2009 through 2011, to get adequate sample sizes (there were insufficient numbers of African Americans without high school degrees to use that data). The median white worker with at least a bachelor’s degree earned $25.00 an hour over the combined years of 2009 to 2011, while the median African-American worker at that education level earned just $18.03 per hour. The median white worker with just a high school degree earned $14.45 from 2009-2011, while the median black worker at that education level earned just $11.62 per hour.

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