Education, National

Racial Wage Gap Regresses to 1950 Levels

December 1, 2016  
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Durham, NC – Black men’s incomes have gone back to the back of the bus, according to study released in late November by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“When it comes to the earnings gap between black and white men, we’ve gone all the way back to 1950,” said Duke University economist Patrick Bayer, who co-authored the paper with Kerwin Kofi Charles of the University of Chicago. The study said that salaries for black men with a college education have gone up consistently since the 1960s, but for those with no college, mass incarceration and the elimination of good working-class jobs have erased the gains of the civil-rights era. In particular, the study found, the proportion of working-age men without jobs has risen since 1960 from 8% to 17% for white men and 19% to 35% for black men. “The rate at which men are not working has been skyrocketing, and it’s not simply the result of the Great Recession,” Bayer said. “It’s a big part of what’s been happening to our economy over the past 40 years. In essence, the economic benefits that should have come from the substantial gains in education for black men over the past 75 years have been completely undone by the changing economy.” Read more

December 1, 2016

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