October 21st marks Latina Equal Pay Day, which takes a look at the average full-time working Latina woman’s salary, which is significantly less than the same pay a non-minority man earned the previous year.
While we analyze the overarching gender pay equity issue during other times of the year, October 21 is especially important because women of color face a pay gap that is far larger.
Latinas lose more than $1.1 million over a 40-year career due to the wage gap, according to new analysis by the National Women’s Law Center.
Latinas are typically paid only 57 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. A loss of 43 cents on the dollar adds up to significant losses of $2,409 every month, $28,911 every year, and a staggering $1,156,440 over a lifetime. A Latina would need to work until she is nearly 90 years old—eight years beyond her life expectancy—to catch up to her white male peer’s lifetime earnings that he attained by age 60.
Latinas remain in the crosshairs of the pandemic and economic uncertainty—and the lost earnings due to the wage gap leave them without a financial cushion to weather the crisis and undercut their ability to build wealth. At its peak in April 2020, the unemployment rate for Latinas reached 20.1%, and it remained in the double digits for six months last year before finally declining. While Latinas’ unemployment rate was 5.6% in September 2021, that is largely because 497,000 fewer Latinas were in the labor force in September 2021 than February 2020 and are no longer counted as unemployed.
September’s unemployment rate means that Latinas are over 1.3 times more likely than white men to be unemployed—and if all the Latinas who have left the labor force since February 2020 returned and were counted as unemployed last month, their unemployment rate would have been 9.3% instead of 5.6%. In September, over one in three Latinas ages 16 and over (36.1%) had been unemployed for 6 months or longer.
Some of the most jarring findings from the report point out that an annual wage gap loss of $28, 911 could have paid for 11 months of child care, 10 months of rent payments, and 10 months of food costs—and would have been a critical lifeline for Latinas and their families during the pandemic.
The data also pointed out that Latinas working full-time, year-round in front-line occupations make just 56 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in the same jobs.
Additionally, findings highlighted how the wage gap affected parenting as well. According to the report, Latina mothers experience a motherhood penalty and face a steeper wage gap. Even before Covid-19 began, Latina mothers were paid just 46 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers, even though more than 6 in 10 were primary or co-breadwinners for their families. These losses add up to a loss of $3,167 each month and $38,000 annually.
For the full report, visit the National Women’s Law Center at NWLC.org.