ARC’s Research & Analytics Group will be publishing a series of Special Features on equity over the next few months. Posts in the Equity Series will examine a variety of aspects of equity along with some of the key factors hindering the realization of this ideal in the Atlanta Metro region. Each post will focus on a single data visualization designed to clearly convey the aspect of equity being discussed.
For this first post in the Equity Special Feature series, we created the interactive chart below to display the wage gap by industry between African American and non-African American workers in the Atlanta Metro region. As you can see, African American workers in the region make less than their non-African American coworkers in every industry. Moving the cursor over each bar, you can see an explanation of the displayed data as well as a breakdown of the average monthly wages by race for each industry.
At the top of the chart, the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector has the smallest wage gap for African American workers, with the racial group earning on average $0.91 for every dollar earned by non-African American workers. At the bottom of the chart, Transportation and Warehousing industries show a calculated wage gap of $0.48 for every dollar. A closer look, however, reveals a bit more complicated picture. While Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation exhibits less inequity in wages than the other industries, it is also an overall lower wage industry, with white workers making on average $2,891 per month. For comparison, African Americans working in Transportation and Warehousing, the industry with the largest wage gap, earned on average $3,641 per month, with their white coworkers earning on average $7,788 per month. Nonetheless, when considered across industries the data are clear: African America workers in the Atlanta Metro region make on average $0.59 for every dollar earned by non-African American workers.
There are a number of interrelated reasons why these wage inequities may exist. First, the difference in average wages between racial groups could be the result of a higher proportion of one race in the lower wage occupations within an industry. Second, the wage gap could also be due, in part, to racial disparities in pay for the same job, although additional analysis would need to be performed to confirm this for each occupation. Third, the difference in wages could be due to differing levels of educational attainment, which are highly associated with the types of opportunities a person has growing up. Policy makers and community advocates interested in improving the wage equity situation in the Atlanta Metro region will have to address all of these factors, either directly or indirectly, when developing solutions. Data, like those shared here, can help in this process by serving as a common knowledge base for constructive debate about effective actions to narrow these gaps.