The income gap between less-educated Black and White working-class men is the same now as six decades ago. But high-income Black men with college degrees are swiftly closing the economic divide with their White counterparts, according to a new study reported in the University of Chicago News.
University of Chicago’s Kerwin K. Charles and Patrick Bayer of Duke based their study on federal earnings data from 1940 to 2014.
Mass incarceration rates, the two economists said, have driven down the median income of Black men over the past 50 years. At the same time, the disappearance of manufacturing jobs has lowered the earnings of less-educated men across the board and particularly Black men.
“Now education is more and more a determinant of who’s working and who’s not,” Bayer noted. “The labor market for low-skilled workers has basically collapsed.”
At the highest income levels, African-American men are narrowing the gap with high-income White men through education.
“That black men who are at the top of their group in terms of skills are doing ever better shows that the opening up of colleges and the opening up of occupations to African-Americans had a marvelous effect,” Charles said.
SOURCE: University of Chicago News