Latina Women Earn 60 Cents for Every Dollar Paid to Men

PHOTO: A Latina nurse assists a patient.Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images
A Latina nurse assists a patient.

It's true that working women earn far less than their male counterparts: roughly 77 cents on the dollar. But try being a working Latina. Their situation is even more dire.

Latina women in the United States make just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, and only 60 cents for every dollar paid to men overall, according to an analysis of Census data by the National Partnership for Women and Families. The left-leaning advocacy group came to these findings by examining the 20 states with the most full-time working Latinas.

Talking in mere cents can sound abstract, but the money adds up over time. Compare a working Latina to a working man in Florida, for example. Latinas in the Sunshine State are relatively lucky. They earn 68 cents for every dollar paid to men, the highest of any of the states surveyed. But over the course of a year, they still end up earning about $13,000 less than men.

That's enough money to pay a year's rent in some places, and it's definitely enough for a serious tropical vacation. Nationally, the figure is even higher. In that case, Latinas earn about $19,200 less per year than men.

The reasons for the disparity at the full-time level are complicated. A major reason is that women, particularly minority women, hold a disproportionately small number of high-level management and executive positions. They are also less likely to choose college majors in higher-paying fields, such as science and engineering, than men. And, as The Washington Post and others have noted, women are less likely to ask for a raise or promotion than their male colleagues.

Texas and California have the most working Hispanic women, and they make 59 and 60 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to men in the those states. New Jersey and Washington have the most severe pay gap, while Latinas in Florida and New Mexico fare the best, at 68 cents for every dollar paid to men.

"Women of color are hard hit by a kind of perfect — and perfectly devastating — storm caused by discrimination, a struggling economy and the country's failure to adopt family friendly workplace policies," said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, in a statement. "These new data show that the wage gap is costing women of color thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could be spent on food, rent, health care and on meeting other fundamental needs for their families. It's an unacceptable situation that should be a resounding wake-up call for lawmakers who have the power to do something about it."