Do Blacks Earn Less Than Whites and Why?


Jeffrey Leiter,, North Carolina State University

Learning Goals


After using this module, students will gain skills in:

  • Using software to access and analyze census data Identifying independent and dependent variables
  • Employing control variables
  • Forming testable hypotheses using quantitative data
  • Learning how to construct, read, and interpret bivariate tables displaying frequencies and percentages
  • Creating visual tools representing quantitative data in the form of charts or graphs
  • Using real world data to enhance and support key course concepts
Context for Use

This exercise was developed for use in an introductory sociology course. It focuses on income and poverty between race/ethinic groups in the United States.

Description and Teaching Materials

Please see File Attachment(s).

In this module, students will explore the numerous factors contributing to earnings differences, including education and race.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses a customized data set made from the 1990 Census and guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts! Note to instructor: This module will require several class periods to work through. You should use your discretion to allocate parts of it to whole class discussion, group work, individual work in class, and written homework. You may want to supplement the data analysis and discussion with relevant readings. Before giving the module to your students, you will want to edit out the sections labeled “for instructor only.” I would enjoy learning about your experiences using this module and suggestions for enhancing it. Please email me at