Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Black, Hispanic Families Still Falling Behind
Press Release

RELEASE: Black, Hispanic Families Still Falling Behind

If they had fared as well as white families, black and Hispanic families would have earned $1,400 more in 2014

Washington, D.C. — Black and Hispanic families continue to face a stark economic reality, according to a new Center for American Progress report released today, leading nearly 90 percent of black and Hispanic women voters in the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and Virginia to view economic security as one of the most important issues in the upcoming election. While they stand to have an unprecedented impact on the upcoming election, black and Hispanic families have fallen far behind their white counterparts, with gaps in median household income increasing in recent years—to $24,000 for black families and $17,000 for Hispanic families—and still continuing to grow. If black and Hispanic median income had fared as well as its white counterpart, these families would have seen $1,400 more in yearly income in 2014.

The recent polling, conducted by Latino Decisions on behalf of the Center for American Progress, showed that black and Hispanic women know the impact that key economic security policies—such as equal pay, affordable child care and paid family and medical leave—would have on them and their families. These families face additional challenges in accessing paid sick leave, affordable child care, and workplace protections, all things that would help them build more security.

“When we talk about economic security for families across the country, we are talking about millions of families of color who continue to struggle to get ahead,” said Angela Maria Kelley, a Senior Vice President at the Center for American Progress. “Our trickle-down economy has left these families behind for so long, but there are policies that will help them and every American family achieve economic security. We have to reverse our trajectory and promote policies that give every family access to opportunity.”

While black and Hispanic families have fared significantly worse than their white counterparts, issues such as equal pay, which is broadly supported by an overwhelming majority, would help close the gender pay gap. Additionally, women who are members of a union are more likely to see higher wages. On average, black women earn 11 percent higher wages if they are union members, and Hispanic women earn 16 percent, which demonstrates that strong unions are a key component of closing the wage gap. This can be largely attributed to these women simply earning more as union members. But other policies matter too.

Black and Hispanic women have less access to paid sick leave and pay large percentages of their income for child care. The new overtime threshold recently finalized by the U.S. Department of Labor would directly benefit nearly one-third of all salaried black and Hispanic workers. And an increase in the minimum wage would significantly benefit communities of color.

“Realities for many Americans are still tough, but the gap between families of color and white families continues to grow,” Kelley said. “The complexion of America is changing, and our policies have to change with it.”

Read here: Economic Security for Black and Hispanic Families by Molly Cain and Sunny Frothingham

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Benton Strong at 202.481.8142 or [email protected].