Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2000. Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 3. Earnings of Low-skilled Workers

03/01/2000

Figure WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High School Education, by Race (1995 Dollars): 1970-94

Figure WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High School Education, by Race (1995 Dollars): 1970-94

Source: Blank, R., It Takes a Nation, 1997.


  • Mean weekly wages for full-time work by men with no more than a high school diploma have decreased in real terms over the past quarter of a century. In 1970, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled men working full-time was $593 (in 1995 dollars); the comparable wage in 1994 was $523, representing a decrease of 12 percent.
  • A large gap exists between mean weekly wages for white and black men with low education levels, although it has been narrowing over time. In 1970, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled black men working full-time was $432 (in 1995 dollars), or 70 percent of the $615 average for white men. In 1994, full-time working black men with no more than a high school education received 82 percent of the weekly wages of white men, or a mean wage of $446, compared to a mean wage for white men of $539. The narrowing of this gap is predominantly a result of the declining value of white men’s mean wages.

Table WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High School Education, by Race (1995 Dollars): 1970-94

  1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1994
All Men $593 $580 $584 $555 $531 $523
White Men 615 597 603 572 545 539
Black Men 432 460 448 440 442 446

Note: Full-time, full-year workers work at least 48 weeks per year and 35 hours per week. These data have been weighted to create an average for all men with no more than a high school diploma using population numbers from U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Reports, Series P-20. The population weights were calculated for 1970, 1980, and 1990. Other year weights were calculated using linear extrapolation.

Source: Blank, R., It Takes a Nation, 1997.

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