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City Diversity Records Show Employees Of Color, Women Earn Less

Boston City Hall
Cliff/Flickr/Creative Commons

When it comes to city of Boston employees, nonwhite workers are underrepresented; women earn less than men; people of color earn less than white workers; and women of color earn less than white women.

Those are some takeaways from recently released city diversity data, which WGBH News has reviewed.  

The was released by the Mayor's Office shortly after the office launched an online "Diversity Dashboard" that provided various statistics on racial and gender diversity within city departments, but which did not provide the raw data. 


Elected with a diverse base of support, Mayor Marty Walsh came into office in 2014 with a pledge to increase the diversity of a disproportionately white City Hall. Last year, he created the Office of Diversity to oversee those efforts. 

The recent data release shows that the city has, at least by some measures, become more diverse since Walsh took office; overall, the city workforce is 47 percent nonwhite—compared to about 43 percent in just over one year, since March 2015. 

But the data also shows that both within departments and across the city, and across gender and racial lines, nonwhite employees remain not only largely underrepresented but also almost uniformly underpaid, compared, in the broadest numbers, with white employees. The same is true for female employees—and female employees of color especially. 

Overall, among full-time employees of any position in all city departments, white employees earn an average $69,700 annually compared to $50,500 for black employees and $51,200 for Hispanic employees. (Numbers for employees of Pacific Islander and American Indian descent were too small for useful comparison).

And while white men earn more than any other demographic group, white women earn more than any other group of women, though by smaller margins.

Within city of Boston departments, and excluding school district employees, even the group of male employees earning the least on average (Hispanic men)—earns more than the highest earning group of (white) female employees.

That picture changes, however, if Boston Public School employees are factored in: Taking the schools into account, the gap in gender income becomes much less drastic, though the gap in income by ethnic identification remains a wide one.


The raw data confirms many of the findings of a 2015 report by the Mayor’s Office of Diversity—the first of its kind—commissioned after Walsh took office with support from a diverse coalition, and pledging to increase the diversity of the city's workforce. 

The 2015 report found both progress and persistent gaps in racial and gender diversity as well as in average earnings in many city departments. Among the least diverse city departments: Fire and Police, which are about 70 percent and 66 percent white, respectively.

The city itself is about 47 percent white according to the most recent census data available. 


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