Jul 15, 2022 - News

Utah Latinas face widest pay wage gap in the state

Illustration of half-coins falling into a woman's hand.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Utah Latinas earn 49 cents for every dollar a white Utah man makes, according to recent data by the Utah Women & Leadership Project at Utah State University.

  • That's six cents less than what U.S. Latinas make — 55 cents — for every dollar a white man earns.

Driving the news: U.S. women of color bore the brunt of the COVID-19-induced economic crisis, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

  • Latinas, in particular, saw the largest job losses amid the pandemic, further widening their wealth gap.
  • Many Latinas who lost their jobs were employed in the hospitality and services sectors, which saw the most significant disruptions due to COVID restrictions.

The big picture: Latino communities are projected to account for nearly 21% of Utahns by 2065.

  • Today, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates Latinos make up about 15% of the state population.
  • Hispanic women account for almost 7% of the state population.

By the numbers: Hispanic women in the state generally have a higher labor participation rate (66.8%) than Utah women (61.7%).

Of note: In Utah, the most popular industries among Latinas are trade, transportation and utilities; manufacturing and construction.

Yes, but: They are still nearly twice as likely to be in poverty as Utah women.

  • The median wage of a Utah Latina is $24,056 compared to Utah women, who earn $28,374.

What they're saying: Dr. Susan Madsen, founding director of the Utah Women & Leadership Project, said Hispanic women face the widest wage gap compared to other demographics in the state and nationally.

  • "Hispanic, Latina women we've seen that for years in our research are the lowest [paid]," Madsen said.
  • Madsen said the pay wage gap is influenced by various circumstances like college attainment level and the sectors women tend to work in, which often offer lower pay.

Between the lines: Utah women already face one of the steepest wage gaps in the country.

  • They earn about 70% of what men make, which is 12% below the national average.

Details: When it comes to educational attainment, Latinas are more likely than all Utah women to graduate with a high school diploma, but less likely to complete a college degree, the project's study showed.

Zoom out: Despite suffering higher rates of job loss during the pandemic, polling showed that 20% of U.S. Latinas planned to start their own businesses.

Fun fact: Prior to the pandemic, Latinas were opening their own businesses at a quicker rate than any other demographic in the nation, a 2020 State of Latino Entrepreneurship report showed.

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