Much of the rhetoric this election season has centered around the populist appeal to poor white workers, who have often been portrayed as the biggest losers in Barack Obama’s America. But the data begs to differ. The gains since 2008 have disproportionately gone to white workers. In fact, looking at the Census Bureau’s latest data on the economy after the recession, the Economic Policy Institute found that the black-white wage gap is wider today than it was back in 1979.
As CityLab reports, even after controlling the data for factors such as work experience, education, occupational segregation, and unionization, there are still “racial differences in skills or worker characteristics that are unobserved or unmeasured in the data.” The cause of the divide is discrimination. So while the first black president brought the country back from the brink of a depression, the gains have not quite changed the fortunes of the average black worker.