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What Everyone Should Know About America’s Diverse Working Class

Center for American Progress Action Fund

The increased economic anxiety among black and Hispanic workers is not surprising when considering the fact that working-class workers of color tend to be paid less on the job and, therefore, hold less wealth. In 2015, the median African American and Hispanic working-class worker earned just $24,000 and $23,000 annually, respectively, compared with $30,000 for the median white working-class worker.40 A 2017 Demos report found that while the typical white family led by a worker with less than a high school education has a net worth of $18,800, the typical family led by a black worker who has at least some college education has a net worth of only $11,100.41 It is important to address the needs of the entire working class. However, policymakers must not forget the unique challenges that face African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

41. Amy Traub and others, “The Asset Value of Whiteness: Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap” (New York: Demos, 2017), available at