NewsRacial Wage Gap Begins At Age 16 For Black Workers

Racial Wage Gap Begins At Age 16 For Black Workers

The median weekly earnings for full-time Black workers, 16-to-24-year-olds, was $614, while it’s $747 per week for white young adults.

A new release by CNBC Make It revealed that the racial wage gap and the disparity between white and Black workers begin early on in adolescence. 

Black people only make 76 cents to a white worker’s dollar, and according to the Department of Labor, the median weekly earnings for full-time Black workers, 16-to-24-year-olds, was $614, while it’s $747 per week for white young adults. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the gap is smaller than in adults but still pervasive. 

CNBC experts discussed what could be causing these disparities so early in their lives. Most majorly, senior Brookings Institution fellow Andre Perry posited that job opportunities for youth are usually directly a result of their family environment.

Perry said, “Children born in higher income and higher wealth families will have greater access to opportunities that their parents can present.” He added that both the resources that parents have access to and the amount of wealth a family has overall can dictate what kind of job children are able to get. Perry explained that, for example, “If your parents have a car, you’ll have more opportunities to get a premium job. Whenever you’re talking about outcomes of children, what you’re describing is the outcomes of adults.”

The outlet cited geographic location as another big factor that affects the wages of Black youth. Century Foundation member Laura Valle-Gutierrez said, “The average wages in places where we know communities of color are concentrated.” 

Overall Valle-Gutierrez said that it’s incredibly important to keep these disparities in mind while working to support Black youth in their professional pursuits.  

Valle-Gutierrez concluded that it’s important to “keep in mind that these wage gaps that do start early really do result in a lifetime of consequences in terms of lifetime earnings.” 

Source: Black Enterprise

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