Wilkes-Barre Public Square is seen in this file photo. A new analysis shows minorities earn 23.4% less than non-Hispanic Whites in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Wilkes-Barre Public Square is seen in this file photo. A new analysis shows minorities earn 23.4% less than non-Hispanic Whites in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Yet area fares better than average in minority wage gap

A new analysis shows minorities earn 23.4% less than non-Hispanic Whites in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Large as that “wage gap” may be, it’s actually lower than the national average of 25.9% and ranks as a pretty small gap when compared to similar sized MSAs nationwide: It’s the 22nd smallest gap among 78 “mid-sized metros.”

The website selfinc.com, which bills itself as helping people “build a strong financial future,” looked at 2019 U.S. Census demographic and income data for 241 MSAs. It calculated “the percentage difference in median annual earnings between minority and non-minority full-time workers. For the purpose of this analysis, an individual was considered to be a minority if they identified as any racial or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic White.”

In the local MSA covering a wide swath from Scranton south past Hazleton, the median earning for full-time non-minority workers was $45,700, while the median for full-time minority workers was $35,000, meaning minorities over all earned 23.4% less than non-minorities. The report also provided the share of the total population that is minority: 18.8%.

By comparison, nationwide the average pay for non-minority workers was $54,000 versus $40,000 for minorities, meaning minorities got paid 25.95 less. Among all 241 MSAs reviewed, the local metro area had the 78th smallest gap.

The study also split MSAs into three groups: Large, mid-size and small, with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton falling in the middle group. In the mid-size category, the smallest gap was in Springfield, Missouri, where minorities actually earned 11.3% more than non-minority full-time workers: $44,500 compared to $40,000. The widest gap was in Salinas, Calif., where minorities earned 49.3% less: $38,000 compared to $75,000.

Springfield was also the smallest gap Among all MSAs analyzed, while the widest gap was in the St. Joseph MSA straddling Missouri and Kansas, where minorities earned 57.1% less than non-minorities, $18,000 to $42,000 median incomes.

According to a media release, the review showed that the wage gap has increased from 2002 to 2018, though there is no simple pattern to the data.

“Minority wage gaps are more prominent in some regions of the country than in others due to both economic and demographic factors. Some states with low incomes overall, like the Appalachian states of West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri, also have smaller wage gaps because Whites are earning less. In contrast, a state like California has some of the highest wages of anywhere in the country; however, many of the highest-earning professions in fields like tech or finance have unusually high concentrations of White workers, whereas lower-income jobs tend to be filled more by Black and Hispanic workers.

“Interestingly, one geographic factor that may not necessarily affect gaps at the state level is the share of the White or non-White population in a state. For instance, states with very low non-White populations pop up on both ends of the wage gap spectrum.”

The full report is available at www.self.inc/blog/cities-with-largest-minority-wage-gap.