Majority of Black and Latino Workers Earn less than $15 an Hour: Majority of White Workers Earn more

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

The campaign to raise the minimum wage in the United States to $15 an hour is important to millions of low-wage workers. But it is especially critical for African-Americans and Latinos, most of whom make less than that.


A new report (pdf) from the National Employment Law Project says a majority of these two minority groups make less than $15 an hour. For Latinos the percentage is 59.5%, for African-Americans it’s 54.1%.


The numbers are in stark contrast to those for white workers, nearly 64% of whom make more than $15 an hour.


Black and Latino workers are heavily concentrated in the industries, such as food service and home health care, which pay the least, according to the report. Fast food jobs are often thought to be held primarily by teens, but almost half such workers are 35 or older.

Women are also victim to low wages. They make up 54.7% of those making less than $15 an hour, although they’re only 48.3% of the workforce.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The Growing Movement for $15 (by Irene Tung, Yannet Lathrop, and Paul Sonn, National Employment Law Project) (pdf)

Minimum Wage, Factoring for Inflation, is Lower than in 1956 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

As National Unemployment Rate Stabilizes, Rate for African-Americans Rises Again (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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