AAPI Equal Pay Day: Essential AAPI women workers continue to be underpaid during the COVID-19 pandemic

Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) Equal Pay Day is March 9, marking the number of days into 2021 that AAPI women must work to make the same amount as their white male counterparts were paid in 2020. AAPI women are paid 94 cents on the dollar on an average hourly basis, relative to non-Hispanic white men with the same level of education, age, and geographic location. Further disaggregating this data reveals that Pacific Islander women earn 61 cents on the dollar relative to their non-Hispanic white male peers.

During this pandemic, members of the AAPI community have been victims of a horrific rise in discrimination, violence, and hate crimes—which we must call attention to and urgently address. In addition, AAPI women who are essential workers have continued to face an alarming and unacceptable pay gap. The infographics below take a closer look at average hourly wages of AAPI women and non-Hispanic white men employed as elementary and middle school teachers, registered nurses, cashiers, and wait staff. We find that AAPI women make between 11% and 21% less than non-Hispanic white men in these occupations.

The pay disparities are largest among elementary and middle school teachers, with AAPI women being paid just 79% of what non-Hispanic white men are paid. AAPI women registered nurses are paid 82% of what non-Hispanic white men are paid. Lastly, AAPI women cashiers and wait staff make 84% and 89%, respectively, as much as non-Hispanic white men in those occupations. It is long past time to ensure equal pay for AAPI women.

Data in this blog post come from EPI analysis of Current Population Survey Outgoing Rotation Group microdata, 2015–2020.