Why Indian American women earn more money than white guys

(From the Washington Post)

Asian American women are closing the gap with white men, but that’s not the point

By Jeff Guo

On Monday, an economist at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute had something snarky to say about a new government report on the gap between men’s and women’s earnings.

asian_femaleEconomist Mark Perry wrote that the median Asian-American woman earns only about 3 percent less than the median American man, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The median Asian-American woman also earns significantly more than the median black or Hispanic man in the United States.

“Do those pay disparities reflect gender discrimination against men? Or minority (Asian) privilege?” Perry quipped.

Perry was making a point about how statistics on the gender pay gap tend to be deployed in misleading ways. Full-time working women may earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to the Census, but that figure doesn’t take into account the gender differences in education and career choices, among other things.

But look within the data, and you see even more striking examples — which themselves reveal the different dynamics that explain why men and women of different backgrounds earn different wages.

Compared to non-Hispanic white men, Indian-American women actually earn more on average, and Chinese-American women earn about the same. (This is based on data on annual incomes from the 2014 American Community Survey, which are slightly different from the weekly wage data used by the BLS — but the idea is the comparable.) Read more


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