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Racial and ethnic wage disparities among center-based early educators


Low pay and unequal wages make it hard to recruit and retain the high-quality early educators that young children need to thrive in early care and education (ECE) programs. Not only are early educator wages lower than those of comparable workers, but there may also be racial and ethnic wage disparities within the ECE workforce. Using a representative sample of 327 center-based ECE educators in a northeastern state, this study examined whether the hourly wages were associated with their race/ethnicity, after accounting for demographic and professional characteristics. We also tested whether working exclusively with the youngest children—infants/toddlers—was linked to racial and ethnic wage disparities. Multivariate regression analyses showed that Black ECE center educators were associated with higher hourly wages than center educators from other racial/ethnic groups. Working exclusively with the youngest children did not affect the association between race/ethnicity and wages. We discussed possible explanations for these findings and implications for policies and supports. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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