And are we now going to go through a debate of mean vs median?
There are pros and cons of using both. We often use the median income to paint a better picture of those incomes in the middle, as income distribution is so skewed in this country.
In this case, using the median might mask those gains made as blacks have moved into higher income brackets. http://www.infopleas...a/A0104552.html
As legitimate barriers have been broken down, blacks have been making gains into those 50k and up brackets. This would skew the mean higher.
When using the median, your original claim is correct, but this doesn't say too much about the workers' academic performance, years of work experience or other qualities. A high school graduate can mean anything from a D-student to an A-student, for example. Controlling for high school GPA might erode some of the wage gap due to discrimination.
I attended a presentation on racial differences in community college transfer rates. Without any controls, blacks were 7.4 percentage points less likely to transfer from a California community college to university than whites were. Once you control for background variables, individual goals (the students are asked if they are planning to go to university), academic performance and community (I don't remember what this was exactly), the gap narrows to next to nothing. The actual number was .47, which means blacks are .47 percentage points more likely to transfer, all other things being equal. This suggests that black students that are eligible, that are qualified, are not being barred from transferring.
The same study also included Asians. Without any controls, Asians were 11.4 percentage points more likely to transfer than whites. After the controls, they were 8.9 percentage points more likely to transfer, suggesting an innate desirability of Asian students over white students. It might be discrimination or some other variable left out.
So when we look at incomes, something similar might be going on, but who knows. In this study, the average GPA for black students was 1.85 and the average for Asians was 2.55. Whites had 2.48. This suggests that even though whites do almost as good as Asian students, Asians are much more likely to transfer and be accepted to university from California junior college.
Edited by Spokker, 19 February 2012 - 10:05 PM.