Black Chicagoans Make 45 Percent Less than White Counterparts

March 2, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

“What’s in your wallet?” Capitol One famously asks. For many black Chicagoans, a correct response would be, “about 45 cent for every dollar.” A 2009 study released by the American Community Survey reveals that the average white person in Chicago makes an income of $63,625 a year while the average black person makes $28,725 a year, about 45 percent of what the average white person makes. Basically, black people living in Chicago make 45 cents for every dollar that a white person earns, Chicago Now reports.

Wage disparities between black and white employees is a tale as old as slavery, yet the problem is evidently as fresh as the 2009 study. According to the study, black employees in major metropolitan areas across the country make significantly less on the dollar than their white counterparts. White workers in Dallas, however, have a particularly troubling financial head start on their black coworkers, who make 43 cents for every dollar that whites make. Other cities highlighted in the study include Houston (0.47 cents), Los Angeles (0.57 cents), San Jose (0.57 cents), New York City (0.57 cents), Philadelphia (0.61 cents), San Diego (0.65 cents), San Antonio (0.66 cents) and Phoenix (0.66 cents).

Chicago Now speculates possible causes of the wage differences other than discrimination, including less education and health care disparities that lead to disablement, but that is the same rhetoric used to justify a lack of workplace diversity for both women in high-paying jobs and for people of color holding those positions. Try again, because we’re not buying it. We can’t afford to. Unless it costs .45 cents.

Read more: Second City or dead last? Income Apartheid in Chicago

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