Yesha Callahan

Black Women’s Roundtable Report: Black Women Suffer Economically at Disproportionate Rates

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 3.15.03 PMThe Black Women’s Roundtable Report was recently released and their findings are startling, but not surprising. In terms of economics, black women are still lagging behind.  As of February, 2015, the nation’s overall jobless rate fell to its lowest point in seven years (5.5%), while women’s unemployment fell to a six-year low (4.9%) and white women’s unemployment hit a seven-year low (4.2%). Completely counter to that trend, Black women’s unemployment actually ticked up, reaching 8.9%.

And of course, when you take a look at the worst states when it comes to wages for black women, they happen to fall in the south, with Mississippi being the all time worst for black women, followed by Louisiana, South Carolina and Alabama. But if you are a black women, and you want a shot at making a better salary, you should hightail it to Maryland, California, New Jersey, or New York.

Here are a few takeaways from the report:

Black Women Can’t Educate Their Way to Fair Pay:

While it is true that educational advancement provides an important pathway to opportunity in America, it is also critical to understand that wage differentials persist across every level of education. In other words, education is not a conduit to fair pay.

A Black woman high school graduate fails to earn as much as a white male dropout with a 9th grade education or less ($30,450 vs. $32,675).

Black women w i t h Bachelor’s degrees , on average, earn about $10,000 less than White men with an Associate’s degree ($49,882 vs. $59,014). In fact, it would take nearly two Black women college graduates to earn what the average White male college graduate earns by himself ($55,804 vs. $100, 620).

Compared to other women, Black women fall at or near the bottom in earnings across every level of education. Among college degree holders specifically, Black women take home the lowest earnings across the board. Black Women Significantly Overrepresented among the Nation’s Poor.

In spite of consistently leading all women in labor market participation, Black women are among the most likely in America to be poor. In fact, the poverty rate of Black women (25.1%) more than doubles that of White women (10.3%) and Asian women (11.5%), and slightly eclipses that of Latinas (24.8%).

Among single mother households, nearly half of such families headed by Black women are poor (46.7%), just below the proportion attributed to Latina-headed households (48.6%), but significantly more than is the case among single white (33.1%) and Asian mothers (26.3%).

To read the full report, click here.

  1. April 2, 2015 - Reply

    I better not hear any 77 cents argument for the rest of my life

    • April 2, 2015 - Reply


      I think I understand what you mean. I guess I agree with you.

  2. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    While working on my BA, most of my classmates were White, male, mid-level managers. While working on my MS in Finance, most of my classmates are White, male executives. They don’t even NEED an education to get the job I want. Google any typical black woman name and add masters degree plus Linkedin and you tell me how many names come up. Most of them either just started their jobs or are currently looking for one. It’s no surprise that we have to be twice as good to be half as successful.

  3. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    I appreciate Clutch for letting me know that I’m not delusional. Sometimes I can’t believe my own eyes.

  4. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    Not surprised…

  5. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    Part of the problem is that black women are perceived as less qualified, regardless of verifiable education and experience. The white male is the more desirable employee by default. Some employers believe that keeping men employed is more important than employing women. This is part of the reason that black women start their own businesses in such large numbers.

  6. April 3, 2015 - Reply

    Please, I’ve known this for years. No matter what Black college grads do, as a group they the most likely to be unemployed, underemployed, and hold low quality jobs – even when they have STEM degrees. I point out that last bit because apparently STEM is supposed to “save us all” or something. Fuck outta here. We live in a CASTE society not a CLASS SOCIETY.

  7. April 4, 2015 - Reply

    Wow, I just graduated and I’m actually making what the statistics say I as black woman would make. I was told by a black woman working in HR to ask for 60k, but since I just graduated I didn’t see why/was too scared to ask. I’m calling up my agent and I’m going to ask them to up what amount I should get for my field (developer in case anyone is wondering). Thanks for this. My parents didn’t sacrifice for me to get peanuts compared to the incompetent white people.

  8. April 4, 2015 - Reply

    Not surprised, this is why I side eyed Patricia Arquette’s speech and all the people clapping and capping for this issue now. Black women need to be on the forefront of this issue for a plethora of reasons. As mentioned it is sad that despite the qualifications and education black women are still struggling to get not only a decent wage but positions and job titles in the work place. And even though Clutch highlighted the states with better pay you now have to factor the cost of living especially for NY and CA so you still might not see your money.

  9. April 21, 2015 - Reply

    better known as racism

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