A new report released by Oxfam America on Tuesday (March 22) exposes the alarming pay disparities across race and gender in the United States.
The report used data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and Current Population Survey and found that more than 50 million workers across the country are making less than $15 an hour –– and a "staggering" amount of those workers are Black women and other women of color.
The data shows that 47% of Black workers make less than $15 an hour, compared to 26% of white workers. Across gender, 40% of women make under $15 an hour, compared to 25% of men. And among women of color, the report found that half (50%) are paid less than $15 an hour.
Nearly a third (31.9%) of American workers are making less than $15 an hour, which is about $31,200 annually. The current federal minimum wage is set at $7.25, though advocates and lawmakers alike have long called for an increase to a "livable" $15 an hour minimum wage rate.
"It's been 13 years since Congress raised the wage floor in this country, and in that time all costs of living have steadily climbed," Kaitlyn Henderson, senior researcher at Oxfam said in the report's release, according to The Huffington Post.
"It's shameful that at a time when many US companies are boasting record profits, some of the hardest working people in this country –– especially people who keep our economy and society functioning –– are struggling to get by and falling behind."
If Congress were to pass a universal minimum wage of $15 per hour, Oxfam says the move would lift millions out of poverty and aid in reducing the ever-growing wealth gap in the US.