Activists campaigning for increased pay for low-income workers in New Jersey have additionally highlighted the wage gap between racial minority groups and the white population. In 2018, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice released a report showing the extent of the economic disparities and how women of color are at the wrong end of the worst pay disparity in the country. “In New Jersey, one of the worst states in the nation for racial wealth disparities, the median net worth for white families is $271,402 — the highest median net worth in the nation,” it noted. “By contrast, the median net worth for New Jersey’s Black and Latino families is just $5,900 and $7,020, respectively.”
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Self, a credit building company, has ranked states and metro areas on their minority wage gap. It ranked New Jersey 18th out of all 50 states with a median income of $50,000 for full-time minority workers and $70,000 for full-time non-minority workers. California ranked first with a full-time median income of $45,000 for minority workers and $72,000 for non-minority workers.
The report cites the history of racial inequalities, discrimination, and differences in education quality as contributing to minority wage gaps nationwide. It shows wage gaps are also less evident in some areas based on certain economic and demographic factors. For example, states like West Virginia and Kentucky show smaller gaps because people there earn less overall. And in states like California and New Jersey, higher overall wages contribute to the larger gaps. The bottom line, it says, is that Bureau of Labor data “shows the persistence of the minority wage gap over time, with non-Hispanic whites and Asians consistently out-earning Black and Hispanic workers.”