EPI Report Concludes that Hispanic–White Wage Gap Remains Steadfast

In a new report, the Economy Policy Institute examines Hispanic–white gaps in wages, unemployment, labor force participation, and education by gender, immigrant status, and other subpopulations.

The Economic Policy Institute  and Professor of Economics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Marie Mora and Professor and Dean of the Harrison College of Business at Southeast Missouri State University Alberto Dávila released today a report that looked at Hispanic–white wage gap among full-time workers, including how it is affected by gender, Hispanic subgroup, education level, birthplace, immigrant status, and generational status.

The EPI an independent, nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States, said in a published press statement, that in 2017, Hispanic men working full-time made 14.9 percent less in hourly wages than comparable white men (an improvement from 17.8 percent in 2000), while Hispanic women made 33.1 percent less than comparable white men (a small improvement from 35.1 percent in 2000). This gap has remained wide and relatively steady since 2000, for Hispanic men and women overall and for most of the largest subgroups by national origin.

“It’s clear that Hispanic workers still lag behind their white peers in many regards,” said Mora. “But it’s important to point out that Hispanic workers are not a homogeneous group. This analysis shows clear differences based on factors like where Hispanic workers are from, how educated they are, and how long their families have lived in the United States.”

The research also concluded that for Hispanic men the level of education compared to white men played a significant role in lowering the wage gap, while for Hispanic women compared to white men, both the adjusted and unadjusted wage gaps have remained fairly steady and large since 1979, pointing at ongoing ethnic and gender discrimination. Another finding suggests that second and third generation Hispanics fare better than the first generation, a finding consistent with the notion that assimilation narrows the wage gap.

“There are many causes for concern in this analysis, but there are some reasons to be optimistic,” said Dávila. “For example, Hispanic workers clearly place value on education and Hispanic education attainment is growing—but we need to make sure that Hispanic Americans have access to high quality, affordable education.”

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