The gap between working Black families and white families continues to widen, as whites’ income level rises more than Blacks at alarming rates and even among the poor, according to a new report from the Working Poor Families Project.
Using U.S. census date, the research showed that working families of color were twice as likely to be considered low income, which means their total income fell 200 percent below the poverty level.
This staggering report shows there is no indication of a change in sight, as the differences in earnings have only increased since the last recession. It is another confirmation of the gross disparity and lack of fairness the U.S. economy offers to non-whites who work just as hard and long as whites.
The recent data shows whites earning twice as much as Black families. This research shows that even among compared to whites struggling to make it, Black families remain significantly out-earned.
Non-white families were disproportionately low-income. Racial and ethnic minorities made up 40 percent of all working families, but accounted for 58 percent of working families that are low-income, a huge disparity, according to the report.
Young families headed by racial and ethnic minorities are especially vulnerable. In 2013, 76 percent of families of color headed by adults ages 18 to 24 were considered low-income, compared with almost half (47 percent) of non-white families headed by workers ages 25 to 54.
Of the 24 million children in working poor families, 14 million children—or three out of every five—are racial or ethnic minorities.
“This is a moral as well as economic issue that’s defining the fairness of our society,” said Brandon Roberts, one of the study’s authors. “The inequality between hard-working families in America is very real and must be addressed and our state leaders have the power to do so.”
A family is defined as working if all family members 15 years and older worked a combined 39 weeks or more in the prior 12 months and if the family met those conditions and had one unemployed parent looking for work in the prior four weeks.
A third of African-American and Latino working families are in the lowest income bracket–which tops out at around $32,000–compared with just 13 percent of whites and Asian Americans, according to the report. The disparity is likely due to the fact that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be working in low-paying jobs, such as retail sales, food preparation, health care and housekeeping services, the report said.