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Infographic: Race and Gender in the Food Chain

Jul 26, 2011 | By Page May

Last week we focused on the food system as it relates to the wealth gap. However, we missed this one great infographic!

The graphic highlights the wage gap for people of color and women working in the food system. It is from the Applied Research Center's "Color of Food" report. Other illumintaing facts from this report's author, Yvonne Yen Liu include:

  • Half of all white workers made $25,024 a year in 2008, whereas workers of color earned $19,349, or $5675 less. Calculated by the hour, food workers of color earned almost $2.50 less than their white counterparts. The income gap—or race penalty, as it is commonly called—was greater in certain sectors, particularly in food processing ($6.04 less per hour) and distribution ($5.35 less per hour).
  • People of color are overrepresented in food system occupations. Thirty-four percent of the general population in 2008 identified as people of color, but more than 42 percent of the workers in the food system were people of color. Whites, who comprised over 65 percent of the general population, only made up 57 percent of food system workers. But Latinos, who represented just 15 percent of the general population in 2008, were disproportionately represented in the food system—making up over 25 percent of the work force.
  • Few people of color hold management positions in the food system. Whites are clearly the majority in management positions within the food system. They constitute 74 percent of the managers and 85 percent of the chief executives. Within management, perhaps not surprisingly, half were white men and less than 10 percent were women of color.
    • In terms of money, managers earned the most with a median income of $40,544, which is double that of a rank-and-file worker in the food system. Even in management, whites made more than people of color. Additionally, half of all white chief executives made six figure incomes, nearly $40,000 more than their black or brown counterparts.
  • The food system has some of the most difficult and dangerous jobs. Farmworkers are exposed to toxic pesticides daily and an estimated 300,000 suffer from pesticide poisonings every year. Even access to some basic necessities is lacking for many working in the fields. A survey conducted among farmworkers in North Carolina found that only four percent had access to fresh drinking water, hand washing facilities, and toilets.


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