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US blacks chronically left out of high-paying jobs: AP Analysis

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Architect Jonathan Garland poses for a photo on the construction site of a building he helped design in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. (AP photo)

African American workers are chronically underrepresented compared with whites in high-paying jobs across the US due to structural discrimination, according to a new study.

White workers outnumber blacks by a large margin in high-salary jobs, including in the fields of technology, business, life sciences, architecture and engineering, an Associated Press analysis of government data has found.

Instead, many black workers find jobs in low-wage, less-prestigious fields where they're overrepresented, such as the restaurant and retail industries, office work and building maintenance, the AP analysis found.

The study found that a white worker had a much better chance than a black one of being employed in the 11 categories with the highest median annual salaries, as listed by the US Department of Labor.

The ratio of white-to-black workers is about 10-to-1 in management, 8-to-1 in computers and mathematics, 12-to-1 in law, and 7-to-1 in education -- compared with a ratio of 5.5 white workers for every black one in all jobs nationally.

Some experts say "structural discrimination" is the overarching cause of disproportionate race representation in high-paying fields.

Substandard schools in low-income neighborhoods, white-dominated office cliques, boardrooms that prefer familiarity to diversity and discriminatory hiring practices are among the reasons that economic progress has remained elusive for blacks, said Theodore Landsmark, a lawyer and director of Northeastern University's Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.

In Boston — a hub for technology and innovation, and home to prestigious universities — white workers outnumber black ones by about 27-to-1 in computer- and mathematics-related professions, compared with the overall ratio of 9.5-to-1 for workers in the city.

Most American metro areas are like Boston, with AP's analysis showing that racial disparities in employment are indifferent to geography and politics.

Silicon Valley in the state of California struggles to achieve diversity in computer fields. In Seattle, the headquarters of Microsoft and Amazon, whites outnumber blacks nearly 28-to-1 in computer- and math-related fields.

New York, America’s most populous city and financial capital, has a 3-to-1 ratio of white-to-black workers in all occupations, but nearly 6-to-1 in business and finance.

The US film industry in Hollywood shows inequality in entertainment, with almost nine whites for every black worker.

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